Trump tweet on jobs report may have breached a 1985 federal directive

U.S. President Donald Trump gets market-moving information long before its released to the public. More

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders argued that it was fine for Trump to tweet about the jobs report before its release because "he didn't put the numbers out", CNBC reports.

The White House's Council of Economic Advisers briefs the president on the jobs numbers the afternoon before they are released.

The May jobs report showed the US economy added 223,000 jobs compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months, and that the unemployment rate edged down to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent. Nonetheless, he said the markets were selling off bonds before Trump's tweet, signaling expectation of a strong jobs report.

But former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney took it a step further, saying that the same would be true under both Bush administrations:Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary to President George W. Bush, seemed to concur.

I have no doubt that Trump followers like @billiecat want real change - and real jobs. Trump has made the roaring stock market a centerpiece of his administration and re-election campaign, though Wall Street has faced recent uncertainty due to the administration's saber-rattling over tariffs. And the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, the lowest rate since the late 1960s.

Trump has celebrated strong jobs reports in the past, after they were issued. As I understand it, it is generally a small group of people who receive this information, such as the Chief of Staff, Treasury Secretary, the head of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, and, of course, the President himself. This wouldn't be fair, and would make financial markets work worse if people balked at making trades for fear others are privy to more information.

The President teased the Jobs Report an hour before it was officially released.

"You don't want to price yourself out of the market", Thomas said.

Larry Summer, former director of the National Economic Council, lamented how former President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama would have been in hot water had they commented on unreleased figures.

Given the president's penchant for self-promotion, many assumed this meant a strong report was coming because Trump is one of a few federal officials who sees the report on Thursday before it's released to the public.

"If this is a guy who is so excited by the number he can't stay away from the keyboard at 7:21 [in the morning], of course one wonders if he's ever been equally indiscreet with friends", says Wolfers.

According to a Labor Department rule, executive branch employees are barred from publicly commenting on the jobs report until "at least one hour" after its official release.

Prior presidents generally followed the protocol closely, though in the 1960s President Lyndon Johnson had a habit of talking about the numbers in advance. "As has been said so many times by the president's supporters as well as his critics, this is another case where it would be better for President Trump would be wise to spend his time doing something other than tweeting".

"The idea that someone who is political would let information out ahead of time undermines that independence and credibility at a time when it's under attack pretty aggressively already", she said.

"Of course he knew", Kudlow said in an interview Friday.

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