March 19, 2018

Of course that's why Scaramucci and Spicer and the rest of them haven't run out of the White House into a yuuge book deal: Trump made them sign non-disclosure agreements. Ruth Marcus outlines this story in a Washington Post op-ed:

In the early months of the administration, at the behest of now-President Trump, who was furious over leaks from within the White House, senior White House staff members were asked to, and did, sign nondisclosure agreements vowing not to reveal confidential information and exposing them to damages for any violation. 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...

Every president inveighs against leakers and bemoans the kiss-and-tell books; no president, to my knowledge, has attempted to impose such a pledge. And while White House staffers have various confidentiality obligations — maintaining the secrecy of classified information or attorney-client privilege, for instance — the notion of imposing a side agreement, supposedly enforceable even after the president leaves office, is not only oppressive but constitutionally repugnant...

This is so ridiculously excessive, so laughably unconstitutional, that I doubted, when it first came my way, that anything like it was ever implemented — only to do some reporting and learn otherwise.

And now those staffers who signed such an agreement will have access to pro-bono legal help from a lawyer who specializes in this: Newsweek reports that "Mark Zaid, who co-founded the nonprofit law firm Whistleblower Aid, announced via Twitter on Monday that his firm would represent any White House staffer who signed Trump's nondisclosure agreement."

Look Bill Kristol has questions! (Yeah those are the questions that once answered, will fry Trump's bacon.)

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