Donald Trump and his White House team have been accused of breaking federal laws by using hidden messaging apps.
An ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a lawsuit against the president and his Executive Office on Thursday alleging they are not acting in compliance with federal records retention laws.
‘President Trump and others within the White House are either ignoring or outright flouting these responsibilities,’ the suit from CREW states.
‘From early on in this Administration, White House staff have used and, on information and belief, continue to use certain email messaging applications that destroy the contents of messages as soon as they are read, without regard to whether the messages are presidential records.’
Donald Trump and his White House team have been accused of breaking federal laws by using hidden messaging apps. Trump is pictured at the White House on June 19
It then cited Trump’s controversial Twitter account, which the suit claimed is also legally problematic due to some of the president’s posts being deleted.
‘Presidential statements made on Twitter sent from the President’s personal Twitter account, which are subject to federal record-keeping obligations, have been destroyed.
‘These actions by the Defendants, which have prevented federal agencies from complying with their statutory responsibilities, violate the constitutional requirement that the President take care that the law be faithfully executed.
‘As a further consequence, this regime increases the likelihood that valuable historical records of this presidency are already lost, and will continue to be lost, to Plaintiffs and the public, absent injunctive and declaratory relief.’
An ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a lawsuit against the president and his Executive Office on Thursday. Trump is pictured talking on a cellphone in 2009
It was reported in February staffers within the White House were specifically using Confide, an app that immediately destroys messages after the are read. Pictured is someone using the app
It was reported in January Trump staffers and associates, including Roger Stone, used Signal. Pictured is a stock image of the messaging app
The suit cites media reports to back up its allegations about Trump’s staff using apps such as Signal and Confide to communicate in a more secretive manner.
The Washington Post reported in February staffers within the White House were specifically using Confide, an app that immediately destroys messages after the are read.
The Wall Street Journal reported in January Trump staffers and associates, including Roger Stone, used Signal.
‘This destruction occurs with no independent assessment by the message sender or recipient of whether the message constitutes a presidential record,’ the suit states.
The suit filed on Thursday was also critical of Trump for deleting tweets from his Twitter accounts
Steve Bannon, one of Trump’s senior advisers, is pictured talking on a phone outside Trump Tower in December 2016
It then added Trump and his team have ‘do not have adequate policies in place’ to stop similar deleting apps being used.
Internal White House messages and communications must be made available to the public five years after a president leaves office, as per presidential records laws.
The National Security Archive at George Washington University joined CREW in the suit.
Trump himself has been a vocal critic of politicians deleting messages, as he frequently leveled that allegation against Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
He has continued to attack the former Secretary of State for doing so since taking office, and last week he tweeted she allegedly ‘destroyed phones’ and ‘bleached’ emails.