Is Donald Trump allowed to delete tweets if he makes a mistake?
In the latest controversy, Donald Trump tweeted: “The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
Barack Obama actually agreed to resettle up to 1,250 of the most vulnerable refugees – not illegal immigrants – held in Australian detention centres on Pacific islands.
Despite repeated controversies, the new US President has no intention of giving up his @realDonaldTrump account because he wants to speak directly to the American people.
But lawyers are already wrangling over whether it is legal for Mr Trump to delete his tweets or if he needs to keep them all for the public record.
Trump tweets his way through Presidency
Mon, January 9, 2017
Express reports Donald Trump's tweets since elected as President of the United States.
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Shontavia Johnson, a law professor at Drake University, has argued that his tweets are part of the official presidential record so deletions are probably not allowed under current law.
“There may not be much anyone can do to stop Mr Trump from taking down tweets. In the US, the law gives people a broad right to destroy things they own,” she wrote for AP.
The US National Archives has not confirmed whether the Presidential Records Act (PRA) applies to his tweets. But spokesman said they are presidential ”electronic communications".
The PRA requires the President to keep their official electronic communications while in office then turn them over to the National Archives when they leave.
Former President Barack Obama’s team sometimes deleted his tweets but they always archived them to ensure they were not breaching record retention rules.
It is not clear whether Mr Trump is following the same Twitter policy with the @realDonaldTrump account, which is often retweeted by the official @POTUS account.
@ZekeJMiller We eventually set up auto-archiving for official platforms, so errors could be corrected while preserving the original.
— Ezra Mechaber (@ezramechaber) January 21, 2017
Ezra Mechaber, a former aide to Mr Obama, has said that if Mr Trump’s tweets are not being archived then he was “really starting to blur some record laws”.
Of Mr Obama’s policy, he said: “We eventually set up auto-archiving for official platforms, so errors could be corrected while preserving the original”.
After Mr Trump's inauguration, the his twitter account posted, and then deleted, a tweet saying he was "honered" to serve as President.
Other deleted tweets said that Mexico would reimburse Americans for the “Great Wall” and that China had stolen a United States Navy research drone.