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Photo: Screenshot from Simon & Schuster

In his first public comments on the matter, President Trump told Axios that his niece, Mary Trump, is "not allowed" to write her forthcoming book about him because doing so would violate a nondisclosure agreement she signed.

Driving the news: "She's not allowed to write a book," Trump told me. "You know, when we settled with her and her brother, who I do have a good relationship with — she's got a brother, Fred, who I do have a good relationship with, but when we settled, she has a total ... signed a nondisclosure."

  • Trump said his niece's nondisclosure agreement with him was a "very powerful one. ... It covers everything."

Between the lines: Trump's comments to Axios confirm a Daily Beast story from last week, which broke the news of the NDA.

  • The Beast reported: "Mary Trump signed an NDA following a 2001 settlement after litigation disputing Fred Trump’s estate, according to people familiar with the matter. That NDA states she is not allowed to publish anything regarding the litigation or her relationship with Donald, Maryanne, and Robert."
  • "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" is slated to be published on July 28. Late on Monday night, following The Daily Beast's story, the publisher of Mary Trump's book, Simon & Schuster, posted the book on Amazon, where it quickly soared up the charts with pre-sale orders.
  • "In the book, Mary Trump is not only expected to discuss difficult internal family dynamics and offer revelations about a younger Donald Trump; she is also expected to out herself as a primary source behind a Pulitzer-winning New York Times investigation into her uncle's taxes," per The Daily Beast.

Trump suggested to Axios that he and some members of his family were blindsided by the news of the book.

  • "I have a brother, Robert, very good guy, and he's — he's very angry about it," the president said. "But she signed a nondisclosure agreement and she's obviously not honoring it if she writes a book. It's too bad."
  • "I have a good relationship with [Mary Trump's] brother. I actually had him — he was in here. He was sitting right in the seat where you are last week, unrelated to that. I didn't even know — maybe two weeks ago. I didn't even know about a book coming out until just the other day."

I asked the president about his niece's allegation that he "dismissed and derided" his father when he began to succumb to Alzheimer's.

  • "It's totally false; the opposite," Trump said. "Actually, the opposite. I always had a great relationship. I didn't know that she said that. That's a disgraceful thing to say."

Mary Trump did not respond to requests for comment. Simon & Schuster's director of publicity, Julia Prosser, declined to comment.

Go deeper

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."

COVID created an epic U.S. trade gap

Chart: Axios Visuals. Data: Census Bureau/Bureau of Economic Analysis

The details of the blockbuster fourth quarter GDP report released Thursday morning tell a vivid story of how the underpinnings of the world economy have been reshaped by the pandemic.

One example: In the arithmetic around U.S. economic output, trade acted as a more severe drag last year than it has in a generation.

Updated 1 hour ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.