White House Non Disclosure Agreements

Apr 15, 2021 |

The appeals decisions would be a major obstacle to the First Amendment if the Trump administration tried to impose a confidentiality agreement that prevents former White House officials from disclosing unclassified information. A few weeks after his election as president of the United States, Donald Trump decided that he would require his White House aides to sign confidentiality agreements (also known as NDAs), as requested by Trump employees and Trump women. Although Trump was informed that NDAs could not be taxed for federal employees, White House counselor Don McGahn designed a watered-down version. Rumor has it that the NDAs would cover Trump`s aides not only during their white house service, but also “at any time after.” For example, when Cliff Sims, the former white House director of information strategy, wrote a book called “Team of Vipers,” Trump tweeted that Sims was “a low-level collaborator” who had “signed a confidentiality agreement.” It`s a mess! Blair said she didn`t have an N.A. that existed between Trump and his close family – including those who work for the Trump Organization – but they “may assume” they were included in divorce settlements with his ex-wives. Marcus spoke with lawyer Debra Katz, who represented many government whistleblowers and negotiated confidentiality agreements that Trump`s NDAs called “crazy.” When former campaign agent and communications adviser Cliff Sims` book “Team of Vipers” was released this week at the White House, Trump tweeted that his former aide was a “chorus kid” and “nothing but a Gofer,” adding that he had signed a confidentiality agreement. It was just the latest in a series of years in which Trump was referring to confidentiality agreements signed by his former campaign agents and aides, or his lawyers let sue. Historians say previous presidents have not threatened to impose NDAs on former West Wing employees who technically work for the U.S. government. It is not clear whether the White House NDAs are legally applicable.

(Reuters) – In a provocative column Sunday night, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was forcing senior White House officials to sign agreements prohibiting them from disclosing confidential information about their work, not only during their tenure, but also after they left the White House. Annoyed by a book, President Donald Trump again threatened a former aide by signing a confidentiality agreement, an unprecedented move according to historians.

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