Trump hits back after Omarosa releases secret recording of president

Donald Trump has hit back at his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman after she released tapes of secretly recorded White House conversations, including one in which the president appeared to express surprise that she had been fired from his administration.

“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will,” Trump tweeted on Monday, admitting that his response to her claims were “not presidential”.

“She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard....”

Manigault Newman, a former Apprentice reality TV star who became the most prominent African American in the Trump White House, has been promoting her new book Unhinged, which offers a scathing account of life in the West Wing.

The memoir claims Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word”, alleging he was caught on mic uttering the slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice. In a series of tweets Monday night, the president hit back at those claims, too, saying: “There are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word ... I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have.”

On Monday, Manigault Newman released an apparent recording of an interaction with Trump in 2017 after she was dismissed from the White House.

“Omarosa? Omarosa what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump says on the tape played on NBC’s Today show on Monday.

@realDonaldTrump While I know it’s “not presidential” to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!
 
The audio follows other recordings released on Sunday, which she claimed she made when the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, called her into the Situation Room to fire her.
 

The recordings, if established to be genuine, could be treated as a breach of White House security.

“General Kelly – General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave,” Manigault Newman says on the tape released on Monday.

“No … I, I, nobody even told me about it,” the president appears to respond.

In her book, which is published this week, Manigault Newman paints a picture of Trump as a president who is kept out of the loop on administration decisions.

She told NBC’s Today show there were “multiple tapes” and warned that there were more to come.

“There’s a lot of very corrupt things happening in the White House and I am going to blow the whistle on a lot of them,” she said.

On Monday, Trump also responded to the author’s claim that after she was fired from the White House, the Trump campaign made her a $15,000 per month job that was, in reality, an attempt to buy her silence with an expansive non-disclosure agreement. “Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!” Trump tweeted.

A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, declined to get into specifics of Manigault Newman’s firing but emphasised that “the president makes the decisions”.

But he added: “For her to go out and praise the president lavishly after she left her post and tell the truth about how much work he’s done for the African American community and who he is as a person, I guess that wasn’t paying the bills.”

The new recording intensifies a developing controversy over the author’s apparent practice of secretly taping her colleagues, a day after she released a recording of Kelly firing her in the high-security Situation Room, where the president and senior government officials meet to discuss serious foreign policy issues.

The room, located in the basement of the West Wing, is designated a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, and staff are not permitted to bring in cellphones or recording devices.

“The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said on Sunday.

The question of whether Manigault Newman could face prosecution for making the recordings in the Situation Room, or recording the president without his knowledge, has yet to be clarified.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Monday: “She was certainly violating national security regulations, which I think have the force of law.”

Manigault Newman claimed on Sunday that she had heard a recording of Trump using the N-word and other racial epithets during taping of his reality TV show The Apprentice. She declined to say who had played her the recording.

Manigault Newman, who was once one of Trump’s most prominent defenders, said “hindsight” had changed her views of the president. “Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities,” she said.

Many have questioned Manigault Newman’s claims, however. Frank Luntz, the campaign pollster who she claimed told an associate he had heard the president utter the racial slur, has emphatically denied the assertion.

“I’m in @Omarosa’s book on page 149. She claims to have heard from someone who heard from me that I heard Trump use the N-word. Not only is this flat-out false (I’ve never heard such a thing), but Omarosa didn’t even make an effort to call or email me to verify. Very shoddy work,” Luntz tweeted.

In another claim, Manigault Newman said she had seen the president eat a note handed to him in the Oval Office by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to prevent presidential archivists getting it.

Cohen swiftly rubbished her recollection on Twitter.

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United States: Arms Paradise

As Spanish news agency EFE reported on Sunday, the White House released this week its new policy on CAT (Conventional Arms Transfer).

The document main goal is to foster the sale of arms that the United States has been taking profit for years.

The statement of the Department of State substitutes that of former president Barack Obama in 2014.

Its three main goals are:

-         *Give top priority to strategic competence

-         *Create a proper environment to close the operations of arms selling

-         *Regroup the business model to increase the chances for success

But experts believe these goals are vague and refute, once again, the Trump’s administration of lack of transparency.

