Donald Trump
President Donald Trump attends an event welcoming the Clemson Tigers, the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions, at the White House in Washington, June 12, 2017. Reuters

Two nonprofits are suing over White House use of encrypted messaging apps Signal and Confide, and for the deletion of some presidential tweets.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive filed the lawsuit Thursday, arguing the president and the White House staff are violating the Constitution and the Presidential Records Act, which require presidents and aides to keep records for public access after an administration leaves office.

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The Trump White House has been using the app Confide to communicate to curb leaks to the press, it was reported earlier this year. The end-to-end encryption app deletes messages once they are read. Signal, which also reportedly is being used, is a widely used encryption app that has been praised by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden, who is currently in exile for leaking information about the agency’s surveillance practices.

“The American people not only deserve to know how their government is making important decisions, it’s the law,” Executive Director Noah Bookbinder of the ethics group said in a statement. “By deleting these records, the White House is destroying essential historical records.”

The organizations also criticized Trump for deleting his tweets.

The lawsuit claims:

“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. Presidential statements made on Twitter sent from the President’s personal Twitter account, which are subject to federal record-keeping obligations, have been destroyed.”

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Since 2014, government employees have been required to disclose emails from private servers regarding government business to official systems within 20 days. Trump, whose campaign rallies were filled with chants of “Lock her up,” is now being criticized for the same reasons he used to attack Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Reports that Trump administration officials are disregarding this requirement — either by not following private email protocol or by using encrypted messaging apps that prevent any kind of preservation — raise serious concerns that presidential records are at risk,” National Security Archive Director Tom Blanton said in a statement.

The nonprofits also are suing for the release of the White House visitor logs, which the Trump administration stopped making public. Furthermore, the lawsuit pointed out Trump’s comments about secret recordings of conversations with former FBI Director James Comey — the existence of which Trump denied Thursday.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” he tweeted.