By Max Godnick
Donald Trump fired Omarosa Manigault Newman from "The Apprentice" three times, but it's her fourth dismissal that's turning into a White House scandal.
Manigault Newman, a former White House aide and ex-"Apprentice" contestant, released excerpts from audio recordings she made of President Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly in 2017. She played portions of the recordings on "Meet the Press" on Sunday and Monday on "Today." The Trump tape was made one day after Manigault Newman was fired from the administration; and the Kelly recording was made when the retired general dismissed her in the Situation Room.
"It's a violation of every protocol, procedure, and just how we do business in government," said Marc Lotter, a former special assistant to the president and former press secretary to Vice President Pence.
Lotter told Cheddar's J.D. Durkin that the White House has a strict no-phone rule in the building's most sensitive areas, and the Situation Room has lockers "right outside the door," where staffers are asked to leave their phones and other smart devices.
"We do not want anything compromised that might come out and be discussed in those very important meetings," Lotter said.
Lotter said he had a "fine relationship" with Manigault Newman during her tenure at the White House, and said he isn't aware of any recordings of the Vice President. Though he said he takes the breech seriously, Lotter is wary of the claims his former colleague is making on the media tour for her new book, "Unhinged."
"It's all an attempt to just sell a book and I think we need to remember that," Lotter said.
Manigault Newman has said she was offered $15,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement when she was fired last December that was, "as harsh and restrictive as any I'd seen in all my years of television."
Lotter rejected the notion that Manigault Newman's NDA was a deal for silence.
"I can tell you it's absolutely 100 percent not true," he said, adding that he had to sign the same document when he left the White House last fall for a position with the vice president.
"I was not signed to a non-disclosure agreement to hush me up," Lotter said. "They want me out there talking more."
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