President Donald Trump’s campaign accused former aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman on Tuesday of violating a non-disclosure agreement after she released a new book about her time in the White House.
The campaign is pursuing a claim against her with a private arbitrator for breaching the agreement, according to a campaign official who asked not to be identified. Non-disclosure agreements frequently allow pursuit of damages through arbitration rather than a lawsuit.
The campaign disclosed the action hours after Manigault-Newman provided CBS News with a new recording in which top campaign officials appear to discuss how to “spin” the possible release of video featuring the then-candidate using a racial slur.
In the recorded discussion, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson says she is trying to find out the context in which then-candidate Donald Trump used the N-word “to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it.” It was rumored during the campaign that video existed of the president using the epithet during outtakes from his reality television show “The Apprentice.”
But the audio also makes clear that Pierson and other top Trump officials hadn’t actually heard the alleged recording, and that Trump denied its existence to them at the time.
“I said, well, sir, can you think of anytime that this might have happened and he said, no,” aide Lynne Patton appears to say on the recording.
Trump has publicly insisted he never used the slur, including in a tweet Monday, in which he said “The Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett called him to say there were no tapes featuring Trump using “such a terrible and disgusting word.”
“I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have,” Trump said.
Pierson and Manigault-Newman appear to express their skepticism that Trump didn’t use the epithet in the recording, which has not been independently verified by Bloomberg News. They do not appear to provide evidence for why they don’t believe Trump.
“No, he said it,” Pierson said. “He is embarrassed.”
Pierson denied making those remarks in an interview Monday night before the tape was released.
“That did not happen,” Pierson told Fox News. “It sounds like she’s writing a script for a movie.”
The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for explanation as to the apparent discrepancy.
Manigault-Newman — the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison before she was fired last year by Chief of Staff John Kelly — has been promoting a book about her time in the West Wing.
In several interviews, she has accused Trump of being a racist and a misogynist and said that he was mentally unfit. She also claimed that a tape capturing Trump making racial slurs existed.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Omarosa said Trump never made such comments in her presence, but that she had “heard his voice” on tape “as clear as you and I are sitting here.” The White House has fiercely denied Manigault-Newman’s account, and Trump himself has lambasted her several times on Twitter.
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”