White House paranoia deepens after Omarosa tapes

Secret tapes. Nondisclosure agreements. A lot of name calling.The ...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 5:09 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 5:09 PM

Secret tapes. Nondisclosure agreements. A lot of name calling.

The revelations surrounding Omarosa Manigault Newman's new memoir, and the ensuing fallout, are underscoring a level of dysfunction many now see as just part of life under President Donald Trump.

Celebrities

Confidentiality agreements

Contract law

Diseases and disorders

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Health and medical

International relations and national security

Law and legal system

Mental health

Mental illnesses

National security

Omarosa Manigault

Paranoia

Political Figures - US

US federal government

White House

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Journalism and news media

Media industry

On Monday, the former senior aide revealed a recording she'd made of the President phoning her on the day after she was fired. Earlier, Manigault Newman released a tape of chief of staff John Kelly doing the firing in the White House Situation Room.

Neither contained outwardly embarrassing language. But the tapes' mere existence confirmed a longstanding reality: in Trump's White House, there are few norms or expectations of decorum that cannot be shattered.

Now, aides are wondering who else might be using a recording device to capture audio from private conversations. And they are girding for Manigault Newman to release more of her tapes, which she has teased at in a string of television interviews.

"I don't know. I'm going to watch to see," Manigault Newsman said Monday when asked on MSNBC whether she would make more of her recordings public. "I'm expecting that they're going to retaliate and so I'm just going to stand back and wait."

What is contained in the remainder of Manigault Newman's tapes is a mystery, at least for now. The recordings she has released so far are shocking only because they were created by a White House employee; the content is enlightening but not scandalous.

Nevertheless, the tapes have only deepened a pre-existing sense of paranoia among Trump staffers, according to senior administration officials, fueling an underlying suspicion that everyone inside the West Wing is out for themselves. The White House has no way of knowing how many tapes Manigault Newman might have, the official said, even as they explore legal avenues for preventing their release and punishing her for making them. The official declined to specify what specific legal steps were being considered.

Several senior aides said Monday that they doubted Manigault Newman was the only person taping her conversations at work. Trump himself used the tactic in his life as a private businessman and the question of whether he's taping his conversations in the Oval Office arose last year when he suggested there might be recordings of an encounter with former FBI Director James Comey (none ever materialized).

One administration official said Monday that there isn't a belief in the White House that Manigault Newman poses a larger national security risk after taping her conversation with Kelly in the Situation Room since she wasn't part of any classified or secret discussions of a national security nature during her time in the West Wing.

Protocols

Aides are not supposed to bring personal electronic devices into the Situation Room, which in reality is a highly secure complex of conference rooms, and there are small lockers outside of the door where staffers place their phones. However, the practice operates on the honor system and advisers are not searched before entering.

Like taped conversations and Omarosa herself, nondisclosure agreements were a vestige of Trump's former life that he brought to the West Wing and his campaign. Manigault Newman alleges in her book that Trump's campaign offered her a $15,000 per month payment in exchange for signing a binding document saying she wouldn't disclose information the President or his agents deemed confidential.

Other former West Wing staffers have landed in similarly paying gigs: Keith Schiller, Trump's longtime bodyguard and one-time director of Oval Office operations, makes $15,000 per month advising the Republican National Committee on security arrangements for the 2020 GOP convention. It's not known whether he signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of his hiring.

On Monday, Trump alleged Manigault Newman was already bound by an agreement not to speak about her time at the White House.

"Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!" he wrote.

It's not clear what agreement Trump was referring to. But people familiar with the documents signed by senior officials early in the administration previously told CNN the documents contain little legal underpinning and were devised as a way to placate a President intent on keeping his aides quiet.

Trump later hit back at a claim Manigault Newman made in a series of media interviews where she alleged the President used a racial slur on the set of "The Apprentice."

".@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa," Trump tweeted, tagging the former executive producer of the show. "I don't have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up. Look at her MANY recent quotes saying such wonderful and powerful things about me - a true Champion of Civil Rights - until she got fired. Omarosa had Zero credibility with the Media (they didn't want interviews) when she worked in the White House. Now that she says bad about me, they will talk to her. Fake News!"

