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Senators accuse Trump of promoting "culture of fear" among federal employees

WASHINGTON -- A dozen senators have sent a letter to President Donald Trump accusing him of promoting a “culture of fear among federal employees” that may prevent workers from completing their mission to openly serve the American public.

The senators wrote in the letter that they are “gravely troubled” by reports about a directive to all federal agencies to silence communications with the public and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“The American people expect an open, transparent and honest government, and your actions are not only contrary to that expectation, they promote a long lasting culture of fear among federal employees and prevent them from following their mission to openly serve the American public,” the letter says.

“Given your commitment to the rule of law and peaceful transition of power, we respectfully ask that you immediately reverse course and ensure that the dedicated federal civil servants of this country receive the respect they deserve and are immediately made aware of their clear protections under the law,” the letter continues.

Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and other senators decried media reports that the new Trump administration has imposed a communications blackout on a number of federal agencies. Emails to federal staffers have banned press releases, blog updates or posts to agencies’ social media accounts.

The letter says the American people expect an open, transparent and honest government, and says Mr. Trump’s actions “are not only contrary to that expectation, they promote a long-lasting culture of fear among federal employees.”

The letter is signed by 11 Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.