The law highlights “the increasing opportunity of business” and the “importance of strengthening the sale of arms in the world.”

One of the most appealing characteristics in Trump’s policy is set in his motto: “Make America Great Again.”

According to EFE, to do so, the CAT speeds up Washington’s arms transactions with potential customers abroad.

It does not mean that Congress is fully unaware of such military negotiations.

The U.S. government reported sales worth of 41,93 billion USD in 2017.

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt are the main buyers.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

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Omarosa says Trump is a racist who uses N-word – and claims there's tape to prove it

Donald Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly, Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, claims in a searing memoir.

The future US president was caught on mic uttering the taboo racial slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice and there is a tape to prove it, according to Manigault Newman, citing three unnamed sources.

Trump has been haunted from around the time of his election in 2016 by allegations that outtakes from the reality TV show exist in which he is heard saying the N-word and using other offensive language.

In her book, Unhinged, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian ahead of its publication next week, the former Apprentice participant insists that the reports are true, although she does not say she heard him use the word herself.

She also claims that she personally witnessed Trump use racial epithets about the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway, who is half Filipino. “Would you look at this George Conway article?” she quotes the president as saying. “F**ing FLIP! Disloyal! Fucking Goo-goo.”

Both flip and goo-goo are terms of racial abuse for Filipinos.

Critics have previously questioned Manigault Newman’s credibility and are likely to accuse her of seeking revenge against the administration after her abrupt dismissal last December.

At the time, she writes, she felt a “growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist. My certainty about the N-word tape and his frequent uses of that word were the top of a high mountain of truly appalling things I’d experienced with him, during the last two years in particular.”

Recalling her sudden and unceremonious departure, she writes: “It had finally sunk in that the person I’d thought I’d known so well for so long was actually a racist. Using the N-word was not just the way he talks but, more disturbing, it was how he thought of me and African Americans as a whole.”

Trump hosted NBC’s The Apprentice from 2004-2015 before running for the presidency and still likes to laud his high ratings.

His insurgent election campaign was rocked in October 2016 by the release of an Access Hollywood tape in which he bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy”. The media firestorm prompted Bill Pruitt, a producer on the first two seasons of The Apprentice, to tweet that there were “far worse” tapes of Trump behind the scenes of the show.

Further allegations emerged that Trump had used the N-word in the recordings. Then, following the New York property tycoon’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton, the actor and comedian Tom Arnold claimed to have the video of Trump using racist language.

 https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/01e14bef7efde688dc56fbac5b58d674a6f8ed20/0_0_3000_2000/master/3000.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=3a6b22a6e8fedd33c94d00ed1a739e3b Pinterest / The White House staffer Kellyanne Conway and former aides Hope Hicks and Omarosa Manigault Newman at a press briefing last year. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images
 

“I have the outtakes to The Apprentice where he says every bad thing ever, every offensive, racist thing ever,” Arnold told the Seattle-based radio station KIRO. “It was him sitting in that chair saying the N-word, saying the C-word, calling his son a retard, just being so mean to his own children.”

But Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owns the rights to the reality TV show, and its British creator, Mark Burnett, have resisted pressure to release the footage because of “various contractual and legal requirements”.

Once close to Trump, Manigault Newman was among his most high-profile supporters during the election campaign and drew a top salary of $179,700 as director of communications for the White House office of public liaison. She held her April 2017 wedding at Trump’s luxury hotel, close to the White House.

Hers is the second memoir from a former Trump administration member, following that of the ex-press secretary Sean Spicer, but it was always expected to be less adulatory. This week the Daily Beast reported that she had secretly recorded conversations with the president and “leveraged” this while seeking a book deal. On Sunday she is due to appear on NBC’s flagship political show Meet the Press.

Some commentators have struck a note of scepticism about her book. Brian Stelter, senior media correspondent at CNN, wrote in an email newsletter: “Is former ‘Apprentice’ star Omarosa Manigault-Newman a reliable source of info about the Trump White House? Buckle up for debates about that in the coming week. Because she’s about to betray Trump in a new tell-all book.”

