The Trump administration will not voluntarily release White House visitor logs, breaking from an Obama administration practice of making most of those records public through the White House website.
While the Obama administration took a posture of proactive transparency in releasing some 6 million records, visitor logs in the Trump White House probably won’t be released until five years after the president’s term ends pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, with some logs remaining secret for national security reasons. Visitor logs of certain executive agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget, might be obtained sooner through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Communications director Michael Dubke lauded the Trump administration’s commitment to transparency in a statement and cited national security concerns in making the decision.
“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 cannot gain access, the Trump administration has broken new ground in ensuring our government is both ethical and accessible to the American people,” Dubke said.
“Given the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, the White House Office will disclose Secret Service logs as outlined under the Freedom of Information Act, a position the Obama White House successfully defended in federal court,” he continued.
A group of government watchdog groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration earlier this month in an attempt to compel the White House to continue the Obama-era practice of releasing White House visitor logs.