- Senior White House staffers were pressured to sign nondisclosure agreements, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
- One draft NDA viewed by The Post said violators could face $US10 million penalties.
- The NDAs also applied to “all times” after President Donald Trump’s term in office.
President Donald Trump required senior White House staff members to sign nondisclosure agreements that not only threatened stiff financial penalties for violations but extended far beyond Trump’s time in office, the Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus reported on Sunday.
According to a draft agreement Marcus said she viewed, violators could face penalties of $US10 million for each unauthorised release of “confidential information,” though it’s possible the final NDAs reduced the penalty amount. The agreement applied not only to staffers’ White House tenures but “all times thereafter.”
Though some staffers initially resisted the agreements, they signed them after pressure from Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and the White House Counsel’s Office, The Post reported. The staffers also reportedly believed the NDAs most likely weren’t enforceable.
One person who signed an agreement said the NDAs were similar to those signed during Trump’s campaign.
“I remember the president saying, ‘Has everybody signed a confidentiality agreement like they did during the campaign or we had at Trump Tower?'” the person said.
The Post’s source said Trump made the comment around February or March of last year, when the White House was trying to tamp down on leaks.
“The president’s point,” the person said, was that staff members “would think twice about that if they were on the hook for some serious damages.”
Trump previously told The Post in a 2016 interview that he believed all high-level federal employees should sign NDAs.
“When people are chosen by a man to go into government at high levels and then they leave government and they write a book about a man and say a lot of things that were really guarded and personal, I don’t like that,” Trump said.