Upon taking office, President Donald Trump immediately rolled back certain measures from that President Barack Obama’s administration employed to ensure openness and transparency for the American people. Now, three organizations are taking Trump to court, arguing that the new secrecy violates the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Since taking office, Trump’s has insisted on concealing the logs of the White House visitors who meet with him and high level officials. Not only is this a reversal of Obama’s policy of making those records available to the public, the Trump regime has also refused to comply with FOIA requests to disclose the contents of those government documents.
For failure to comply with the FOIA requests, Trump and his Department of Homeland Security are being sued by the National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
In addition to demanding records of White House visitors, the organizations insist that Mar-A-Lago records are also vital to the national interest and should be disclosed as well. Trump has taken many high level meetings at his Florida resort, most recently hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping outside of Washington’s more traditional settings.
“President Obama routinely released the data we’re seeking with no damage to presidential privilege, and this information is central to the Secret Service mission and thus clearly agency records subject to FOIA,” said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive.
Executive Privilege is intended to protect secrets that are vital to national security, and the Obama Administration made clear that making these records public poses no legitimate threat to national security.
Trump’s continued insistence on secrecy, not as a protection of the American people but at our expense, is only the latest reason for us to wonder: Who or what is he hiding?
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com