The Department of Homeland Security will release the visitor logs from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, thanks to an ongoing lawsuit filed by the government watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington—a group that has been fiercely critical of the Trump administration’s lack of transparency and its potential conflicts of interest.
“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 Monday. “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 group said that it will receive the records by September 8—though there has been some ambiguity over what logs exist in the first place—and then make them available for public review. A federal judge ruled the administration must release certain visitor logs on Friday.
In April, CREW, along with the National Security Archive and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, sued the Trump administration for access to visitor records at the White House, Trump Tower, and Mar-a-Lago, amid increasing concerns over the White House’s silence on whether it would make such documents public. Barring a few exceptions, the Obama administration started voluntarily releasing visitor logs in September 2009.
Since becoming president, Trump has visited the Palm Beach resort more than 20 times, using the grounds to conduct high-level meetings with world leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Experts have warned that the estate is extremely vulnerable to hackers and other cyber security threats.
In a 2012 tweet, Trump criticized Obama for being the “least transparent President ever.”
Why is @BarackObama spending millions to try and hide his records? He is the least transparent President–ever–and he ran on transparency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2012