“Believe me,” Ms. Manigault Newman said on MSNBC, invoking one of Mr. Trump’s favorite phrases to convey his sincerity, “my tapes are much better than theirs.”
Ms. Manigault Newman is not the only person who has caused Mr. Trump harm with his own tactics.
Another is Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, who told allies he did not want to be made the scapegoat for Mr. Trump’s legal troubles. Mr. Cohen secretly recorded a conversation in which he and Mr. Trump discussed payments from The National Enquirer’s parent company to a Playboy model who had claimed she had an affair with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump’s campaign said it had no knowledge of the payments, but the recording was made before those denials.
Michael Avenatti — who represents Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress who also said she had an affair with Mr. Trump and was paid hush money by Mr. Cohen — has also used the president’s own tactics to rattle him.
Mr. Avenatti has waited for Mr. Trump to make denials and has then dribbled out contradictory information. He has been omnipresent on cable news, just as Mr. Trump was in 2016.
On Thursday, officials at Simon & Schuster, the publisher of “Unhinged,” said they had received a legal warning letter against publication from Charles Harder, the libel lawyer whom Mr. Trump has retained in other matters. The publisher’s lawyer responded in kind, saying the president was using the highest platform in the land to censor someone.
Some major donors to Mr. Trump were bothered by the revelations that the campaign may have been used as a slush fund to pay fired or troublesome employees, said Dan K. Eberhart, an Arizona donor and energy executive who serves as an adviser to the America First Policies group created to support Mr. Trump’s agenda.
“It’s diverting donor money that could be used to wage the midterm election battle or store resources for Trump’s re-election,” Mr. Eberhart said. “Instead, it’s an elongated hush payment.”
He added, though, that he did not believe it would dissuade donors. “They still want to win elections,” he said.