[guest post by Dana]
More drama this weekend involving only the best people in the White House. Former Trump-reality-star-turned-former-Trump-White-House-aide, the contentious Omarosa Manigault Newman released a secret recording on Sunday’s Meet the Press of a meeting at which chief of staff John Kelly informed her that she was being dismissed:
Manigault Newman cites this as a threat:
KELLY: I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know, we 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.
Aside from the serious ethical breach of having taped a meeting from what was once believed to be the most secure location in the West Wing – the Situation Room – there is the question of whether any laws were broken. You can read some varying opinions here:
Josh Geltzer, who was a senior director for counterterrorism in Obama’s NSC, told me: “Bringing a recording device into a secure facility like the SitRoom is wildly in violation of protocol. Devices like that represent vulnerabilities that hostile actors can exploit to hear sensitive conversations — that’s why they’re kept out so strictly in the first place.”
Former Obama NSC spokesman Ned Price: The Situation Room “is the inner sanctum within an already-secure facility where the most sensitive of the most sensitive information is discussed. It’s where negotiations with Iran were hashed out. It’s where contingency plans for nuclear launches have been developed. The fact that she was recording a conversation in there really raises alarm bells in the minds of people who have worked in that room. … It’s a system based on honor and integrity, and there’s a sign outside that says, ‘Place your phones here.'”
Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessy: “I actually didn’t realize Omarosa didn’t hold any kind of security clearance. That makes it hard to understand why they were in Situation Room but also means it is far less than ‘likely’ that she violated federal law as opposed to just breaking dozens of rules and regulations.”
Further, after Manigault Newman’s termination, she recorded a phone call with President Trump , in which he appears to not have had any knowledge about her dismissal. Of course, it’s good to keep in mind that we are dealing with two highly-skilled, and well-practiced reality show liars:
Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Apprentice” contestant who became a White House aide, has provided an audio recording that she says is from 2017 and on which President Donald Trump expresses surprise that she’d been fired from his administration.
The tape, which was played exclusively Monday on “Today” and sparked a harsh attack from Trump on Newman, just hours later, appears to show the president having no idea that Newman had been dismissed by his chief of staff, John Kelly.
“Omarosa? Omarosa what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump is heard saying on the tape, which Newman said was made one day after her termination in December 2017 when Trump called her.
Newman responds, “General Kelly — General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave.”
“No…I, I, Nobody even told me about it,” Trump replies.
Newman then says, “Wow,” before Trump reiterates his shock.
“You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it,” Trump is heard saying on the tape. “I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”
Keep in mind, too, this latest drama started on Friday, when excerpts from Manigault Newman’s tell-all book alleged that she heard Trump use the N-word before he became President Trump, and other racial slurs once he was in office. However, no recording has been released to substantiate these claims. Yet.
And of course it’s unsurprising that President Trump was on Twitter defending himself at all costs and slamming Manigault Newman in light of her reveals, because in a bizarre and incoherent way, the mercurial man-child is utterly consistent in his predictability:
Wow. Who wants a crap sandwich first thing on a Monday morning? This guy already knew who Manigault Newman was, and had already “fired her” three times. Yes, from a reality show, but because he cites it as reflecting poorly on her character, I will use it to say that if he already knew what she was about, why would he give her access to the most powerful office in the world and the current president? He hired her knowing full well what she was about. And he approved! If the President of the United States believed it wise to give such a “wacky, not smart, and vicious lowlife” the kind of access he did because she said GREAT things about him, then cried and begged, (and according to her, she had more access to Trump than just about anyone else in the White House), then that tells us all we need to know about him. And it’s not good. President Trump owns this mess, from top to bottom, without exception. It’s clear to see that he was unable to recognize spectacularly awful character when it was standing right in front of him. But perhaps that is because, seen through his personal lens, he believed her character, or lack thereof, something both admirable in its familiarity, and that which could be useful to him as well.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)