Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman released on Sunday what she said is a secret recording she made of her firing by chief of staff John Kelly.
In the recording, Kelly says “some pretty serious integrity violations” prompted her firing as communications director for the White House Office of the Public Liaison.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 12, 2018
“We’re going to talk to you about leaving the White House,” Kelly tells Manigault Newman in the recording, which aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s come to my attention over the last few months that there’s been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues.”
Later in the recording, Kelly goes a step further, saying Manigault Newman committed “some pretty serious integrity violations.”
The White House announced in December that Manigault Newman was leaving her post effective in January.
The recorded conversation took place in the White House Situation Room, which is a forum for the most secure communications among the president and his advisers. Some observers said Manigault Newman committed a security breach by recording the conversation in that setting.
“This is a HUGE security violation. HUGE. Makes you wonder what other kinds of security breaches are occurring under this White House,” said Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Security Democracy, in a Twitter post.
David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, said the recording is dangerous.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
Manigault Newman, in an interview on “Meet the Press,” called on the White House to release her employee file to prove details of the “integrity violations” Kelly had cited. “Please. Let’s bring it all to light,” Manigault Newman said. “Release it so the American people will see that I worked my butt off for this country.”
Kelly, in the recording, also says he wanted to make the firing of Manigault Newman a “friendly departure” without contention.
“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,” Kelly says. “And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”
Manigault Newman told “Meet the Press” she considered Kelly’s words to be a “threat” and “downright criminal.”
“It’s very obvious a threat,” Manigault Newman said. “He goes on to say, ‘things can get ugly for you.’ The chief of staff of the United States under the direction of the president of the United States threatening me on damage to my reputation and things getting ugly. That’s downright criminal.”
Later in the recording, Manigault Newman asks Kelly if President Trump knows “what’s going on.”
“Let’s not go down that road,” Kelly replied. “This is a non-negotiable discussion.”
Manigault Newman said she made and released the recordings to “protect myself.”
“I am so glad I did,” she said.
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