In today's edition of They're Using My Tax Dollars For What Now!, the Daily Beast is reporting that the Justice Department tried to intimidate Melania's former BFF Stephanie Winston Wolkoff into stopping her from publishing a book about her friendship with the First Lady. Because what is the Justice Department's Civil Division for if not to save Her Contouredness from embarrassment, right?

On July 8, the day after the Beast broke the news that Wolkoff's book release was imminent, she got a nastygram from Trump's longtime personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz informing her that she was in violation of a gratuitous services agreement signed when she began "working" at the White House. A gratuitous services agreement is a labor contract where the "employee" is actually a volunteer, donating her time gratis. Because when Wolkoff closed down her event planning business to go work in the White House, she did it for free.

Whether this is because the First Daughter was hogging all the "First Family" budget is unclear. It's also unclear how the Trump family would have standing to enforce a contract between Wolkoff and the federal government. But it's certainly on brand for the Trump family to get shit for nothing, then turn around and kick the poor chumps who were stupid enough to give it to them.

In her book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With The First Lady, Wolkoff paints a damning portrait of the Trump family deliberately hanging her out to dry when the eleventy investigations into financial improprieties at the Trump inauguration became public in February of 2018. She left the White House that month, and according to the Beast, her gratuitous services agreement expired after two years, leaving her free to speak her piece in 2020. And unlike John Bolton, she had no security clearance, so she doesn't have to get a permission slip from the government.

Which didn't stop Bill Barr's henchmen from tryin' it. The week after she got whizzed on by Kasowitz, the acting head of the Justice Department's Civil Division sent her a letter of his own.

"If these reports are true, the book appears to contain government information that Ms. Wolkoff expressly promised to not disclose. Please confirm immediately, but no later than July 17, that Ms. Wolkoff's book will not contain any information covered by the agreement. If you are unable to do so, the government will pursue all available legal remedies," wrote Ethan Davis, who replaced longtime Civil Division attorney Jody Hunt this summer when Attorney General Bill Barr went off the rails and a whole spate of experienced DOJ hands started rushing the exits.

Hey, remember when Barr tried to get SDNY head Geoffrey Berman out of the way by offering to let him lead the Civil Division? Good times! In the event, Davis himself wasn't long in the job, leaving the Department entirely on September 7. But before he left, he did Trump a favor, though, and tried to wield the power of the federal government to get a book about the First Lady killed. Career high, dude!

But like everything else Trump moved on like a bitch, he just couldn't get there. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff's book is out. Mary Trump's book is out. Michael Cohen's book is out. John Bolton's book is out. And the White House leaks like a bloody sieve, and Trump can't scratch his saggy balls without 10 reporters getting a text about it. Sad!

Anyway, enjoy this video of Wolkoff 'splaining to Rachel Maddow that she's got tapes, and "the last thing they should be doing is come after me."

Take 'em down, Ma'am.

[Beast]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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