Yahoo News explains: Is Trump’s nondisclosure agreement enforceable?

Kate Murphy
Producer

This week, the Trump campaign filed a demand for arbitration accusing ex-White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman of violating a 2016 nondisclosure agreement.

While Manigault Newman’s nondisclosure agreement hasn’t been made public, her agreement may have been based on other NDAs signed by Trump campaign workers. Those NDAs barred the campaign worker from disclosing “confidential information” about then candidate Donald Trump. They also forbade unfavorable comments about Trump, saying, “During the term of your service and at all times thereafter you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the Company, Mr. Trump, any Trump company, any Family Member, or any Family Member Company.”

The Trump campaign says Manigault Newman breached the agreement when she wrote scathing comments about the president in her new book. She also revealed what she claims is a secretly recorded conversation of chief of staff John Kelly firing her in the White House Situation Room.

Trump followed up with a burst of angry tweets…




Is the president’s nondisclosure agreement enforceable? It depends.

When it comes to Manigault Newman’s time as a campaign staffer, her agreement was with the campaign — making it a private contract. But she transitioned from working for the Trump campaign to the White House, which means she was a government employee paid with public funds.

The Washington Post reports that many legal experts say the agreement should be treated as if it were made between Manigault Newman and the government. The Constitution doesn’t allow the government to curtail people’s right to free speech — meaning Trump wouldn’t be allowed to hinder her First Amendment right. Experts say there’s a strong case to be made for current White House employees not to be held to the NDAs Trump reportedly asked them to sign because of their First Amendment right as government employees.