WASHINGTON — Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman says she is ready to testify to Congress “anytime, anyplace” about what she knows about Russian ties to President Trump’s campaign and offered to appear as a witness at a potential Senate impeachment trial.
“I have the truth on my side as well as a hundred emails and documents and other things,” said Newman in an interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”
Asked specifically about serving as an impeachment witness against the president, she replied: “I think I’ve made it very clear that I am fully willing and ready to testify, to cooperate, to help advance this investigation.”
Even though Manigault Newman first floated the idea that she had information relating to the Russia investigation 10 days ago, she said that so far none of the congressional committees have reached out to her to seek her testimony. It remains far from clear, what she knows — if anything — that might be relevant to the Russia probes.
While Manigault Newman insisted she has been “cooperating” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation since the spring, she only hinted at her role on the last page of her new bestselling book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.” In that passage, she wrote that in early 2018 “I, too, received a call from the FBI.” But she has been coy about what that cooperation has consisted of — and what she has to say about Trump’s knowledge of Russian assistance to his campaign. “I don’t want to compromise” Mueller’s probe, Manigault Newman told “Skullduggery.” (She also said she wanted to include more details in her book but her publisher’s lawyers made her take them out.)
But Manigault Newman — who was fired as a White House staffer last December — was more than willing to discuss Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer who pleaded guilty this week to eight federal felonies, including arranging “hush money” payments to two women in violation of federal election laws.
Download or subscribe on iTunes: “Skullduggery” by Yahoo News
According to Manigault Newman, Trump habitually mocked and belittled Cohen over the years, even humiliated him at his son’s bar mitzvah.
“Michael wanted Donald Trump to come to his son’s bar mitzvah,” Manigault Newman said. “And he basically begged the president to come — it would mean so much to his son … And Donald came and in front of the entire group said that ‘the only reason I came is because Michael begged me to be here. He literally begged me.’”
Trump “said this in front of all of Michael’s sons, friends, peers, Michael Cohen’s family,” added Manigault Newman, who also attended the bar mitzvah. “And he was very demeaning about it… He could have just shown up and said, ‘Yeah, I’m here, OK, let’s go.’ But instead, in front of his family, in front of his friends, peers, in front of his religious community, Donald Trump took a shot at him.”
Manigault Newman said she called Cohen on Wednesday, the day after his court appearance. “Michael Cohen and I are still close,” she said. “I talked to him today and I wanted him to know and reassure him that his friends are still his friends. We still have his back.”
The interview with “Skullduggery” took place not long after Trump, in a Wednesday morning tweet, once again mocked Cohen.
If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
(In another tweet that same morning, Trump contrasted Cohen with his just convicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, noting that “unlike Michael Cohen, Manafort refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’”)
Manigault Newman said she was “very upset about the president’s tweet” commenting on Cohen’s skills as a lawyer. “Why kick a man while he’s down, you know? This man is facing jail time, he has a family, he has a beautiful wife. His daughter was my intern at the White House. I love this family and, you’re right, Michael Cohen was 100 percent loyal to Donald Trump. And so I have to tell you that the way he’s been portrayed is completely inaccurate.”
She added: “He would not be paying off porn stars if Donald Trump had not slept with them and had these illicit relationships with them and If Donald Trump had not directed him to pay these women off.”
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