Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former top aide to President Donald Trump, shocked the political world on Sunday when she released a secret recording of White House chief of staff John Kelly firing her. It was the location of the recording — the highly secured Situation Room — that left many stunned, questioning the legality of the recording.
On Monday, Manigault-Newman released a new recording that appeared to reveal that Trump was unaware she was being dismissed from the White House.
What are the details?
The recording, a private phone conversation between Trump and Manigault-Newman, revealed not only that Trump was apparently unaware Kelly fired her, but also that he said did not "love" the decision. Manigault-Newman told NBC News the conversation took place the day after her dismissal.
"Omarosa, what's going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving. What happened?" Trump is heard saying in the clip.
"Gen. Kelly — Gen. Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave," Omarosa told the president.
"No...I, I — Nobody even told me about it. You know, they run a big operation but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Godd**m it. I don't love you leaving at all," Trump responded.
It's not clear what was said before the recording began or what happened afterward. Either Manigault-Newman did not record the conversation in its entirety or she gave NBC just a short clip.
The recording Manigault-Newman released on Sunday revealed Kelly fired her over "significant integrity issues." When asked if Trump was aware of Kelly's decision, the West Wing leader told Manigault-Newman, "Don't do — let's not go down the road. This is a non-negotiable decision."
Manigault-Newman said on "Meet the Press" Sunday she does not regret secretly recording conversation in the White House.
"I had to protect myself and I had no regret about it," she explained.
What has Trump said?
When asked to respond to her book over the weekend, Trump called Manigault-Newman a "lowlife."
On Monday, he took the criticism a step further, calling his former aide "vicious" and "not smart."
Are the recordings legal?
It depends where the recordings took place. Since Washington, D.C., is a one-party consent municipality, she would likely be in the clear.
But there remain questions surrounding her recording in the White House's Situation Room, where the nation's top national security issues are discussed. Trump allies have called for Manigault-Newman to be prosecuted, but legal experts say there is no legal basis to criminally pursue Manigault-Newman.
Tommy Vietor, the spokesman of former President Barack Obama's national security council, told Axios:
I can't get that worked up about Omarosa taping General Kelly in the Situation Room. Yes, it's against the rules. Yes, it's a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility). But ultimately the sitroom is just a bunch of conference rooms. He didn't read the PDB (President's Daily Brief) aloud and then fire her. It was an unclassified discussion.
Bradley Moss, a national security attorney, explained to Axios:
In and of itself, there is no criminal provision implicated. If there isn't national defense information or classified involved, merely recording ... in a SCIF is merely a security violation.
Indeed, it's likely that Manigault-Newman violated only Situation Room policies, which prohibit cellphones, and other security rules and regulations — not the law.