×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Former White House Staffer Cliff Sims Says He’s Defending First Amendment in Lawsuit Against Trump

WASHINGTON — Cliff Sims, a former White House communications staffer who wrote the recent tell-all about his tenure called “Team of Vipers,” defended a lawsuit he filed against President Donald Trump as a way to defend his “First Amendment right to tell the truth.”

He filed a lawsuit in federal court, challenging the Trump campaign’s effort to enforce a non-disclosure agreement over information he learned as a federal employee. His lawsuit claims such details are protected by the First Amendment and cites court precedent.

His book, which is now No. 3 on the New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller list, describes the chaotic nature of the White House, although perhaps not in as scathing terms as other tell-alls.

Appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” Sims said he was “backed into a corner” by the Trump campaign’s effort to impose the NDA on those who serve in the White House. The lawsuit claims such actions “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.”

“To permit this circumvention of decades of judicial and institutional precedent regarding the First Amendment rights of former federal employees would chill free speech and impermissibly censor the disclosure of information of public interest regarding the actions of the” U.S. government, the lawsuit states.

Sims was hired by the Trump campaign in September 2016, and signed a non-disclosure agreement that bars talking about “confidential” information and making disparaging remarks about the Trump campaign, Trump, and his family. 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.

Trump bashed Sims’ book in a Jan. 29 tweet, writing, “A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!”

Michael Glassner, the chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, later wrote that they were preparing to file suit against Sims for violating the NDA. According to Sims’ lawsuit, the campaign later filed a demand for arbitration that seeks monetary damages, the return of materials from his tenure, and from making “disparaging statements” or “commenting further regarding ‘confidential’ information derived from his time in the White House.”

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Sims has a right to disclose non-classified information from his stint on Trump’s White House team. A Trump campaign spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

More Politics

  • 60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan takes

    Lara Logan Says She's Been 'Targeted' for Her Claims of Liberal Media Bias

    Former CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan appeared on “Hannity” Wednesday evening to expand on her recent remarks characterizing the media as “mostly liberal.” “It’s obvious, right, because you get targeted,” she said, explaining her earlier comments that she was committing “professional suicide” by criticizing the media. “It’s the same group of people, they’re already [...]

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Seeks 'Both Sides' Balance but Spurs Criticism From All Sides (Analysis)

    In a time when news viewers are splintering around partisan leanings, CNN is proving to be a uniter, not a divider: people from both sides of the political aisle are eager to criticize its business decisions and news coverage. The one-time plain vanilla network can’t win for losing as it tries to achieve an elusive [...]

  • J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrathVanity Fair

    J.J. Abrams, Katie McGrath to Host Fundraiser for Kamala Harris

    UPDATED Kamala Harris, continuing to draw support from high-profile Hollywood donors, will headline a fundraiser in Los Angeles next month at the Pacific Palisades home of J.J. Abrams and his wife, producer Katie McGrath. The March 20 event, an evening reception, is priced at $2,800 per person, with those who write and raise $10,000 listed [...]

  • Roger Stone, longtime advisor to President

    Judge Orders New Hearing With Roger Stone After Instagram Post

    WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ordered a hearing for Thursday to consider whether to modify her limited gag order on Roger Stone, or to even revoke the the conditions of his release, in light of his Instagram post in that featured a photo of her with the symbol of a rifle [...]

  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), speaks during

    Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Presidential Run

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced he would again run for president, promising in an interview Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” that that “we’re gonna win.” Sanders aggressively challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016, and his focus on economic populism has helped shift the party leftward, as is evident as the field of [...]

  • Donald Trump

    Trump Rails Against 'SNL,' Again, And Suggests 'Retribution' for NBC

    WASHINGTON — President Trump once again took aim at “Saturday Night Live,” suggesting that there should be a price to pay by TV networks for delivering such scathing satire. “Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content