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An ethics watchdog group won a lawsuit to obtain records of who has visited President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort since he became president.
The left-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announced Monday that the Department of Homeland Security would turn over visitor logs to the group as a part of an April lawsuit. CREW said it would receive the logs by September 8 and then publicly release them.
“The public deserves to know who is coming to meet with the president and his staff,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “We are glad that as a result of this case, this information will become public for meetings at his his personal residences – but it needs to be public for meetings at the White House as well.”
The order to release the visitor logs is a result of a lawsuit filed in April by CREW, the National Security Archive, and the Knight Foundation’s First Amendment Institute at Columbia University against the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency containing the Secret Service, the government entity that maintains the logs. The organizations sought the release of visitor logs from the White House, Trump Tower, and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Shortly after CREW filed its lawsuit, the Trump administration announced it would not release the White House visitor logs.
CREW, which in 2009 settled lawsuits with the Obama administration to have White House visitor logs released, said in April that “it looks like we’ll see them in court.”
“It’s disappointing that the man who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ just took a massive step away from transparency by refusing to 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,” Bookbinder said in an April statement.
“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.”