WASHINGTON — Omarosa Manigault Newman released a new audio recording of President Donald Trump in an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” in which the president “crashed” a meeting of White House communications staffers and talked to them of how it was Hillary Clinton who was linked to collusion with Russia.
The meeting took place in October of 2017, Manigault Newman said.
“I think Hillary is getting killed now with Russia. The real Russia story is Hillary and collusion,” Trump said during the recording before talking about the amount that a law firm was paid to gather opposition research on the president.
The firm, Perkins Coie, was working on behalf of Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, and hired Fusion GPS in 2016. Fusion GPS subcontracted with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to collect information, and he eventually produced a dossier that outlined Trump’s ties to Russia.
In the recording, Trump says that “somebody told me it was $9 million they spent on the phony report,” and alleges that it was a campaign finance violation.
Fusion GPS said at the time that it was paid $1.02 million from the law firm, and Steele’s firm was paid $168,000 out of that amount. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign did disclose the total amount that they paid to the Perkins Coie firm on campaign finance reports.
“So the whole Russia thing, I think, seems to have turned around. What do you think Sarah?” Trump is heard, directing his question at Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who replies, “Absolutely.”
Manigault Newman said that “we would have to go out as the comms team and repeat verbatim what you just heard, that Hillary Clinton was involved in the Russia collusion, that she was engaged in some criminal activity.” Sanders, she said, “would repeat those lies from the podium.”
She suggested that on the tape, Trump was describing a type of campaign finance violation that his former attorney, Michael Cohen, recently plead guilty to in a New York federal court. They involved payment arrangements made to two women in 2016 who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. Cohen said that he arranged for the payments at Trump’s direction.
Manigault Newman also said that staffers would use the hashtag #TFA in emails, as a reference to the 25th Amendment, which sets out how the cabinet can remove the president. “I was embarrassed that it was actually some way that we coped,” Manigault Newman said. But she did not explain why that detail was not included in her recent book, “Unhinged.”
When her book was published last month, Trump wrote on Twitter, “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!”
Trump’s legal team has issued legal threats to Manigault Newman that she was violating the terms of a non-disclosure agreement she signed during the campaign.
On “The View,” she said that she is currently in arbitration, and said that was the reason she could not disclose how she was able to tape conversations in the White House.
“They want to shut me down,” she said.
She also said that she regrets that she was “so complicit” in working with the Trump campaign and in the White House. She said that Clinton was “robbed” of the presidency and “I regret that I was … a co-conspirator in that robbery.”
Asked why she did not leave the White House earlier, Manigault Newman said, “I was afraid that the agenda that helps folks in my community would be abandoned.”
Some of her descriptions of Trump’s erratic personality are reflected in Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear: Trump in the White House,” set to be published on Tuesday, as well as an anonymous op ed from a senior administration official that was printed in The New York Times last week.
Update: Manigault Newman later appeared on “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” and released an addition portion of the tape from the October, 2017 meeting. In it, Trump talks about the recent attacks in Niger. She said that some of the communications staffers in the room did not have the proper security clearances for the conversation.