WASHINGTON (CBS News) — In an attempt to set the record straight on reports surrounding her dramatic firing, former White House staffer and reality TV personality Omarosa Manigault Newman said that she recorded a discussion between herself and White House chief of staff John Kelly. Manigault Newman claimed Kelly had “threatened” her and put her “under duress” when discussing her termination.
Manigault Newman appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which played portions of audio she claims were taped inside the Situation Room of the White House, a secure location commonly used for classified discussions where cell phones or other recording devices are barred. Here is a transcript of the recording played on NBC:
Kelly: “We’re gonna talk to you about leaving the White House. It’s come to my attention over the last few months that there’s been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues…”
Kelly: “I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be, you know you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to you reputation.”
Manigault Newman: “Can I ask you a couple questions? Does the president, is the president aware of what’s going on?”
Kelly: “Don’t do, let’s not go down the road. This is a non-negotiable discussion.”
Manigault Newman: “I don’t want to negotiate. I just I’ve never talked, had a chance to talk to you general Kelly so if this is my departure I’d like to have at least an opportunity to understand…”
Kelly: “We can, we can talk another time. This has to do with some pretty serious – integrity violations. So I’ll let it go at that. So the staff and everyone on the staff works for me not the president.”
Manigault Newman then spoke about the recording.
“It’s pretty clear from that recording that John Kelly came in and said ‘This is the end, we want you to leave,'” she said. “But what’s interesting is, they take me into the Situation Room, the doors are locked. They tell me I can’t leave. And they start to threaten me, put fear in me, to put me under duress.”
Asked why she would bring a recording device into such a secure location, Manigault Newman said that she was “prepared” to “protect herself.”
“It’s very obvious a threat,” she said. “He goes on to say that things can get ugly for you, the chief of staff of the United States, under the direction of the president of the United States, threatening me on damage to my reputation and things getting ugly for me. That’s downright criminal. And if I didn’t have these recordings, no one in America would believe me. No one. So I protected myself and I’m going to tell you, I’m so glad I did.”
She added, “The president lies to the American people. Sarah Huckabee stands in front of the country and lies every single day. You have to have your own back because otherwise you’ll look back and you’ll see 17 knives in your back.”
Manigault Newman also renewed allegations that the president had used racial slurs, calling him a “con” on Sunday.
“Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities but when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist,” Manigault Newman said.
According to excerpts of her forthcoming memoir released to The Guardian, Manigault Newman said Mr. Trump used the “N-word” repeatedly during the taping of his NBC show “The Apprentice” prior to his presidency, and she claims that there is a recording of his use of the slur. However, the Guardian notes that Manigault Newman does not say she has ever heard him say the word and cites three sources who she does not name.
But in an interview with NPR on Friday afternoon, Manigault Newman appeared to contradict her own book, saying that she has heard the tape on which Mr. Trump said the N-word.
The White House has defended the president, slamming the former staffer’s book as being “riddled with lies and false accusations.”
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway denied that the president has ever used such language, saying “I’ve never heard the president of the United States use a racial slur about anyone. I simply haven’t heard it.”
“I’ve worked alongside of him for over two straight years now without interruption. I have never once heard him say that about anyone, and I never heard Omarosa complained that she had heard the president say it about anyone either when she was there,” Conway added.
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel suggested that Manigault Newman should be prosecuted if she’s found to have broken any federal laws for recording a conversation in the Situation Room.