I was a little frustrated by some of the reporting on this. I couldn’t find a complete written transcript so I put one together below. There are actually four separate recordings – they are brief excerpts that Omarosa asserts came from a longer conversation. She says she played the entire conversation for MSNBC producers so they could put them in context. I’m confident that if there was anything in these excerpts that misrepresented the overall tone and content of the conversation, MSNBC would not have released them on their network. MSNBC did not distinguish the starting point of each excerpt, but I believe I’ve been able to do that just by carefully parsing the conversation.
You can listen to the four excerpts here (they are edited together as a single recording):
A complete transcript:
Lara Trump: Listen, obviously, with like The New York Times article and stuff, you know, it’s, it’s –
Omarosa Manigault Newman: What’s The New York Time [sic] article?
Lara Trump: The one that, the one that, um. It was in The New York Times today, I guess you didn’t – with Maggie Haberman, or they wrote about you.
Lara Trump: It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you’ve got in the back pocket to pull out. Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can’t have – we got to –
Omarosa Manigault Newman: Oh, God no.
Lara Trump: – everything, everybody, positive, right?
Lara Trump: So the only thing that we have to consider, where we’re talking salary as far as the compaign is concerned, is that, as you know, everything is public. Um. And that all the money that we raise and that pays salaries is directly from donors, small-dollar donors for the most part. So, I know you, you were making 179 at the White House. And I think we can work something out where we keep you right along those lines. Um. Specifically, let me see, I haven’t even added up the numbers. But we were talking about, like, 15K a month. Um. Let me see what that adds up to. Times 12. Yeah. So that’s $180,000. Does that sound like, uh, a fair deal to you?
Lara Trump: In terms of your position, specifically, I really feel like your position would require, you know, you to be able to be flexible in terms of where you are. Sometimes, you know, come to New York for occasional meetings, but I would love if you could, you know, occasionally go do speaking engagements and that sort of thing for us – I think you’d be awesome doing that. So it doesn’t really matter where you are. If you’re comfortable staying in D.C., then, you know, you’re, we’re more than happy to have you . . . [recording cuts off]
I believe it’s obvious that Omarosa is not actually being made a legitimate job offer, but is being offered hush money. However, I think, based on this recording alone, it would be difficult to make the charge stick in a court of law because Lara Trump does a good job of couching the hush money offer within a “wink, wink, nod, nod” conversation. You need to read between the lines, but it’s pretty easy to do so:
Excerpts 1 and 2: Without actually saying it in so many words, Lara Trump makes it clear that she is offering hush money. She talks about a New York Times article that came out that morning in which an outspoken Omarosa is quoted as saying, “I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people. It is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.” However, Omarosa is left with no doubt that if she does take this offer, she will not be allowed to tell her story. As Lara puts it, Omarosa cannot pull something out of her back pocket – "everything, everybody, positive, right?"
Excerpt 3: Here, Lara Trump lets Omarosa know that she can’t expect a huge pay out because the money will be coming from “small-dollar donors.” But, lo and behold, Omarosa will be receiving a payment every month that is almost exactly the same as the salary she received in the White House. So getting fired was really no harm, no foul. (BTW, how shameful is it to siphon off the hard-earned dollars of rank-and-file campaign donors and use it as hush money to cover up the crimes of a wealthy, corrupt politician?)
Expert 4: And here’s where it becomes abundantly clear that this is not a job offer, but a flat out hush money payment because Omarosa is expected to do very little in return for the cash. She doesn’t need to move and, for the most part, it sounds like she won’t even need to leave her home – she just may need to show up for an occasional meeting and deliver an occasional talk. Now that’s one sweet $180K/yr gig.
Footnote: The offer required Omarosa to sign a nondisclosure/nondisparagement agreement (copies of the agreements are here). She refused the offer and so, of course, did not sign the agreement. I’m not sure if she previously signed a nondisclosure/nondisparagement agreement when she was hired by the White House.