Omarosa recorded chief of staff Kelly in White House Situation Room
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday that she secretly recorded chief of staff John Kelly in the White House Situation Room.
“This is a White House where everybody lies … you have to have your back,” Manigault Newman said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on why she recorded her conversation with Kelly as he was firing her.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 12, 2018
“If I did not have this recording, people would still believe the false, incredible story that I was running around the White House … that I tried to charge the residence of the White House. People would still think that I was trying to set off alarms,” she continued. “So yes I recorded myself and I have no regret about it.”
In the 20-second recording aired on NBC, Kelly can be heard saying that Manigault Newman can “go on without any type of difficulty” relative to her reputation “if we make this a friendly departure.”
“I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future, relative to your reputation,” he said.
Manigault Newman went on to say that Kelly’s words were “very obviously a threat.”
Many journalists and lawyers in the national security community were quick to point out that the recording should not have happened.
President Trump’s former legislative director Marc Short said on ABC Sunday that the recording was “quite an affront,” given that people are required to give up phones and electronic devices before entering the Situation Room.
“Um, are not staff supposed to check all electronic devices in a secure repository before entering the Situation Room?” David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic, tweeted after Manigault Newman’s claim.
“If Omarosa carried for example a cellphone into the Situation Room, then not only did she record conversations there, but so potentially has any country or criminal organization that thought to hack her phone,” he later added.
Shortly after Omarosa revealed the recording, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel tweeted that the former aide should be “prosecuted” if her actions constitute a violation of federal law.
“Secretly recording conversations in the Situation Room isn’t just wildly inappropriate, it’s a threat to our national security. If she broke federal law, she should be prosecuted,” McDaniel wrote.
Manigault Newman, who began the press tour for her highly anticipated book “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House,” has been at the center of a number of explosive claims this week pointed at Trump.
The former aide says in her book that she was offered hush money to stay quiet about her time in the White House and alleges that Trump repeatedly used a racial slur during tapings of his reality show “The Apprentice,” which she appeared on.
Trump blasted his longtime aide as a “lowlife” after book excerpts began to leak, and the White House slammed her as a “disgruntled former White House employee” who is “trying to profit off of these false attacks.”