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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

Democrats demand Trump release his tax returns after NYT report

Compilation images of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats called on President Trump to disclose his tax returns following a New York Times report alleging he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing in 10 of the past 15 years.

Details: Trump said the report was "total fake news," that he's unable to release the returns as they're "under audit" by the IRS, "which does not treat me well." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement the report "provides further evidence of the clear need" for a House lawsuit to access the tax returns and "ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence."

Sep 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democrats on Trump tax story: "This is a national security question"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the New York Times report that President Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due within the next four years is a "national security question," and that the public has a "right to know" the details of his financial obligations.

The big picture: Democrats have already leapt on the Times' bombshell, which Trump has dismissed as "total fake news," to attack the president for allegedly paying less in federal income taxes than the average middle-class household.

Statue of KKK leader removed from side of Tennessee highway

Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participate in Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, was removed Tuesday from the side of a highway in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why it matters: The move to take down the 25-foot statue comes amid renewed scrutiny of Confederate memorials. Dozens of Confederate symbols have been removed, relocated or renamed since George Floyd's death last year.