President Trump has come under fire for what Congressional Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden and Michael Bennett are calling a "leak" of last month's jobs numbers in a June 1 tweet which read "Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning."
Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2018
The Democrats argue in their letter that Trump's tweet was "violation of federal guidelines," and urged the SEC and CFTC to launch an investigation.
“These questions will determine whether the president knowingly used our country’s most sensitive economic data to enrich himself and his Wall Street cronies,” Oregon’s Wyden said in a Friday statement. “We must determine the extent of the president’s leaking, its impact on the financial markets and whether Trump’s friends benefited from it.”
Former Obama admin officials also dinged Trump for his tweet. Former deputy secretary for the Labor Department Chris Lu tweeted "1985 federal directive on #JobsReport states: "employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time." Trump's tweet was a "comment" that violates this directive."
1985 federal directive on #JobsReport states: "employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time." Trump's tweet was a "comment" that violates this directive.— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) June 1, 2018
Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted "Since Trump knows the numbers this is market manipulation"
Since Trump knows the numbers this is market manipulation https://t.co/T3F4Aqqovf— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) June 1, 2018
Larry Summers, Former Obama Director of the National Economic Council and current Harvard Professor tweeted: "If during the Clinton or Obama Administrations there had been a statement from @POTUS or anyone senior official in the morning before the Employment Report it would have been a major scandal—with all sorts of investigations following on."
If during the Clinton or Obama Administrations there had been a statement from @POTUS or anyone senior official in the morning before the Employment Report it would have been a major scandal—with all sorts of investigations following on.— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) June 1, 2018
What's strange is that all three senators calling for an investigation were conspicuously silent when President Obama said in February 2009: "Tomorrow we're expecting another dismal jobs report, on top of the half a million jobs that were lost last month..."
RNC response to criticism of Trump jobs report tweet this morning: Obama did it too.— Jim Tankersley (@jimtankersley) June 1, 2018
Speech in question is Feb. 5, 2009, 8:28 pm. Eve of Obama's 1st jobs report as POTUS, in depths of recessionary free fall, as O pushed stimulus bill: https://t.co/o5WhpjgQal pic.twitter.com/sM22P9OXoz
Obama used exactly the same words in a speech at 12:12pm that same day when no one in the White House had the numbers.— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) June 1, 2018
I agree on avoiding even the appearance of telegraphing info and he was super careful about it thereafter.https://t.co/zSBfxIUuDv pic.twitter.com/3W1ZRnKlxp
And as the Wall Street Journal noted on Friday, it's not the first time Obama has done so.
While disclosures of economic data are rare, they aren’t unprecedented. In February 2009, with the U.S. economy in crisis and Congress debating a stimulus package, then-Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) heard from Mr. Obama around midnight that the following morning’s jobs report numbers “would be somewhat scary,” he told the Senate after the report’s release. The Labor Department reported a loss of 598,000 jobs in January. -WSJ
Reid said the following in remarks on the Senate floor on February 6, 2009:
Mr. REID. Mr. President, around midnight last night I was in conversation with the President and some others, and the President indicated that this morning, unemployment numbers would come out, and they would be somewhat scary. That was absolutely true. At 8:30 this morning, the unemployment numbers were reported for January, and they hit a 16-year high of 7.6 percent.
In short, Elizabeth Warren and the other Democratic Senators are calling for highly partisan, taxpayer-funded hand-wringing.