For its part, the White House has previously dismissed criticisms from her. In February the deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, said: “Omarosa was fired three times on The Apprentice and this was the fourth time we let her go. She had limited contact with the president while here. She has no contact now.”

In the book, she recalls how in late 2016 Trump’s team held a conference call and scrambled for how to respond to the tape but it never came out. Then a source from The Apprentice contacted her and claimed to be in possession of it. Trump was in office and Manigault Newman continued to investigate.

She continues: “By that point, three sources in three separate conversations had described the contents of this tape. They all told me that President Trump hadn’t just dropped a single N-word bomb. He’d said it multiple times throughout the show’s taping during off-camera outtakes, particularly during the first season of The Apprentice.”

Recalling that she appeared on the first season, Manigault Newman reflects: “I would look like the biggest imbecile alive for supporting a man who used that word.” She says she confided in the former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who said, “I need to hear it for myself,” and continued to ask her frequently about what progress she was making.

She believes that Hicks told the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, that Omarosa was close to getting her hands on the tape, and this gave him cause to terminate her job, though he found a different pretext.

Four months after her departure, she spoke by phone to one of her Apprentice sources. “I was told exactly what Donald Trump said – yes, the N-word and others in a classic Trump-goes-nuclear rant – and when he’s said them. During production he was miked, and there is definitely an audio track.”

Manigault Newman also recalls her interactions with Trump during the filming of The Celebrity Apprentice in late 2007 – a time when the little known Democrat Barack Obama was in the ascendent. “During boardroom outtakes, Donald talked about Obama often. He hated him. He never explained why, but now I believe it was because Obama was black.”

In January, Trump was widely condemned for reportedly dismissing Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shitholes”. Manigault Newman describes a similar experience that appears to support that account. When she told Trump that she was going to Haiti, she writes, he demanded: “Why did you choose that shitty country as your first foreign trip?”

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He added: “You should have waited until the confirmations were done and gone to Scotland and played golf at [his course] Turnberry.”

In another damning passage, she describes his “broken outlook” and how “the bricks in his racist wall kept getting higher”, wondering if he did “want to start a race war”. She adds: “The only other explanation was that his mental state was so deteriorated that the filter between the worst impulses of his mind and his mouth were completely gone.”

The book comes days after Trump faced renewed allegations of racism over his persistent descriptions of the congresswoman Maxine Waters as having a “low IQ” and CNN journalist Don Lemon as “the dumbest man on television”, as well as criticism of the basketball star LeBron James. This weekend marks the first anniversary of the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, that erupted in deadly violence; the president claimed there were “very fine people on both sides”.

Elsewhere in Unhinged, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Manigault Newman takes aim at Trump’s sexism. Recalling more outtakes from The Apprentice, she says he asked personal questions about female contestants such as “What do you think she’s like in bed?” and “Do you think she’s sexy?” He allegedly asked male contestants: “Who you think would be better in bed between the two of them?”

Asked about the allegations in Manigault Newman’s book, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations.

“It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the president during her time in the administration.”

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Russia to treat further US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war – PM

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned the US that any sanctions targeting Russian banking operations and currency trade will be treated as a declaration of economic war and retaliated against by any means necessary.

“If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,” Medvedev said during a trip to the Kamchatka region.

"Our American friends should make no mistake about it,” he emphasized.

 

Medvedev noted that Russia has a long history of surviving economic restrictions and never caved in to the pressure in the past. “Our county had been living under constant pressure through sanctions for the last hundred years,” Medvedev said, accusing the US and its allies of employing sanctions to undercut global competition. “Nothing has changed.”

The prime minister said that by targeting Russia’s gas exports to Europe, Washington wants to push its own LNG shipments to the continent. “It’s an absolutely nonmarket anti-competition measure aimed at strangling our capabilities.”

Medvedev pointed out that the US is simultaneously imposing tariffs on China. “The Chinese, obviously, don’t like it. No one does. And our goal is to resist all these measures.”

On Wednesday, the US State Department announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian exports of dual-purpose electronics and other national security-controlled equipment, which will come into effect on August 22.

