Donald Trump and his team have routinely made threats about possible legal action against their critics, but the posturing rarely amounts to much. Earlier this year, for example, the president’s lawyers went after “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff and his publisher, insisting that the book not be published or disseminated.
The threats, of course, were ignored, and the book became a bestseller.
Eight months later, when rumors first emerged about Trump World “looking into legal options” against Omarosa Manigault Newman, it was easy to assume the president and those around him were just trying to intimidate the former White House aide. As it turns out, however, the threat of legal action is apparently quite real. NBC News reports that the Trump campaign is formally alleging that the reality-show personality breached a 2016 confidentiality agreement.
Trump’s campaign, formally named Donald J. Trump for President, filed an arbitration action Tuesday against Manigault Newman with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, the official told NBC News.
The action is related to claims made by Manigault Newman in her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” in which she slammed the president as racist and in mental decline. […]
In an arbitration proceeding, each side submits to the judgment of an independent arbitrator – typically a retired judge – who hears evidence presented by both sides and has the ability to make a ruling or penalize one side.
There are plenty of experts who can speak to this with more authority than I can, but it’s my understanding that the discovery process in arbitration cases is pretty limited – which in a controversy like this one, cuts off a potential bonanza of opportunities.
That said, by taking any action at all, the Trump campaign is guaranteeing even more attention for the former White House aide and her book.
As that process moves forward, Manigault Newman continues to promote the project and release new audio recordings.
Manigault Newman appeared on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday and the network aired a new tape of what she said was a phone call between herself and several other Trump advisers discussing the potential fallout if the alleged N-word tape became public during the 2016 campaign.
The October 2016 phone conversation was said to be with Lynne Patton, then-assistant to the president’s son Eric Trump, campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, and campaign communications director Jason Miller.
“I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it,” Pierson said on the tape.
Patton then recounted asking then-candidate Trump if he ever said the slur.
“I said, ‘Well, sir, can you think of anytime where this happened?’ And he said, ‘No,’” Patton said.
Manigault Newman: “Well, that is not true.”
Patton: “He goes, ‘How do you think I should handle it?’ and I told him exactly what you just said, Omarosa, which is well, it depends on what scenario you are talking about. And he said, ‘Well, why don’t you just go ahead and put it to bed.’”
Pierson: “He said, no, he said it. He is embarrassed by it.”
And for his part, the president himself is keeping the offensive going, referring this morning to Manigault Newman as a “dog.”