Omarosa Manigault Newman's former colleagues say they are shocked that she secretly recorded private conversations with President Donald Trump and his chief of staff.
But surreptitious tapes in Trump's world are nothing new - the President himself once suggested he secretly recorded fired FBI Director James Comey (who responded by saying: "Lordy, I hope there are tapes"). Trump's ex-attorney Michael Cohen has his own cache of recordings, too.
A former contestant on his TV show The Apprentice, Manigault Newman became an assistant to the President, earning US$179,000 a year ($271,000) as director of communications for the White House office of public liaison.
She lasted shy of one year, getting escorted off White House grounds in December 2017.
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Now promoting a new book, Manigault Newman has released a recording of White House chief of staff John Kelly accusing her of "significant integrity issues" and saying, "If we make this a friendly departure ... you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation."
In another recording that Manigault Newman says was taken the next day, Trump can be heard saying he was surprised and disappointed that she was leaving the White House: "Nobody even told me about it ... I don't love you leaving at all."
Manigault Newman defends her secret recordings, saying otherwise "no one in America would believe me". That's possible, considering her reputation as a reality show villain on The Apprentice.
She also has offered differing accounts on her claim that Trump used a racial slur. In her book Unhinged, Manigault Newman cites unnamed sources saying the President was recorded using the "N-word" repeatedly on the reality show. She later said she heard the tape herself.
The White House and Trump have pounced on the discrepancy and her reputation as someone who seeks the spotlight in a bid to discredit her. Hogan Gidley, deputy press secretary, said media outlets never took her seriously until she released the tapes. Before becoming President, Trump himself had a reputation for quietly recording conversations during his business dealings in New York.
Yet Trump expressed shock after Cohen, his longtime personal attorney, released a recording in which the two appear to discuss a US$150,000 payout by a third party to a former Playboy model who alleged an affair with Trump.