The stated reasoning behind latest punitive actions are accusations levelled against Russia over the Sergei and Yulia Skripal poisoning back in March, which the UK and its allies pinned on Moscow without due investigation. Washington subsequently accused Moscow of breaking the 1991 international law against chemical and biological warfare.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegations, while the UK authorities have provided no proof of Russia’s involvement in the case. Furthermore, Moscow eliminated all stockpiles of its chemical weapons under international obligations, unlike the US, which has still to honor its commitment.

While Russia reserved the right to retaliate against new trade restrictions, the US threatened to intensify sanctions within three months, by potentially cutting off nearly all exports and imports and banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US.

To avoid further pressure, Washington demands that Moscow confess and provide “reliable assurances” that Russia will not use chemical weapons in the future. The US also seeks to have “on-site inspections” of alleged chemical production facilities, which Russia has already shut down.

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Rouhani blasts Trump’s ‘psychological warfare’ as Iran braces for US sanctions

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has slammed US President Donald Trump’s offer for direct talks as a disingenuous PR stunt for domestic consumption while the “untrustworthy” Washington only increases its sanctions against Tehran.

In his first public statement since Trump signed an executive order reinstating sanctions against Tehran, Rouhani said that he will not negotiate with Washington while being sanctioned at same time, describing such tactics as “psychological warfare [against] the Iranian nation,” adding that “Trump’s call for direct talks is only for domestic consumption in America ... and to create chaos in Iran.”

The Iranian president said that while his government favored dialogue, such talks required “honesty.”

“The US reimposes sanctions on Iran and pulls out of the nuclear deal, and then wants to hold talks with us,” Rouhani said in a Monday speech broadcast live on state television.

 
© Damir Sagolj

 

He went on to compare Trump’s alleged offer to stabbing someone with a knife, while claiming to only seek peaceful dialogue. “They’re imposing sanctions upon Iranian children, patients, and the people,” Rouhani said. He called on the White House to sign back on to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if was indeed serious about negotiating with Tehran.

The first round of renewed US sanctions will take effect on Tuesday after midnight US Eastern time, with harsher measures expected to be implemented in early November. Washington is reinstating measures that were lifted under the nuclear deal, after unilaterally withdrawing from the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Tehran in May.

The 2015 agreement, which placed tight controls on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, was signed by Iran, the United States, Russia, China and the European Union.

Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal been widely condemned by the EU and other signatories, raising questions among European nations about whether the United States could still be considered a reliable transatlantic partner. The European Commission has stated that despite US sanctions, European companies will continue doing business in Iran under Brussels’ protection.

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Ormuz Strait in Iran's Sight due to U.S. Sanctions

Tehran, Aug 3 (Prensa Latina) Iran repeated the possibility of closing the Strait of Ormuz, waterway moving 20 percent of the world''s oil, in response to the threats and sanctions of the United States.

'If the tap of oil and petrodollars is opened, they only go to the pocket of those threatening Iran. It will logically affect the security of the Strait', stressed the chief of Iran's Navy, Counteradmiral Hosein Janzadi, quoted by the IRNA News Agency.

This week, Janzadi launched a similar warning that the 'unjust sanctions (of the U.S.) against Iran' can have consequences on the navigation through the geographic accident separating this nation from Oman.

That point is the sea outlet of the countries with coasts in the Persian gulf, great producers of oil and gas.

At the beginning of last month, the deputy chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, general Ismail Kosari, declared that if restricted the Iranian oil exports, they will not allow the extraction of crude through the Strait of Ormuz.

In a similar sense spoke Iranian deputy minister of Foreign Relations, Abbas Araqchi.

Tension in the zone escalated after the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump, to abandon unilaterally the nuclear pact signed with Tehran three years ago, and imposing new sanctions against Iran, actions rejected by the international community.

Among them, stand out the pressures of Washington on other nations to stop buying Iranian oil, main export item of this nation.

Recently, during a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, threatened with a military response if Iran closes the strait.

'We will make sure that maritime routes stay open, this is a long-standing U.S. policy and we are prepared to keep it', underlined Pompeo in an interview with the Emirate newspaper The National.

