Seven legal questions about Trump deleting his tweets

Columbia Journalism Review

Donald Trump again scrubbed his Twitter account this week, deleting tweets supporting defeated Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange. The president isn’t fooling anyone: Countless online observers, from ProPublica to an army of Twitter bots, had already scooped up the tweets and preserved them for posterity.

But beyond the dubious public-relations value of deleting tweets, the move has reopened a legal debate the media has variously called “intriguing,” “heated,” and “ambiguous.” So does Trump have the right to hit the delete button?

That’s not to say everyone thinks tweets always fall in the purview of the PRA. In an email to CJR, Corey Goldstone, a spokesman for the Campaign Legal Center, says the law “was designed to reduce secrecy, but in this case, President Trump’s position on the Alabama Senate race was publicly reported and in no way a secret.” But according to the letter of the law, it seems far more likely than not that tweets do count as presidential records.

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