As readers may recall, we previously wrote about the confidentiality agreement imposed by then-candidate Donald Trump upon those who worked in his campaign. In that agreement, the workers literally were required to consider, as the definition of “confidential,” anything that Donald Trump determined, in his sole discretion, to be confidential.
Now, he is President, and he apparently thinks that’s still true (presumably without doubting whether it was true before he was President). Trump seems to see his view of confidentiality (and non-disparagement) is enforceable upon any and all U.S. government employees — including ex-FBI Director James Comey, who did not sign any such confidentiality agreement, nor could be compelled to do so. Apparently, that’s why he threatened to bring a lawsuit against the former FBI director on the basis of “leaking.”
The subject of such leaks? Memos that Comey himself wrote. (Don’t get me wrong: this does not make James Comey into some kind of hero-whistleblower. After all, he also “leaked” to the public that the FBI was investigating “more emails” of Hillary Clinton, days before the election, which announcement arguably contributed to Trump’s winning the election.)
Other people who are more steeped in criminal justice and in federal government workings have already commented on the impropriety if not implausibility of any such lawsuit against Comey — but I think the situation is sufficiently noteworthy to merit my two-cent contribution. I’m just observing (but not surprised) that Trump apparently thinks that policies he was able to impose in private life, by sheer force and economic advantage, are also his entitlement in public life, as the President of the United States.
Mark S. Kaufman
Kaufman & Kahn
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