Cliff Sims, the former White House aide whose tell-all book “Team of Vipers” earned the President’s ire and an arbitration claim from his campaign, has sued Trump in his official capacity as president for allegedly ordering or otherwise approving of that claim, The New York Times first reported Monday.
In a copy of the suit posted online by BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman, Sims alleges that Trump, “for the first time ever through the use of private surrogates, is seeking to unconstitutionally censor and punish a former federal employee for disclosing unclassified information outlining what he saw and observed during his time in the White House.”
Sims says in the suit that he doesn’t recall whether he signed a White House NDA, though, regardless, such NDAs are widely seen as unenforceable.
But Sims did sign an NDA for his work on the Trump campaign. That campaign NDA, he argues, is being used in an unconstitutional attempt to silence his reflections about working in the White House.
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.” That tweet, the suit argues, was not “a matter of coincidence.”
“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.”
Attorney Mark Zaid tweeted that his firm was representing Sims pro bono, adding that the suit was an effort “to ensure no Presidential Administration, whether GOP or DEM, can silence former federal employees from discussing unclassified aspects of their public service.”