Ex-White House aide sues Trump over non-disclosure agreements


A former White House aide is suing U.S. President Donald Trump and arguing the government is trying to illegally penalize him after he wrote a book that portrayed an unflattering picture of life in the West Wing.

At issue is whether using Trump's campaign organization (a nongovernment organization) in place of Trump (a government official) to punish Sims is a tactical ploy created to skirt Sims' First Amendment rights.

The chief operating officer of the Trump campaign tweeted in late January that it was "preparing to file suit against Cliff Sims for violating our NDA".

This story is still developing.

Sims accuses Trump of selectively enforcing the nondisclosure agreements, highlighting that he did not target other former campaign and administration staffers who wrote books about their time in Trump's orbit - including former press secretary Sean Spicer and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. A Trump campaign spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

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"Upon information and belief", the suit claims, "President Trump is directing, authorizing and/or otherwise approving substantive decisions of the Trump Campaign that are governmental in nature and for the purposes of concealing [Trump's] involvement in order to silence Mr. Sims in a manner that would otherwise be unavailable under existing First Amendment case law".

Cliff Sims, the author of "Team of Vipers", sued the president after the campaign filed an arbitration complaint against him over the publication of his book, according to The New York Times. In the following days, the Trump campaign announced that it had begun arbitration proceedings against Sims.

"He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer", Trump said in the tweet.

Now, a little more than two years afger signing on with the president, Sims believes he is the target of USA government "subterfuge" aimed at "silencing" White House critics. "He signed a non-disclosure agreement". He said in the lawsuit that he does not recall if he also signed a non-disclosure agreement when he was hired to serve in the White House as a special assistant to the president.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Sims has a right to disclose non-classified information from his stint on Trump's White House team.