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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Trump White House Makes Interns Sign NDAs

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's management style.   The update  -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Asawin Suebsaeng at The Daily Beast:
When the Trump White House welcomed its newest batch of interns earlier this year, the director of the internship program, Zoe Jackman, did what administration officials normally do when fresh blood arrives: She warned them against being “leakers.”
Soon enough, according to three sources familiar with the process, a representative from the White House counsel’s office materialized to greet the newcomers, and to demand what the Trump White House has required of so many other interns and senior officials.
Upon orientation, the interns signed their very own non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), with the envoy of the counsel’s office warning them that a breach of the NDA—blabbing to the media, for instance—could result in legal, and thus financial, consequences for them. Interns were also told that they would not receive their own copies, these sources said.
This was all a standard facet of the Trump intern orientation process, billed as an “ethics training”—underscored by implicit legal threats from President Donald Trump’s in-house lawyers.
White House spokespeople and Jackman did not provide comment on the record for this story.
To veterans of other administrations, the act of compelling interns to sign these types of NDAs would seem odd, if not downright unenforceable or legally dubious. To this White House, it’s standard operating procedure.