Trump administration blocks access to White House visitor logs
The stated rationale for President Trump's decision to reverse this policy-that releasing logs implicates "grave national security risks and privacy concerns"-is rebutted by experience: the Obama administration's policy included exceptions to protect national security and privacy. Stripped of pretext, the Trump administration's decision to withhold the logs from the public reveals a concerning aversion to transparency and accountability".
As required by law, the Trump administration will continue to make public visitor information for meetings with budget, USA trade and three other offices within the White House complex in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
The Trump administration's decision to keep the records secret means no documentation of any White House comings and goings will be routinely released while Trump is in office, though officials said information could be released case by case.
"The only reasonable conclusion is to believe the Trump administration has many things it is trying to hide". Some visitor logs to White House departments will be able to be found under the Freedom of Information Act, but most will not.
The White House is not the only meeting location that watchdog groups are concerned about.
Ultimately, almost 6 million visitor records were released, though certain visits were excluded, including for national security or law enforcement reasons.
The NRA was an adamant backer of Trump during the campaign, committing money and TV ads to help bolster his presidential bid. The Washington Post reports that since the inauguration, "the page where the visitor logs had been publicly available has gone dark, and Trump administration officials said Friday that they will no longer maintain it, a move that the White House said would save taxpayers $70,000 by 2020".
White House Communications Director Michael Dubke said in a statement on Friday that "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually" was the reason for keeping the records secret.
The decision is a departure from the Obama administration, which did release the logs. The Trump White House calls it "duplicative". But under the Trump administration's new policy, there's a chance the public wouldn't have found out Nunes' information was actually fed to him by the White House.
Trump aides highlighted such loopholes under Obama and said the new policy is consistent with a legal distinction that Obama officials drew in a 2012 lawsuit.
The White House said today that lists of visitors to the building will be kept secret, breaking with the practice of President Donald Trump's predecessor.
The new White House policy is also concerning in light of White House officials' propensity to not disclose important meetings. As a matter of practice, the White House has disclosed the names of many of those who meet directly with the president on the days the meetings take place.
"Elected officials work for the people and we deserve to see government business conducted in transparent daylight", Shakir said.