"We’ll see them in court": Trump's administration refuses to release White House visitor logs

In comparison, Obama voluntarily released more than 6 million records during his eight-year presidency

By Matthew Rozsa
April 14, 2017 10:45PM (UTC)
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(Reuters/Yuri Gripas/AP/Jim Lo Scalzo/Photo montage by Salon)

President Donald Trump has made it difficult for the Secret Service to monitor Mar-a-Lago due to the lack of visitor logs — and now it appears he's bringing that same approach to the White House.

Although President Barack Obama voluntarily released more than 6 million records during his eight-year presidency, Trump has opted not to publicly reveal who has access to the White House during his tenure, according to a report by Time Magazine. White House communications director Michael Dubke attributes this decision to "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually."


In terms of a legal justification, the Trump administration assumes that because White House logs are presidential records maintained by the United States Secret Service, they are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

Instead the Trump administration will keep the logs secret until no fewer than five years after Trump ends his presidency.

"It’s disappointing that the man who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ just took a massive step away from transparency by refusing the release the White House visitor logs that the American people have grown accustomed to accessing over the last six years and that provide indispensable information about who is seeking to influence the president,"Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement. He continued:


"The Obama administration agreed to release the visitor logs in response to our lawsuits, and despite the Trump administration’s worry over ‘grave national security risks and concerns,’ only positives for the American people came out of them. This week, we sued the Trump administration to make sure they would continue to release the logs. It looks like we’ll see them in court."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Drain The Swamp Secret Service White House White House Visitor Logs