Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly taped John Kelly, White House chief of staff, as he fired her in December in the Situation Room, a breach of security protocols, but one that revealed him suggesting she could face damage to her reputation if she did not leave quietly.
The recording was played Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where Manigault Newman, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, promoted her new book, “Unhinged.” In the memoir, which focuses on her relationship with Trump going back to her time on “The Apprentice,” she describes the world around the president as a cult in which he creates his own reality.
On the recording, Kelly says Manigault Newman could be facing “pretty significant legal issues” over what he alleged was misuse of a government car. She denied misusing it.
“I’d like to see this be a friendly departure,” Kelly says on the tape. “There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope don’t develop into something that, that’ll make it ugly for you.
“But I think it’s important to understand,” he adds, “that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know, you can look at, 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.”
Manigault Newman explained to Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” that she recorded that conversation, as well as others that she has played for reporters and book publishers featuring her conversations with Trump, because “this is a White House where everybody lies.”
But the Situation Room recording raised questions about whether she had breached security protocols in a room that is supposed to be devoid of personal electronic devices.
Trump has long been known to tape conversations over the phone and in person in his office at Trump Tower. He has threatened to produce tapes in the past as a way to instill fear in enemies, such as fired FBI Director James Comey.
In turn, Manigault Newman and another former Trump employee, Michael Cohen, who was once his personal lawyer, both taped key moments involving their time with Trump. White House officials and Trump have portrayed Cohen, who is under investigation in New York, and Manigault Newman as disgruntled and discredited figures.