It’s just one source’s word but that source must be close to her to have been in a position to listen to the tapes. Which is not to say that you need a source claiming there’s no “there” there to strongly suspect there’s no “there” there. After all, if she were sitting on something big, she’d have released it already as rocket fuel to launch her book.
Check that. Omarosa being Omarosa, if she were sitting on something big, she would have swung a two-hour live event on television to hype it before revealing it at the end.
“People are terrified,” one former Trump aide said of the tapes. “Absolutely terrified.”…
Like the WikiLeaks dump — which severely damaged the Clinton campaign by taking it off message, but never produced a smoking gun — Manigault Newman’s tapes, according to someone who has listened to them, are juicy to listen to but ultimately don’t contain any bombshell about the president or his family.
Former senior staffers also said they felt safer because Manigault Newman was not included in small, high-level meetings. And they doubted that she taped the one broader senior staff meeting that she attended, which included about 25 people.
Politico draws an ironic comparison between the position Trump staffers are in now and the position Clinton staffers were in when Wikileaks was dribbling out stolen emails in 2016. With one key difference: Team Hillary knew for a fact what Wikileaks had because the DNC and John Podesta still retained archives of their emails. They could prepare for embarrassing revelations. Because Omarosa’s been making audio recordings, Team Trump doesn’t have that benefit. Anything you said offhandedly around her during her years of service to Trump might be airing on CNN before the day is out.
In one sense the Omarosa saga was predictable, in another it’s surprising. Charlie Sykes explains the predictable part:
Along with Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Seb Gorka, Rick Gates, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci (I could go on), Trump has surrounded himself with a parade of misfits, mediocrities, castoffs, crooks, and cretins from central casting. Each in their way reflect the man who sits in the Oval Office—emanations of his worldview and the moral universe he has shaped around him.
Donald Trump is a chronic liar who has surrounded himself, not surprisingly, with chronic liars. And the exquisite irony of this moment is that they are now all turning on one another.
“In the Age of Trump, everything trends toward absurdity,” Sykes observes, and absurdity demands that we end up with a scrum of unreliable narrators backbiting each other to the media while secretly recording each other for leverage. The common thread among most of the people Sykes names is that they’re well practiced at TV, whether of the cable-news or reality-show variety, and TV craves drama, conflict, sensational accusations. So does their boss, a TV junkie of legendary proportions. Knowing how to play that game is what made Omarosa famous in the first place. As she told “The Daily Show” last night, with no little amount of irony, “There’s one way to shut Donald Trump down and that is don’t give him the oxygen. And the oxygen comes from the clicks, the ‘likes,’ the shock, discussions.”
Which brings us to the surprise in all this. She’s playing the game better than Trump is. The master momentarily looks like an … apprentice:
Brian Kilmeade, who knows the president is watching, says that Omarosa “outsmarted” him and criticized him for having “taken the bait” pic.twitter.com/GYFofbGYEL
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) August 15, 2018
Per Axios, both formal and informal advisors (i.e. Melania) warned him not to take the bait and help Omarosa promote her book by attacking her, but he couldn’t help himself. That makes twice, after “Fire and Fury,” that he’s helped make a hatchet job on him a bestseller. (I’m not counting Comey’s book, which would have been a bestseller regardless.) You tell me why. Is it a simple matter of lacking impulse control or was he drawn into engaging her publicly by the lure of drama, conflict, and sensational accusations? There’s a murky symbiosis between the two of them, as different as they are. I think they understand each other, and enjoy the freak-show aspects of a public feud, in ways that few other people do.
Exit question: When is some White House advisor going to drop an embarrassing secret recording of Omarosa that he/she made? They must exist. No one believes she was the only person in the West Wing taping. The boss himself might have something damaging she said on audio. If secret recordings are the atomic arsensals in a great game of deterrence among White House staffers, it’s inevitable that there’ll finally be a nuclear exchange.