Breaking News Emails
Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former reality TV star who became a top White House aide to President Donald Trump, on Thursday released exclusively to MSNBC a secret tape of campaign official Lara Trump offering her a $15,000-a-month job after she was fired from the administration.
The tape — which, according to Manigault Newman was made on Dec. 16, 2017, just days after she had left the White House — appears to corroborate claims she made in her new book about receiving an offer from the president's re-election campaign. Manigault Newman wrote in her book that the job offer came with the condition of signing a nondisclosure agreement; she said she did not accept it.
On the new tape, Lara Trump says: "It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you've got in the back pocket to pull out. Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can't have, we got to," she continues, before Manigault Newman interjects, "Oh, God no."
"Everything, everybody, positive, right?" Trump continues.
In an interview with MSNBC's Craig Melvin after the excerpts were aired, Manigault Newman said the recording was proof of "an attempt" by the Trump team "to buy my silence, to censor me, and to pay me off."
Asked if she saw it as "hush money," Manigault Newman responded, "Absolutely."
Manigault Newman shared four excerpts from the recording of the longer conversation for broadcast; NBC News has heard the full tape of the conversation and the clips are in context.
In another excerpt of the recording, Lara Trump, who is married to Donald Trump's son Eric, is heard explaining to Manigault Newman that "the only thing that we have to consider, where we're talking salary as far as the campaign is concerned, is that, as you know, everything is public."
"And that all the money that we raise and that pays salaries is directly from donors, small-dollar donors for the most part. So, I know you, you were making 179 at the White House. And I think we can work something out where we keep you right along those lines," Trump continues. "Specifically, let me see, I haven't even added up the numbers. But we were talking about, like, 15K a month. Let me see what that adds up to. Times 12. Yeah."
"So that's $180,000. Does that sound like a fair deal for you?" Trump is heard saying.
In another excerpt, Trump says the job would require Manigault Newman to be flexible about where she is working, pointing out that she would have to come to New York occasionally, but could remain in Washington, if she wanted to, and might be asked to do speaking engagements for the campaign.
When asked by Melvin why she did not share the full tape for NBC to play, Manigault Newman responded that she wanted to "undergird everything" in her book.
She reiterated that she had witnessed "corruption" during her time in the White House, but when asked for the specifics of what she saw, she replied that "there are things I'm going to save to share when the time is right."
Later Thursday, a lawyer for the Trump campaign sent a letter to Simon and Schuster, the publisher of Manigault Newman's book, alleging she was in violation of an agreement she had signed with the Trump campaign and saying that the publisher and others would face claims should it proceed with selling the book. Simon and Schuster responded by saying it was proceeding and was acting "well within its rights."
Manigault Newman wouldn't comment on whether she'd spoken with special counsel Robert Mueller's team — which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election — since she began releasing her tapes (she told MSNBC on Tuesday that she’d been interviewed by Mueller), but said she would stand by her previous statement.
"Every time the Trump people challenge me, I bring the receipts," she said, adding that she would release more audio tapes "if I need to."
"I'll do what I have to do to protect myself," she said.
Shortly before her appearance, the Republican National Committee released an ad online that showcased several instances when Manigault Newman, during the campaign and presidency, praised Trump — an apparent effort to contrast the former aide's past glowing remarks with her current criticism.
Trump tweeted a link to the video, and wrote, "Thank you for the kind words Omarosa!"
Responding to the video, she told Melvin that "my tapes are much better than theirs."
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the Trump campaign, Lara Trump called Manigault Newman's latest tape "a fraud" and said she was "shocked and saddened by her betrayal and violation."
The latest secret audio recording — the fourth one Manigault Newman has released in recent days — comes after the release this week of her book, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," in which she slammed the president as racist and in mental decline.
Trump has repeatedly insulted Manigault Newman in the days since her media blitz began, calling her "wacky," "vicious but not smart,"a "dog," and someone who “constantly missed work.” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has called Manigault Newman a "disgruntled former" employee whose book was simply an effort to profit off "false attacks."
Since last weekend, Manigault Newman has publicly shared audio recordings made in the White House of Trump and of chief of staff John Kelly, as well as one that she said was a phone call between herself and several other Trump advisers.