The White House batted down a claim made by a Washington Post columnist that President Trump had ordered his senior staff to sign $10 million non-disclosure agreements.
‘I saw the report over the weekend,’ said Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley on board Air Force One Monday. ‘I can tell you that the report was completely false.’
Giving himself a little bit of wiggle room, Gidley made a comment that suggested it was the dollar amount that the Post quoted that made the story, in the White House’s eyes, factually inaccurate.
‘While non-disclosure agreements are common-place and common practice for previous administrations, I can say that the report that staff were required or asked to sign $10 million non-disclosure agreements is not true,’ the spokesman said.
Beyond that, the Trump spokesman said, he couldn’t give details on personnel matter.
A spokesman for President Trump (left), seen with first lady Melania Trump (right) leaving for Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday, said a report in the Washington Post is ‘absolutely false’ that the president made senior staff sign non-disclosure agreements
When asked if he, personally, had signed a NDA to work in the administration, the aide said no.
Stormy Daniels reportedly violated a non-disclosure agreement no less than 20 times
‘I’ve never seen one, I’ve never been aske dot sign one and I’ve never signed one,’ Gidley said.
The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus, writing for the opinion section, said that senior White House officials were asked to, and did, sign nondisclosure agreements where they said they wouldn’t reveal confidential information, and if they did, would face financial damages.
‘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,’ Marcus wrote.
A source told the columnist: ‘I remember the president saying, “Has everybody signed a confidentiality agreement like they did during the campaign or we had at Trump Tower?”‘
Marcus said she laid eyes on a draft copy of the agreement, calling it a ‘doozy.’
The draft she saw would expose violators to a $10 million fine, which would be payable to the federal government, each time the individual revealed ‘confidential’ information, which included ‘communications … with members of the press’ and ‘with employees of federal, state and local governments.’
The columnist said other sources told her that $10 million fine was increased in the final versions, as they don’t remember it being quite that large a sum.
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.’
Legal experts have questioned whether such an agreement is legal for a high-ranking government employee given constitutional free-speech protections.
Stormy Daniels shot to public attention in recent months after claiming she had an affair with the President and was secretly paid to keep quiet about it.
Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen said he has the right to seek at least $20 million in damages from the porn star.
Daniels’ attorney has argued the NDA isn’t enforceable because one of the parties, President Trump, never actually signed it.
Cohen claims she has violated a non-disclosure agreement no less than 20 times.
He intends to force the dispute with Daniels into private arbitration, according to a federal court filing made Friday.