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

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Science

The murder hornets are here

A braver man than me holds a speciment of the Asian giant hornet. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.

Biden is highest-spending political candidate on TV ads

Joe Biden. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

After spending an additional $45.2 million on political ads this week, former Vice President Joe Biden has become the highest-spending political candidate on TV ads ever, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

By the numbers: In total, the Biden campaign has spent $582.7 million on TV ads between 2019 and 2020, officially surpassing Michael Bloomberg's record spend of roughly $582 million. Biden's spend includes his primary and general election advertising.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!