National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow laughed off questions Friday about the legality of President Donald Trump’s preemptive tweet hinting that the jobs report would be good before its public release. Kudlow insisted that the President did nothing wrong since he didn’t reveal the specific numbers.
“No one revealed the numbers to the public,” Kudlow said, a theme he repeated multiple times during a short, impromptu press conference.
Some think that Trump is in violation of a 1985 OMB directive, which forbids employees of the Executive Branch from telling anyone about the numbers until an hour after their public release. Trump sent out his tweet at 7:21 AM on Friday; the jobs report was released at 8:30 AM.
When a reporter followed up on the obvious implication that though Trump didn’t release the exact numbers, he was clearly pointing people’s attention toward a positive report, Kudlow laughed him off.
“That’s a therapy thing, I don’t know,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow added that it was his decision to show Trump the numbers the night before. Historically, presidents have routinely received the jobs numbers in advance of their release; but until now, they have taken great pains to keep the information private so as not to unlawfully affect the markets.
The bond market reportedly did react to Trump’s tweet. Some have speculated that if Trump was so freehanded with the numbers, he could have given them to a smaller group of people before sending the tweet, paving the way for illegal insider trading.
Watch Kudlow take questions below:
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) June 1, 2018