Congress warns Trump to stop deleting his tweets
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 10, 2017,
Mar 10, 2017, 18:45
Trump sometimes deletes tweets due to spelling errors. "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", the letter stated.
Under the act of Congress, all official records of presidents and vice presidents must be preserved. The law says that the President can dispose of records that "no longer have administrative, historical, informational, or evidentiary value", but only after consulting with the Archivist of the United States.
Observers have noted that at least one recent tweet contains factual inaccuracies; this claim from the Oversight Committee may mean that Trump could not legally delete even false tweets, though he could correct them in follow-up tweets.
In letters to the White House and to the agencies, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) raised questions about reports that federal employees - and White House staff - may be circumventing federal laws by using unofficial electronic communications, such as private e-mail and encrypted messaging apps. The letter mentioned that when Barack Obama was President, his administration utilized an auto-archiving method for accounts.
The lawmakers also referenced the use by federal employees of encrypted chat apps "that could result in the creation of presidential or federal records that would be unlikely or impossible to preserve", mentioning Confide, Signal and WhatsApp.
The administration will also have to hand over a copy of its written policy advising on compliance with the record keeping acts.
Chaffetz and Cummings suggested that they may consider updating the laws to reflect "trends in federal employees' use of technology".
The White House did not respond to request for comment.
They call on the White House to provide the committee with information about the Trump administration's archiving systems and training.
In a letter addressed to the president's counsel, Chaffetz and Cummings expressed the committees concerns about the president's tweets - in particular, the several that he has tweeted since becoming president.