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China Threatens New Tariffs On $60 Billion Worth Of US Goods

Beijing: Beijing warned Friday it was prepared to impose new tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods if Washington ups the ante in the escalating US-China trade war.

The commerce ministry issued a statement saying the new duties would be applied if Washington pulled the trigger on President Donald Trump's threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The Chinese reaction is sure to ratchet up tensions with the Trump administration at the end of a week that saw stock markets rattled by the intensifying trade battle.

"China always believes that consultation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit is an effective way to resolve trade differences," the commerce ministry said.

"Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties."

The statement said the date of implementation of the taxes will depend on the "actions of the US side" and China reserves the right to apply "other countermeasures".

The threat came a day after Chinese officials appealed for dialogue based on "mutual respect", with Foreign Minister Wang Yi urging the United States on Thursday to remain "cool-headed".

The commerce ministry threat came after Wang met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore on Friday.

Washington and Beijing are locked in battle over American accusations that China's export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of American technological know-how.

Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on virtually all of China's exports to the United States in the tit-for-tat trade conflict.

Defend China's 'Dignity'

The US already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods in early July, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, drawing an in-kind retaliation from China.

Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods, from areas as varied as electrical machinery, leather goods and seafood, that would be hit with 10 percent import duties.

But Trump raised the stakes this week by asking the US Trade Representative to consider increasing the proposed tariffs on the $200 billion worth of goods to 25 percent.

The Chinese commerce ministry blamed the United States for escalating the situation.

"China to take necessary countermeasures to defend the country's dignity and the interests of the people, defend free trade and the multilateral system, and defend the common interests of all countries in the world," the statement said.

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Trump pushes Sessions to end Mueller's Russia investigation 'right now'

Donald Trump appeared to order his attorney general Jeff Sessions to pull the plug “right now” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia with a tweet on Wednesday morning.

Trump frequently rages on Twitter about the Mueller investigation, which the president calls a “witch hunt”. Trump reportedly ordered Mueller fired in 2017 but backed down in the face of internal White House resistance. Trump has said that he regretted appointing Sessions because Sessions recused himself from matters relating to the Mueller inquiry.

The phrase “17 angry Democrats” is Trump’s shorthand for a conspiracy theory imputing political bias to the special counsel’s team. Mueller is a Republican, his direct superior is a Republican, and his teams includes members who have made political donations in the past to both Democrats and Republicans.

Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, expressed alarm at the president’s order.

“The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated,” Schiff tweeted. “This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it.”

Press secretary Sarah Sanders denied the tweet was an order for Sessions to act. “It’s not an order, it’s the president’s opinion,” she told reporters at the White House.

Two Trump lawyers also denied that the tweet was an order. “The president has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this,” lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement to the Washington Post.

“I think it’s very well-established the president uses tweets to express his opinion,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Post. “He very carefully used the word ‘should’.”

The White House has previously said that Trump’s tweets constitute official statements by the president. The attorney general was nominated by the president to his post, serves at his pleasure and may be dismissed by him at any time.

Sessions has made no indication of a willingness to take any such step.

Trump’s lashing out Wednesday morning appeared to be prompted by the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which began on Tuesday and which is being prosecuted by Mueller’s team.

“These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!” Trump tweeted in reference to the Manafort trial.

Trump is correct that the 18 charges of bank fraud and tax evasion that Manafort currently faces in federal court in Virginia do not directly relate to alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. In the five months he led the Trump campaign, Manafort remained in contact with his partners in Ukraine and Russia, at least one of whom had Russian intelligence ties, and Manafort offered a Russian oligarch private briefings on the campaign.

Mueller has indicted 31 individuals, including 12 Russian intelligence agents, and three former Trump aides have reached plea deals with prosecutors. Late on Tuesday it emerged that Mueller had referred a new case, involving the alleged failure of a Democratic lobbyist and a former Republican congressman to register as foreign agents, to prosecutors in New York.

Previously, Mueller referred a case involving former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to prosecutors in New York.

 

  • Published in World
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