Former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, secretly recorded her termination in December, raising questions about White House security.
Omarosa appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning to promote her new book, Unhinged, and played what she said was a recording of her termination by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Situation Room.
Kelly can be heard on the recording saying he is accompanied by lawyers. He cites “significant integrity issues” involving “government vehicles” as one of the reasons for Omarosa’s termination.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 12, 2018
Kelly goes on to tell Omarosa some “serious legal issues” have been violated, but they can still make her exit a “friendly departure.”
“I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure,” Kelly says, “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 difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”
Omarosa told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd she interpreted Kelly’s words as a threat.
“It’s very obvious,” she said. “It’s a threat. He went on to say that, ‘Things could get ugly’ … That’s downright criminal. If I didn’t have these recordings, no one in America would believe me. No one. So, I protected myself, and I’m so glad I did.”
The former reality star said she recorded Kelly because “this is a White House where everybody lies … you have to have your back.”
In another part of the recording, Omarosa asks Kelly if Trump is aware that she’s being fired. He responds by saying, “Let’s not go down that road. This is a non-negotiable discussion.”
The recording raised concerns on social media about White House security, as well as questions about why Kelly would hold an HR meeting in the Situation Room, instead of his office.
“How does @Omarosa get an unsecured cell phone into the Situation Room? What is wrong with these folks in the White House?” national security attorney, Bradley Moss, wrote on Twitter.
How does @OMAROSA get an unsecured cell phone into the Situation Room? What is wrong with these folks in the White House?
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) August 12, 2018
David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, said the recording has serious implications and that “any country or criminal organization” could have hacked Omarosa’s phone.
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
— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 12, 2018
Former Obama staffer Alyssa Mastromonaco, added that cell phones are “totally prohibited” in the Situation Room.
NO PROPER EMPLOYEE OF THE WH BRINGS PHONES INTO THE SITROOM. It’s totally prohibited. https://t.co/Sks5aYNXtB
— alyssa mastromonaco (@AlyssaMastro44) August 12, 2018
Columnist and radio host, Grant Stern, said Omarosa compromised national security by taking a phone into a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or SCIF.
Omarosa compromised national security by bringing a phone recording device into the Situation Room to record John Kelly handling her HR situation. (Why in a SCIF?)
How is that worse than President #TrumpRussia compromising national security by TELLING EVERYTHING TO PUTIN?!?!??!
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) August 12, 2018
On Saturday, Trump blasted Omarosa when asked about her memoir.
“Lowlife,” he told reporters. “She’s a lowlife.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has also criticized the former communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison for penning a tell-all book.
“Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations,” Sanders said.
Unhinged will be released Tuesday.