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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Omarosa taped nearly every conversation she had while working in the White House, including ones with "all of the Trumps," a source who watched her make many of the tapes tells Axios. Omarosa did this with a personal phone, almost always on record mode.

Why it matters: Omarosa is far from the only White House staffer to exploit lax internal oversight and loose loyalties to collect damaging info on Trump and others. And we know of several staffers who took careful notes for future deployment.

Omarosa, whose book became a New York Times bestseller after she was fired from the White House, was also (perhaps rightly) paranoid:

  • The source said Omarosa "wouldn't write me on email or text me — many [conversations] happened on Facebook Messenger (she didn’t want what happened to Hillary Clinton and her emails to happen to her)."

How Omarosa made the tapes, according to the source:

  • She carried two phones, her personal phone and her government-issued one.
  • She would often put conversations she had on her work phone on speaker, then record those with her personal phone.
  • Before heading into meetings, she would often press "record" on her personal phone — which she carried in her pocket or in a small purse.

Omarosa said she recorded people so she could go back and refer to them later, the source said. But she also wanted to "cover her own butt."

  • Why it was so easy: People in the White House paid much less attention to personal phones before leaking became ubiquitous.
  • In January, chief of staff John Kelly instituted a ban on personal devices in the West Wing on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

CDC panel recommends Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: The approval is the near-final step in making the booster shots available to tens of millions of Americans, and comes a day after the FDA approved Pfizer boosters for the two groups. CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to announce her recommendation soon.

DHS temporarily suspends use of horse patrol in Del Rio

U.S. Border Patrol agents watch as Haitian immigrant families cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 23, 2021. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday temporarily suspended the use of horse patrol in Del Rio, Texas a DHS spokesperson confirmed.

Why it matters: The suspension comes after images showing border patrol agents whipping at and charging their horses at migrants surfaced earlier in the week, prompting widespread criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the crisis at the border.

Southwest drought is worst on record, NOAA finds

In a stark new report, a team of NOAA and independent researchers found the 2020-2021 drought across the Southwest is the worst in the instrumental record, which dates to 1895.

Why it matters: They also concluded that global warming is making it far more severe, primarily by increasing average temperatures, which boosts evaporation.

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