Trump campaign takes legal action against Omarosa, alleging breach of confidentiality agreement

  • Donald Trump's presidential campaign has filed a legal action against former senior White House advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman, alleging she breached a nondisclosure agreement.
  • Trump's 2020 re-election campaign filed the arbitration with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, according to a Trump campaign official.
  • She is accused of violating a 2016 confidentiality agreement she signed with the campaign, the official said.
Omarosa Manigault, a staffer for US President-elect Donald Trump, listens as Martin Luther King III speaks to the media after meeting with the President-elect at Trump Tower in New York City on January 16, 2017.
Dominick Reuter | AFP | Getty Images
Omarosa Manigault, a staffer for US President-elect Donald Trump, listens as Martin Luther King III speaks to the media after meeting with the President-elect at Trump Tower in New York City on January 16, 2017.

Donald Trump's presidential campaign on Tuesday filed a legal action against former senior White House advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman, alleging she breached a nondisclosure agreement.

Trump's 2020 re-election campaign filed the arbitration with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, according to a Trump campaign official. She is accused of violating a confidentiality agreement she signed with the campaign in 2016, the official said.

Manigault Newman's attorney, John Phillips, told NBC News that "at this time, we haven't seen any legal action filed to date and don't have a comment on it."

A representative for the American Arbitration Association said the group declined to comment, citing its policy to not discuss any arbitrations it may have administered.

Trump himself appeared to reveal the existence of the ex-advisor's nondisclosure agreement in a tweet Monday.

In an interview with MSNBC's Katy Tur later Tuesday, Manigault Newman said that she has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The president has vented frustration against Manigault Newman during her press tour in the run-up to the release of her new White House expose, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," detailing her time advising Trump until she was fired by chief of staff John Kelly in December 2017.

In leaked excerpts and in press interviews, the former contestant on Trump's defunct reality show "The Apprentice" has questioned Trump's mental fitness and alleged the existence of recordings of Trump using racial epithets, including the N-word.

Manigault Newman also has provided her own recordings to various news outlets. One appears to document her being fired by Kelly in the White House situation room, while another appears to show White House staffers discussing the fallout of Trump's alleged use of the N-word.

Trump strongly denied using the epithet in a tweet Monday night, writing, "I don't have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up."

While he was raging against Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Tuesday morning tweet storm, Trump launched his most vicious salvo yet against Manigault Newman, calling her a "dog" and praising Kelly for firing her.

The Tuesday arbitration announcement from campaign organization Donald J. Trump for President specifically referred to an agreement signed during the 2016 presidential campaign. But various news outlets and former Trump administration officials have reported that white House staff, too, were asked to sign documents promising confidentiality.

The Washington Post, citing a draft version of one such document, reported in March that senior staff members signed nondisclosure agreements that were designed to last beyond Trump's presidency.

Ex-White House employees have confirmed the Post's report. In a CNN interview on Tuesday, former White House lawyer Jim Schultz said the agreements were a "belt and suspenders approach" to enforcing confidentiality obligations that already existed through the traditions of the presidency.

Schultz confirmed that he had signed one, as well, though he declined to say whether he believed they were legally enforceable.

Clarification: This story was updated to reflect that arbitration is an out-of-court submission.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.