Since at least 1985 there has been a federal regulation that prohibits government employees from publicly discussing in any manner jobs report numbers before they are released. It’s in place to ensure manipulation of the markets does not take place, and to ensure the perception of integrity of federal agencies.
Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2018
It’s not the first time the Trump administration has violated this federal law, which was, as ThinkProgress points to, was published in the federal register decades ago. It reads in part, “employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time.” The numbers are closely guarded and released at 8:30 AM.
The White House immediately rushed to defend Trump’s actions.
BREAKING: White House Press Sec. tells CNBC that President Trump was briefed on the jobs report last night & it was appropriate to tweet that he was ‘looking forward’ to the report this morning because he didn’t put the numbers out early https://t.co/4LLtae6nUY pic.twitter.com/JGSSJgZBdl
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) June 1, 2018
Larry Kudlow, the president’s director of the National Economic Council, admits he shared the good news with Trump Thursday evening – which is entirely legal and customary.
But sharing them with your pals before they are released isn’t, as one writer for The New York wonders about:
The President, typically, is briefed on the jobs numbers on Thursday afternoon. The public learns them Friday morning.
— Adam Davidson (@adamdavidson) June 1, 2018
CNBC’s John Harwood wondered aloud as well:
speaking of which, interesting to know whether Trump shared them with Hannity last night https://t.co/M3DmrkEkLO
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) June 1, 2018
And if you’re wondering if Trump’s tweet had any impact on the markets, here’s what Bloomberg Business reporter Lisa Abramowicz has to say:
This is…unusual. Trump tweeted about jobs day at 7:21am EST, suggesting he knew the numbers would be surprisingly good. https://t.co/k35UPSEPI6 That’s how the market took it anyway, with U.S. yields taking a leg higher right after. Raises a lot of questions. pic.twitter.com/TcN9oLNYqU
— Lisa Abramowicz (@lisaabramowicz1) June 1, 2018
Many economics experts are making clear Trump’s tweet was likely an illegal act in violation of federal regulations.
The former Chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee suggests Trump broke the law:
If the president just tipped that the numbers are good, he broke the law https://t.co/8MDJZAS22j
— Austan Goolsbee (@Austan_Goolsbee) June 1, 2018
Former White House aide and CNN political contributor Keith Boykin:
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 1, 2018
Elizabeth C. McLaughlin, whose bio describes her in part as “a fifteen year career as a full-time Wall Street securities litigator and trial lawyer,” says it’s “Wildly illegal”:
Wildly illegal. I’m a former securities fraud litigator. The SEC will doubtless be looking at the trades that resulted immediately after this. https://t.co/RaxhgedAww
— ElizabethCMcLaughlin (@ECMcLaughlin) June 1, 2018
Former Secretary of the Treasury and former Director of the National Economic Council (the position now held by Larry Kudlow), Lawrence Summers:
If during the Clinton or Obama Administrations there had been a statement from @POTUS or anyone senior official in the morning before the Employment Report it would have been a major scandal—with all sorts of investigations following on.
— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) June 1, 2018
New York University Stern School of Business professor on what Summers said:
Agreed. Trump tipped off some investors an hour before the most closely held economic report, the employment report https://t.co/Ls6r0Bj8C5
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) June 1, 2018
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Trump Taunts Dems Amid Reports of Upcoming Biden Impeachment Inquiry
Former President Donald Trump taunted Democrats amid reports that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working to start the impeachment process against President Joe Biden next month.
“These Indictments and lawsuits are all part of my political opponents campaign plan. It is Election Interference, and they are going to use the DOJ/FBI to help them, which is illegal. Crooked Joe pushed this litigation hard to get it done. This is a new low in Presidential Politics. To the Democrats, I say, ‘be careful what you wish for,'” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
On Monday, CNN reported that McCarthy privately told some of his fellow Republicans that his plan is to start the Biden impeachment process in late September, according to unnamed GOP sources.
Pro-impeachment Republicans accuse Biden of using his status during his vice presidency to help his son Hunter Biden. The GOP alleged that Joe Biden profited from his son’s business dealings and that his administration has interfered in Hunter Biden’s criminal case. None of these allegations have been proven, and Joe Biden denies them.
Many House Republicans have threatened to start the impeachment process throughout Biden’s term. The threat of a Biden impeachment trial started even before his presidential inauguration. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) submitted an impeachment resolution on Biden’s first full day in office. Far-right Republicans have filed nine impeachment resolutions, with Greene filing over half; none have been successful.
