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Trump Called Him a 'Mess' After His Tell-All. Now, a Suit

Former White House aide Cliff Sims has filed complaint against president
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2019 7:10 PM CST
Cliff Sims, left, stands with Kellyanne Conway, center, and then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer on June 12, 2017, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – Trump called Cliff Sims a "mess" and a "gofer" when the latter's "boring" tell-all book about the White House dropped nearly two weeks ago. The president also mentioned the "non-disclosure agreement" Sims—who worked on the 2016 Trump campaign, and as a White House aide until May—had reportedly signed. The COO of Trump's re-election campaign also warned that the campaign was gearing up to file suit against Sims for violating that NDA. And an arbitration claim was indeed filed against Sims last week after his Team of Vipers published, per the New York Times, but now Sims is hitting back with his own complaint, alleging that the president is attempting to keep him and others from exercising their First Amendment rights.

Sims says in his lawsuit he doesn't even remember if he actually did sign a Trump NDA, and that other contracts signed by staffers seemed to be selectively enforced: He cites Trump going after Omarosa Manigault Newman after her tome peeved him, for example, yet looking the other way for more complimentary narratives that came from Sean Spicer and Corey Lewandowski. Sims' complaint notes that via this NDA route, Trump can seek retribution in ways he normally wouldn't be able to as a public servant. The government, "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," the suit claims, per the Washington Post. No word from the White House yet on Sims' complaint. (Read more lawsuit stories.)

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