“Donald Trump is doubling down on hiding sketchy and possibly illegal meetings where he could be selling out the American people to the highest bidder or even colluding with intelligence officials who are supposed to be investigating his ties to Russia. Remember Devin Nunes?
“Americans who wanted Trump to focus on the economy and protecting our national security now have even less trust that Trump is doing anything beyond what’s in the best interest for Trump and his bottom line.” — Shripal Shah, American Bridge VP
By John Wagner, 4/14/17
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would discontinue former president Barack Obama’s policy of voluntarily disclosing the names of most visitors to the White House complex, citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns.”
Instead, the Trump administration said it would release information only under far more limited circumstances: for those visiting components of the White House classified under the law as separate agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget. Under the new policy, it will be up to the White House to decide whether to release names of visitors coming to meet with the president, vice president and their senior staff.
The Trump administration was sued in federal court earlier this week by a coalition of watchdog groups in a bid to compel the release of records made public under Obama, which were published on a White House-maintained Web page.
Since Trump took office in January, 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.
Obama’s policy was crafted in 2009 in response to lawsuits. The policy permitted some exceptions to disclosure, including purely private visits to the Obama family, such as friends arriving for sleepovers with the president’s school-age daughters. The Obama White House also maintained the prerogative not to release records of particularly “sensitive” meetings, such as interviews with potential Supreme Court nominees.
Published: Apr 14, 2017