White Home Sought Go well with Towards Omarosa Manigault Newman After Information of Her Memoir
WASHINGTON – One day after announcing in 2018 that President Trump’s former aide-de-camp Omarosa Manigault Newman had penned a negative memoir, the White House called on the Justice Department to open an investigation into a seemingly disjointed paperwork dispute that has been brought by the government them for documents and interviews.
The Justice Department has taken aggressive legal action against a number of former Trump aides who wrote unflattering memoirs, leading to allegations that administrative officials have abused their powers of law enforcement to retaliate.
The timing of the White House referral to the Justice Department over its dispute with Ms. Manigault Newman over a missing form suggests that the eventual lawsuit against her could be part of that pattern – even if the case isn’t about her damning book of the August 2018: “Unhinged: An Inside Report on Trump’s White House.”
“This was the weapon of a White House lawsuit of retaliation for writing a book – insulting words about Mr. Trump,” said John Phillips, attorney for Ms. Manigault Newman.
The Justice Department said that professional attorneys tasked with investigating the formal dispute recommended filing a lawsuit based on the facts. The White House declined to comment on whether the book influenced its decision to escalate the dispute by referring the matter to the department for review.
Senior Justice Department officials referred both to Ms. Manigault Newman and to communication with the White House the day after her book announcement. This emerges from a log of their emails that the department created and provided to the New York Times in response to an impending freedom from the Information Act lawsuit.
Ms. Manigault Newman is a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” Mr. Trump’s reality television show. She worked for his 2016 campaign and after his election took a job in the White House. But the two later had an argument. In late 2017, Mr. Trump’s then Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, fired her – in a conversation she secretly taped – and she was taken out without packing up her office.
Upon her resignation, Ms. Manigault Newman was required to file a report pursuant to a provision of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 disclosing certain financial and travel matters. But she told the White House that she couldn’t complete it until she received boxes of tax and travel documents from her previous office; The White House gave it to her slowly.
As a back and forth played out, news surfaced on July 26, 2018 of Ms. Manigault Newman’s memoir, alerting Mr. Trump. A pre-sale announcement that day promised a “mind-boggling” dismantling and full coverage of the “corruption and controversy” of the Trump administration to be released next month and catch the news media attention.
The next day, July 27, two chains of emails began “regarding permission to communicate with the White House attorney’s office and to discuss options for filing a lawsuit or not,” according to Justice Department minutes.
That was the day the White House made the referral to the Justice Department at the start of its investigation, said a department official his press office made available for an interview on the matter on condition of anonymity.
None of the materials the White House sent to the department related to Ms. Manigault Newman’s book, the official added. However, the officer also noted that the department didn’t know what Mr. Trump’s advisors were thinking when they decided to make the transfer.
The book was published in August. It depicted Mr. Trump as a bigot and misogynist in spiritual decline. The Trump campaign quickly filed an arbitration claim against Ms. Manigault Newman for allegedly violating a nondisclosure agreement. It’s not resolved yet.
In the meantime, negotiations between the Justice Department and Ms. Manigault Newman about the unreturned form and files have been postponed to 2019.
Several legal experts said the Justice Department receives several referrals annually from authorities struggling to get former employees to fill out the required exit forms. Such disputes typically end with a settlement of several hundred to several thousand dollars. Mr. Phillips said the department had never made an offer of settlement to Ms. Manigault Newman.
In June 2019, the department instead sued Ms. Manigault Newman, fined “up to $ 50,000.” Next month, Mr Phillips said, the White House finally turned over her files, and she has since filled out the form, despite a dispute over whether her job was appropriate.
Jody Hunt, who headed the Department of Justice’s civil division at the time the lawsuit was filed but has since left the government, said the department’s decision to go to court was “a routine matter based on the recommendation of professional attorneys, and unrelated to it do have book. “
Mr. Phillips has argued that Ms. Manigault Newman did not deliberately fail to submit the form – a necessary item – because the White House was holding on to files that it needed. The department did not accept the idea that access to these files was required.
The Justice Department in the Trump era also took action against other former members of the Trump circle who wrote critical memoirs.
In June, the department asked a judge to order Mr. Trump’s former National Security Advisor, John R. Bolton, to withdraw his book, The Room It Happened In: A Memory of the White House, which contained a negative report on Mr. Trump.
The request to join the book was exceptional for reasons of First Amendment law and because copies have already been printed and distributed. The judge declined to give the order, but is still weighing the department’s request to seize Mr. Bolton’s $ 2 million advance in a dispute over the pre-release review process aimed at filtering out classified information.
In July, another judge ruled that department officials had retaliated against Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney, who was about to publish “Disloyal: A Memoir” depicting the president as a dirty, mafia-like figure is pictured .
Mr Cohen was serving a prison term at home for the coronavirus pandemic, but officials ordered him to return to prison when he denied their request to sign a document preventing him from publishing his then-upcoming book.
And in October, the department sued Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and advisor to Melania Trump, over her book, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” which portrays Ms. Trump as being selfish and selfish on flat. The memoirs contain no classified information, but the department accused Ms. Winston Wolkoff of breaching a nondisclosure agreement.
Mr Phillips said he would try to remove officials and obtain the contents of emails to determine the motivation behind the White House officials’ decision to resolve the dispute over Ms. Manigault Newman’s form immediately after seeing her book to the Justice Department forward.
“It doesn’t just stink of retaliation. There’s pretty much evidence that it is retaliation for violating the First Amendment, ”he said.