Trump flouts federal rule with tweet touting job numbers

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Donald Trump broke with years of protocol on Friday, commenting on the US's latest jobs report an hour before its official release.

At 7:21 a.m. EDT, Trump clearly seemed to signal the report's general tenor as he tweeted he was "looking forward to seeing" the report that was subsequently released at the normal 8:30 a.m. time.

One hour and nine minutes later, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 223,000 jobs were created in May, beating expectations, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent.

"They're treated like state secrets", Alan Krueger, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio before the employment report came out.

The jobs report has heavy influence on financial markets and is closely guarded by federal officials.

Presidents typically get to see the numbers the day before, per a longstanding tradition. In the hours leading up to the release of future jobs reports, investors will watch carefully for clues provided by presidential tweets (or lack thereof).

Tony Fratto, a former Treasury and White House official in the George W. Bush administration, objected on Twitter to the assertion by former Obama administration economic official Austan Goolsbee that Trump had divulged classified information.

Lawrence Summers, once a director of the National Economic Council under President Obama and a former Treasury secretary for President Bill Clinton, said Trump's statement would have been a "major scandal" for either of the administrations he worked in.

. They appear to have read Trump's tweet correctly.

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Trump often wants to know the information as soon as possible, a person familiar with the briefings said, and receives the information on Thursday evenings, as he did this week when he was briefed by Kudlow.

Kudlow defended the president's tweet across a series of subsequent media appearances Friday morning, arguing Trump didn't give anything away and that his remarks were open to interpretation. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared", he wrote.

Trump has, on at least one other occasion, publicly revealed the contents of a tightly held government report before its release.

Defying fears of a global trade war, USA businesses have made it abundantly clear that they see no reason to stop hiring. "And if this tweet is conveying inside information about a particularly good jobs number you should never get them in advance from the Council of Economic Advisers again". "But secondly, and fundamentally, its really important that government statistics are perceived as being nonpartisan, nonpolitical data".

Trump's supporters revere this mold-breaking approach, but it has created an environment in which information that has always been closely held by the government is now fair game for Trump to reveal through a Twitter post or a casual remark.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for Texas on Thursday, Trump spoke glowingly about the "best unemployment we've had in many, many decades", though it's unclear if he was just speaking generally about the state of the economy or was speaking specifically to the content of the May report.

Some economists remain concerned that the Trump administration's aggressive actions on trade could hamper growth.

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