Irregular workplace

Trump's White House has always amounted to an irregular workplace, sometimes proudly so. The President has brushed aside presidential norms and his advisers have touted his unconventional style as a breath of fresh air. On Monday, he acknowledged that a pitched battle between former reality television stars was not in many people's definition of the job.

"While I know it's 'not presidential' to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible," he wrote on Twitter. "Sorry!"

Publicly, White House officials have looked to attack Manigault Newman's character as they seek to knock down her most salacious accusations.

"The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security -- and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Sunday.

But neither Sanders nor other White House officials provided an explanation for why Trump hired Manigault Newman in the first place to manage communications for the Office of Public Liaison.

Trump himself came the closest to an explanation on Monday morning, writing on Twitter that he'd heard his aide was performing poorly in her job and antagonizing others, but that he remained enamored by her then-unyielding support.

"When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!" he wrote.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 766351

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1052671804
Lake568691028
Allen42858698
St. Joseph37286568
Hamilton37260426
Elkhart29729470
Tippecanoe23441230
Vanderburgh23153404
Porter19568327
Johnson18807391
Hendricks18059321
Madison13518345
Clark13502198
Vigo12817255
LaPorte12558224
Monroe12529178
Delaware11124198
Howard10654237
Kosciusko9751123
Hancock8734149
Bartholomew8256157
Warrick8053157
Floyd8005181
Grant7349181
Wayne7234201
Boone7173105
Morgan6904142
Marshall6329116
Dubois6270118
Cass6085111
Dearborn600078
Noble597890
Henry5944111
Jackson515677
Shelby509897
Lawrence4914127
Gibson461596
Montgomery457592
Clinton454555
DeKalb453685
Harrison452476
Whitley415345
Huntington414081
Steuben410260
Miami405073
Jasper400455
Knox388091
Putnam384662
Wabash368783
Adams352256
Ripley351071
Jefferson341586
White339354
Daviess3089100
Wells302781
Greene292985
Decatur291693
Fayette285864
Posey280935
Scott278758
LaGrange277172
Clay273148
Washington253537
Randolph247583
Jennings238649
Spencer237931
Fountain234850
Starke229959
Owen222259
Sullivan219543
Fulton207845
Jay202832
Carroll197122
Orange190956
Perry189739
Vermillion180044
Rush177327
Tipton172347
Franklin171935
Parke154816
Pike141434
Blackford137832
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109615
Brown105943
Crawford105516
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8328
Union73510
Ohio58311
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1122647

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1302911493
Cuyahoga1171502259
Hamilton823481259
Montgomery534491059
Summit488581014
Lucas43734832
Butler39936614
Stark33800937
Lorain25996509
Warren24896312
Mahoning22685612
Lake21457396
Clermont20368260
Delaware19120138
Licking16842227
Trumbull16786491
Fairfield16762207
Medina15832276
Greene15499254
Clark14339308
Portage13417218
Wood13338201
Allen12043245
Richland11726213
Miami10998228
Wayne9251227
Columbiana9196236
Muskingum9119137
Pickaway8738123
Tuscarawas8714254
Marion8703140
Erie8126166
Ashtabula7272179
Hancock7044134
Ross7012165
Geauga6948153
Scioto6679108
Belmont6210179
Lawrence5917104
Union590449
Jefferson5723162
Huron5630122
Sandusky5482130
Darke5436130
Seneca5376128
Washington5362111
Athens526560
Auglaize507087
Mercer490685
Shelby481297
Knox4609112
Madison447266
Ashland443198
Defiance438499
Fulton435775
Putnam4351104
Crawford4110111
Brown409662
Preble3946107
Logan391679
Clinton389266
Ottawa375581
Highland365068
Williams356478
Champaign348360
Guernsey330254
Jackson321254
Perry298350
Morrow294643
Fayette288250
Hardin279165
Henry276967
Coshocton272561
Holmes2725102
Van Wert251665
Adams249258
Gallia249250
Pike244637
Wyandot235257
Hocking222663
Carroll201249
Paulding179442
Meigs151040
Noble137739
Monroe137545
Harrison115238
Morgan111524
Vinton87217
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
It's a steamy Wednesday with scattered showers and thunderstorms arriving Wednesday night.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events