Trump is reportedly using nondisclosure agreements to stop staffers from speaking out


A prominent Washington, D.C., attorney said his law firm will represent, pro bono, anyone who wants to challenge the draconian nondisclosure agreements President Donald Trump reportedly demanded early past year from his senior White House officials.

Gidley explained that while NDA's were "commonplace and common practice for previous administrations", Trump's senior staff wasn't made to sign one as described in a Washington Post report on Sunday.

A draft copy of the agreement would have subjected violators to a $10 million penalty for each instance, payable to the US Treasury, according to Ruth Marcus, the Post's deputy editorial page editor.

The nondisclosure agreements, said a person who signed the document, "were meant to be very similar to the ones that some of us signed during the campaign and during the transition".

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Some balked at first but, pressed by then-chief of staff Reince Priebus and the White House Counsel's Office, ultimately complied, concluding that the agreements would likely not be enforceable in any event.

"I think they should", Trump said in April 2016, when asked if he would make federal employees sign NDAs.

Last week, Donald Trump Jr. and his wife of 12 years, Vanessa, announced they were headed toward divorce. "I remember the president saying, 'Has everybody signed a confidentiality agreement like they did during the campaign or we had at Trump Tower?'" 'I can tell you that the report was completely false'.

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Although the White House did not respond to the Post's requests for comment, Trump expressed support for making federal employees sign nondisclosure agreements prior to his election.

The draft also banned 'the publication of works of fiction that contain any mention of the operations of the White House, federal agencies, foreign governments, or other entities interacting with the United States Government that is based on confidential information'.

Several free speech and civil rights experts besides Zaid said the agreement is unconstitutional, and therefore unenforceable. If you have a leaker on your staff, the cure is firing, not suing. He said their attempts to move the case from the state court in Los Angeles where Daniels filed her claim to a federal court is because it would increase the chances that the matter will be decided in private arbitration, "thus hiding the truth from the public".

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