Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former contestant on “The Apprentice” who became a White House aide, released a new secret recording on Monday in which President Donald Trump can be heard discussing Hillary Clinton and the Russia investigation.
Manigault Newman said the audio recording, which was first released on ABC’s “The View” and later aired on MSNBC, was made in October 2017 during a meeting between senior communications staffers about tax reform that Trump crashed to talk about a dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia compiled by British intelligence operative Christopher Steele.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and former White House communications director Hope Hicks can be heard on the recording talking to Trump:
Trump: I think Hillary is getting killed with Russia. The real Russia story is Hillary and collusion. Somebody told me, Hope, you told me it was $9 million they spent on the phony report.
Sanders: Closer to six.
Hope Hicks: Yeah, someone just said, “She’s far worse for the country than we thought if she didn’t know her own campaign was spending $9 million.”
Trump: Did you see? Nobody knows who spent it. No, I heard it was nine. I heard it was 5.7 but now they say it was nine. It was spent through a law firm that way they can’t trace it. But they traced it. One thing in this business is they trace it. And, yeah, close to $9 million. I can’t even believe it. The reason a law firm is because this way you don’t have to give any papers. But they found out, it’s definitely illegal and it’s illegal from a campaign standpoint, from a campaign financing standpoint. So the whole Russia thing, I think seems to have turned around. What do you think, Sarah?
She said on MSNBC that the entire exchange lasted roughly 15 minutes, and that afterward, Trump made the staffers gather around the Oval Office to listen to him “rant” further on various topics.
During her appearance on “The View,” Manigault Newman said that Trump frequently crashed meetings at the White House, “rambling from topic to topic,” because he got bored “very often.”
She also called Trump’s claims in the recording “blatant lies,” but said that the communications staff had to repeat those claims to the American people.
In an October 2017 press briefing, Sanders defended Trump campaign officials’ contacts with Russians claiming to have “dirt” on Clinton by saying “the big difference here is you have a meeting that took place versus millions of dollars being sent to create fake information to actually influence the election.”
“What the Clinton campaign did, what the DNC did, was actually exchange money,” Sanders said, referring to the Steele dossier.
The dossier, compiled by research firm Fusion GPS, was funded first by a conservative outlet seeking potentially damaging information on Trump when he was a candidate. After Trump became the Republican nominee, a law firm acting on behalf of Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS to continue its research.
Last month, Manigault Newman released her tell-all book “Unhinged,” in which she chronicles a White House in crisis and her relationship with Trump going back to her time on the NBC reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” that the president hosted. She has alsoclaimed the president is a “racist” who has used the N-word in the past. The White House has denied the allegations.
Since the publication of her book, she has released a number of other recordings from her time in the White House, including her firing in December 2017 and a conversation with Trump after her firing in which he expressed shock that she was let go.
She also claimed during the interview on Monday that she had been threatened by Trump’s legal team because of the claims in her book as well as other allegations she has made in media interviews.
“They want to shut me down,” she said. “He wants to make sure I stay silent.”
She added, “I’m gonna keep on fighting, he’s not going to intimidate me.”
The Trump campaign has filed an arbitration claim against her that alleges she violated the terms of her 2016 confidentiality agreement.