Trump-Omarosa row deepens as Sarah Sanders says I cant guarantee anything when asked if recordings might emerge
As the remarkable public spat between Donald Trump and former adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman continued on Tuesday, the White House was unable to guarantee that no recordings exist of the president using the N-word.
At a White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked if she could say no such recordings would emerge.
I cant guarantee anything, she said.
Sanders cited the presidents tweets on the matter and said: I can tell you that the president addressed this question directly. On Monday, Trump wrote: I dont have that word in my vocabulary and never have.
On Tuesday morning, he added to earlier tweets when he wrote: When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didnt work out. Good work by General [John] Kelly for quickly firing that dog!
Manigault Newman, a former contestant on the reality TV show The Apprentice, is promoting a memoir, Unhinged. She has released two secret recordings related to her firing from the White House late last year and another related to the claims that Trump used the N-word during his career in reality TV.
Sanders said she had never heard Trump use the racial epithet in question.
In an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday afternoon, Manigault Newman introduced another angle to the row when she confirmed earlier hints that she has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller. The former FBI director is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and links between Trump aides and Moscow.
I have been interviewed, Manigault Newman said, though she said her hands are tied over any discussion of what she was asked.
Earlier in the day, the Trump campaign accused her of breaching a 2016 non-disclosure agreement.
In a statement to CNN, the campaign said it had filed an arbitration against Omarosa Manigault Newman, with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, for breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump campaign. It is the first legal action the campaign has launched since Manigault Newman revealed details in her tell-all book about her time as a Trump campaign adviser and senior White House aide.
On MSNBC, Manigault Newman said: I dont believe that I have violated [an NDA], but Im going to leave that to the lawyers to sort that out. Its interesting that hes trying to silence me. So what is he trying to hide? What is he afraid of? If he hadnt said anything that was derogatory or demeaning to African Americans and women, why would he go to this extent to try to shut me down?
Asked if there were any more tapes the president should be afraid of, she said: I think he should be afraid of being exposed as the misogynist, the bigot and the racist that he is.
Of Trump calling her a dog, she said: I think that it just shows you that if he would say that publicly, what else would he say about me privately? He has absolutely no respect for women, for African Americans as evidenced by him instructing the chief of staff to lock me for two hours in the Situation Room to harass me, to threaten me.
Hes unfit to be in this office and to serve as the president of the United States.
At the White House briefing, Sanders said Manigault Newman was a self-serving someone who blatantly cares about herself more than our country.
Sanders also insisted that Trumps decision to call Manigault Newman a dog and his other criticisms of prominent African Americans were not racially motivated.
This has absolutely nothing to do with race, she said, and everything to do with the president calling out someones lack of integrity.
She also complained about reporters only asking about a few of the things that the president has said negative about people who are minorities and said Trump was an equal opportunity person who calls it like he sees it and always fights fire with fire.
On CBS, Manigault Newman revealed a third tape she said recorded a 2016 conference call among Trump aides discussing how to address potential fallout from any release of tapes that allegedly contain Trump using the N-word. The campaign aides had previously denied any such conversations took place.
In the recording, then campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson can be heard saying: I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it. Later in the conversation, she says: He said it. He is embarrassed.
Manigault Newmans decision to record conversations has attracted controversy. When Kelly fired her in December in the White House Situation Room, she secretly taped the conversation: an apparent breach of security protocol.