September 01, 2020

Melania Trumps ex-friend says she recorded conversations after being publicly shamed by White House
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and adviser to first lady Melania Trump, revealed on Tuesday night's Rachel Maddow Show that she secretly recorded Trump after the White House made her "their scapegoat."Winston Wolkoff's new book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, was released Tuesday. In it, Winston Wolkoff also writes about the work she did helping plan President Trump's inauguration, and the fallout when it was reported that her firm received more than $26 million from the inaugural committee. Winston Wolkoff says most of that was then paid to other businesses. But the report turned her into "the cover girl for the inauguration shenanigans," she previously told ABC News, and she was stunned when the first lady didn't help clear her name.Winston Wolkoff told Maddow she didn't press record until "Melania and the White House had accused me of criminal activity and publicly shamed and fired me and made me their scapegoat." At that point, the first lady was "no longer my friend," Winston Wolkoff continued. "She was willing to let them take me down, and she told me herself this is the way it has to be. She was advised by the attorneys at the White House that there was no other choice because there was a possible investigation into the presidential inauguration committee."Friends don't do that to each other, Winston Wolkoff told Maddow, and she decided she had to do "anything in my power to make sure that I was protected. At first I really did think that maybe she would come to my aid, maybe she would tell the truth, but she turned her back and folded like a deck of cards." The recordings are "evidence" to back up her version of events, Winston Wolkoff said, and she has privately played at least one tape to a reporter. The more Trump and the White House "continue to lie about what they've said, done, and do, the more I will continue to prove their claims false," she added.

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