It is no shock to most people that Mr. Trump is facing a mountain of legal trouble right now. Trump’s inaugural committee was just subpoenaed less than a week ago, and asked for information about its donors, including details about donations from foreigners.
On Monday, it was reported that he is facing another lawsuit from former White House communications aide Cliff Sims. According to The New York Times:
‘Cliff Sims, the former White House communications aide who wrote an insider account of life working for President Trump, is suing the president in his official capacity, alleging that he used his campaign organization as a “cutout” to improperly seek retribution against former employees and keep them from invoking their First Amendment rights.’
From the beginning of the Trump administration, Sims was a White House aide. However, it was the campaign organization that filed an arbitration claim against him last week. The claim accused him violating the nondisclosure agreement he signed with it during the 2016 presidential race with the publication of his book, “Team of Vipers,” last month.
It is fairly common for staff to sign those agreements at the beginning of a working relationship with the president, but they are also seen as likely unenforceable. Mr. Sims claims that he doesn’t remember whether he signed one when he began his work in the White House.
The Times reported:
‘Mr. Sims’s lawsuit alleges that Mr. Trump “is seeking to impose civil liability against Mr. Sims through application of NDAs that apply to information Mr. Sims learned solely during his federal service.”’
Trump became increasingly angry about “Team of Vipers,” which exposed the chaos going on in the White House and included unflattering information about the president.
At one point, Trump tweeted:
‘A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer.’
The lawsuit also notes that the president has not enforced nondisclosure agreements equally, only doing so when he found the content of a book objectionable or infuriating. Trump attempted to enforce the agreement against Omarosa Manigault Newman, but not against Sean Spicer, Corey Lewandowski, or David Bossie, who all wrote books that he did not find objectionable.
According to The Times:
‘The suit says Mr. Trump has made clear in his public comments that he has a “disdain of so-called “tell-all books” written by former federal officials and his desire to apply NDAs to those who serve in the White House.”’
The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Washington on Monday by attorney Mark Zaid who is experienced in legal fights with the federal government.
The suit states:
“The Trump campaign’s demand for arbitration is nothing but a subterfuge for the actions of the” federal government, the suit alleges, and was “undertaken under express authorization and instruction, and certainly with the blessing of, President Trump.”
‘These actions sufficiently and constructively qualify as state action for purposes of First Amendment jurisdictional authority.’
It continues saying that the government has:
‘infringed upon Mr. Sims’s First Amendment rights as a former federal employee and acted contrary to the interests of public policy.’
Mr. Sim’s publishing house, St. Martin’s Press also supported the lawsuit with a statement:
‘When presidents or their political campaigns seek to silence a voice, it is especially important that we maintain our steadfast commitment to free speech.
‘Recent attempts to selectively prevent former government employees from speaking and writing about their experience as public servants call for our scrutiny, and illustrate how essential the First Amendment is to the preservation of democracy.’
Here are a few comments from Twitter:
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