Though McCarthy initially shut down impeachment attempts, this July he told Fox News host Sean Hannity the House’s investigations into Biden are “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry.”
There are questions as to whether opening an impeachment inquiry would require a floor vote, CNN reports. If McCarthy can avoid a floor vote, that would allow moderate GOP candidates to remain silent and avoid angering their constituents.
An impeachment inquiry provides the House with more power to investigate a president of potential wrongdoing. It’s not a necessary step in impeaching a president, and impeachment resolutions can be filed without an inquiry, for any reason. In Biden’s case, the filed resolutions have normally failed to make it out of committee, and those that made it to the House floor were voted down. Trump’s first impeachment was the result of an inquiry; his second, related to the events of January 6, 2021, however, was not.
Trump is facing a number of indictments over the 2020 election, but his poll numbers remain strong. Even in Georgia, where a grand jury indicted the former president earlier this month, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Tuesday shows Trump with a 42-point lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the second-place candidate.
Bill Barr Calls Trump Documents Case ‘Brazen Criminal Conduct’
Former Attorney General Bill Barr is going hard against his former boss in a new op-ed published Monday, calling former President Donald Trump’s alleged actions in the documents case “brazen criminal conduct.”
Writing for The Free Press, Barr starts out sympathetic, agreeing with the former president that “Trump has been the victim of witch hunts by obsessive enemies willing to do anything to bring him down,” but then admits “The effort to present Trump as a victim in the Mar-a-Lago document affair is cynical political propaganda.”
Barr lays out the case against the former president. He says the National Archives and Department of Justice tried to let Trump quietly return the documents—similar to what happened when former Vice President Mike Pence and President Joe Biden were discovered to have classified documents at home—but he refused.
“Why would Trump risk the safety of the American people by hanging on to these documents in the face of the government’s lawful demands for their return? As trophies? Because he thought it was a fun party trick?” Barr wrote. “Or simply because he thought he could get away with it? Knowing him, it was an act of self-assertion merely to gratify his ego.”
Barr’s piece debunks arguments from apologists before coming to the conclusion that it appears as though Trump indeed committed obstruction of justice.
“If true—and many key facts come from Trump’s own lawyer—this was brazen criminal conduct that cannot be justified in any way,” he wrote.
However, Barr again stops short of recommending prison time. On Sunday, Barr appeared on Face the Nation, saying if Trump is convicted, “I don’t like the idea of a former president serving time in prison.”
In the op-ed, Barr declines to state what an appropriate punishment should be. Initially, he says that “sensible Republicans” don’t defend Trump, but point to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facing no charges over her email scandal in 2016. But Barr debunks this argument as well.
“But if Trump engaged in the kind of brazen criminal conduct alleged, then applying the law in his case is not unfair to him. The injustice lies in not having applied it seven years ago to Hillary,” he wrote. “Even if you buy the double standard argument, at most it justifies not holding Trump accountable criminally.”
“It is one thing to argue that Trump should not face criminal liability. Fine. But the next obvious question is whether, given his conduct, the GOP should continue to promote him for the highest office in the land,” Barr wrote.
Though Barr neglects to say what he thinks an appropriate punishment for Trump would be should he be found guilty, based on the maximum sentences attached to the statutes he allegedly violated, Trump could get 20 years for conspiracy to obstruct justice, and 10 years for violating the Espionage Act, according to Al Jazeera. That said, it is unlikely for Trump to get the maximum sentence as, in addition to being the former president, he’s also a first-time federal offender, as the outlet points out.
Elie Honig, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN that if Trump is convicted, that while it’s likely he would get some prison time, a sentence of eight to 12 years would be more likely—and even then, it may not be that much.
“Even if the judge goes below that eight to 12 year range, it’s hard for me to see a judge going down to probation, to no sentence,” Honig said.
Trump Swipes at Mark Zuckerberg Asking for White House Goodies: ‘He Didn’t Do Too Well’
Former President Donald J. Trump mocked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and “big tech” during an interview on Tuesday when he appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity.
Trump meandered throughout the interview and went off on a tangent claiming he did “big things” when discussing the 2020 election. Trump said Zuckerberg visited the White House “trying to get goodies,” but that “he didn’t do too well.”
Trump added, “So I thought that he was concerned we were doing things. We were doing things. Had we had a second term, we would have had that much, really, pretty much under control. We had some incredible things planned for big tech.”
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