Trump may have violated a decades-old federal rule by tweeting about the jobs report before its release

  • President Donald Trump tweeted that he was "looking forward" to the jobs report an hour before the report was released.

  • As president, Trump receives the jobs report the night before it comes out.

  • A Bureau of Economic Analysis rule mandates that all executive branch employees not comment on the report until an hour after its release.

  • Former economic officials took Trump to task for appearing to violate the rule.

President Donald Trump may have violated a decades-old federal rule by tweeting about Friday's jobs report about an hour before its release.

The president is privy to the report's data the night before its release.

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," Trump tweeted.

Under the Bureau of Economic Analysis's guidance, members of the executive branch are not supposed to make public statements about the data until an hour after the report's release.

Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, said that Trump's tweet was clearly in violation of the rule.

"If the president just tipped that the numbers are good, he broke the law," Goolsbee tweeted.

"It's classified information," he continued. "The CEA gets the number the day before and even internally can only discuss the info on an encrypted line before release."

The jobs report, when it was eventually released, beat expectations with 223,000 jobs added in the month of May. This was higher than the 190,000 expected by economists.

Jason Furman, another former CEA chair under Obama, asserted that Trump should be disqualified from getting the information prior to release.

"You should have gotten the employment numbers from the Council of Economic Advisers yesterday," Furman said. "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."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed to CNBC that Trump recieved the jobs report numbers on Thursday night, but insisted the tweet was acceptable because the president "didn't put the numbers out."

This is not the first time that the Trump administration has appeared to break the rule. Former press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted 27 minutes after the jobs report was released in March 2017. It's unclear if there was any penalty for that tweet.

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