Donald Trump seems to believe he’s above our laws and our Constitution. As “president” he’s made it perfectly clear that he feels Congress, our judiciary, the media, the Department of Justice, and even the FBI works for him — not the American people.
That’s not at all surprising considering Trump’s obvious affinity for authoritarian-type leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin who unilaterally wield power without any real “checks and balances” from anywhere in the government.
Trump seems to believe he should be allowed to run the government like he does his private business. Except, of course, that’s not how this works — that’s now how any of this works.
Case in point, a new report from The Washington Post indicating, following a slew of leaks early on into his “presidency,” Trump forced staffers to sign non-disclosure agreements barring them from discussing anything they saw or heard while working for his administration:
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.
Moreover, said the source, this confidentiality pledge would extend not only after an aide’s White House service but also beyond the Trump presidency. “It’s not meant to be constrained by the four years or eight years he’s president — or the four months or eight months somebody works there. It is meant to survive that.”
Yeah — that’s not Constitutional.
As employees of the federal government, Trump cannot forbid people who work for his administration from exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech. Unlike when he ran his private company, thankfully, Trump doesn’t wield that kind of power, making these NDAs essentially meaningless.
According to the Washington Post report, violators of the NDA would face a $10 million fine, payable to the federal government, for any violation of their agreement.
You don’t need to be a legal or Constitutional expert to realize how absurd and unconstitutional this is.
So, what’s Trump going to do? Sue people who violate these NDAs, then have them write checks payable to “The Federal Government”?
While federal employees are obviously not allowed to discuss top secret or classified information publicly, they cannot legally be blocked from discussing what they see and hear during the day-to-day operations they witness as an employee of the federal government.
Yes, these folks might work (or have worked, considering the high rate of turnover we’ve seen) for this administration, but they’re not Trump’s “employees” — they work for the federal government.
This is nothing more than another attempt by Trump to intimidate and bully people like he’s done throughout his life.
Personally, I hope multiple people publicly speak out about what they’ve witnessed working for this circus of an administration and we see Trump try to sue them into silence. The embarrassment of Trump’s lawsuits being laughed out of court by judges who realize such an agreement is completely illegal is something I’d definitely love to see happen.
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