Trump govt to keep list of White House visitors secret

The visitor logs Obama opened up to the public helped Washington Post journalists discover that lobbying was still very much alive in the White House in 2012, and it seems privacy and security concerns were avoided fairly easily by keeping certain names out of the visitor logs (such as the names of Obama's daughters' friends or potential Supreme Court nominees).

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that it would not be voluntarily releasing the names of White House visitors, reportedly due to "grave national security risks and privacy concerns", according to The Washington Post.

The Trump administration said it would release information under far more limited circumstances: when Freedom of Information Act requests are filed for those visiting offices of the White House characterised under the law as separate agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget.

According to Blanton, Obama's White House logs included nearly 6 million visitors, and there were no national security problems.

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the National Security Archive at George Washington University, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced earlier this week that they filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security after unanswered requests to the Secret Service to provide President Trump's visitor logs at the White House, Mar-a-Lago and his NY office. The Obama administration eventual released almost 6 million visitor records.

The move, first reported by Time magazine, is a break from the previous administration, which established a website where users could search records of people cleared into the White House complex for meetings and events.

The Obama administration had fought to protect some portions of its own White House logs, or circumvent the need to use them, but ultimately released six million of the records.

Dubke added that the logs would be disclosed "as outlined under the Freedom of Information Act". "He is the least transparent President ever - and he ran on transparency".

British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade at The White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"By instituting historic restrictions on lobbying to close the revolving door, expanding and elevating ethics within the White House Counsel's office, and opening the White House press briefing room to media outlets that otherwise can not gain access, the Trump administration has broken new ground in ensuring our government is both ethical and accessible to the American people", Dubke said.

Romper reached out to the White House for comment on the measure, but did not hear back immediately.

While Obama was in office, Trump repeatedly criticized him on Twitter for not releasing various personal records like his birth certificate.

CREW replied in a statement, "It looks like we'll see them in court".

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for failing to release the records on April 10.

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