Briefcase: Tweets & POTUS

Guest Dean Leonard Baynes.


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With the tweets of President Trump in the news so frequently, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center explained how the Presidential Records Act might come into play.

"After Watergate, Congress passed a law that all official presidential communication, during the time in office, is to be retained."

"A tool frequently used by President Trump is making it a harder for archivists to retain these communications. The president primarily uses his personal Twitter account, rather than the official POTUS account. That makes it tricky for historians to sort out what's "presidential communication" and what's not."

"Making the legal requirements more uncertain, the law names the president as the "records manager," placing him solely in charge of determining what "presidential communication" is. Adding to the Trump Twitter dilemma, his tweets are frequently deleted, or altered and re-posted, so the originals may or may not be saved."

"The law was intended to allow Americans to see a historical picture of a presidency. But the creation of that picture is in the hands of the tweeter-in-chief."

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