President Trump might want to think long and hard the next time he feels inclined to delete a tweet — because he might be breaking the law.
On Wednesday, two members of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn saying they were concerned about the possibility of Trump violating the Presidential Records Act if he deletes a post that is not archived. The authors of the letter were committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
"Many of the messages sent from these accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved," the letter read, referring to Trump’s use of both his personal @realDonaldTrump account and his official @POTUS account. "It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets were not archived, it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act."
For a long time, Trump has been in the habit of deleting tweets, particularly if they contain spelling errors (and they frequently do).
It took Trump and his team 87 minutes to fix the word "unpresidented." pic.twitter.com/Bz7NxSqwlo— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 17, 2016
The fact that he's now president of the United States doesn't seem to have deterred him from engaging in this practice. And while the congressmen's letter was sent on March 8, 2017, it's not the first time there has been speculation over whether Trump deleting tweets without preserving a record could violate the law.
Trump spelled "hereby" wrong. Took two minutes to correct it. Got it wrong again. Let's see if third time's the charm... pic.twitter.com/UajEXbxc1C— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) March 3, 2017
Chaffetz and Cummings also expressed concern over reports that some members of the Trump administration have used apps like Signal and Confide to communicate. These apps send encrypted messages, which are sometimes automatically deleted once they’re received.
“The need for data security...does not justify circumventing requirements established by federal recordkeeping and transparency laws,” reads the letter.
President Trump has yet to acknowledge or respond to Chaffetz and Cummings. But something tells us we haven't seen the last of a deleted, non-archived tweet from @POTUS.
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