The United States Secret Service (USSS) just struck a blow against the Trump White House’s shady practice of automatically deleting visitor logs.
Watchdog group Public Citizen filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Secret Service’s new practice of deleting logs, and a court filing from the Department of Justice, reveals that they as a result, they will resume preserving President Trump’s visitor logs — records that were made publicly available during the majority of President Obama’s Administration.
The Trump White House up until now had been hiding the President’s visitors log by purging the Secret Service’s daily lists and archiving the information for release five to seven years after Donald Trump leaves office.
By shifting records from the USSS to the White House, it changed the applicable records law and cloaked visitors in a strong veil of secrecy. Politico reports that this court filing will end the charade:
“Although not necessary to preserve the requested records, the Secret Service has stated that it will retain copies of all [appointment and visitor entry] data during the pendency of this litigation, and Secret Service has suspended auto-delete functions,” Justice Department lawyer Julie Straus Harris wrote in response to a lawsuit brought by the Public Citizen watchdog group.
“However, files belonging to the White House offices most directly involved in advising the president are subject instead to the Presidential Records Act. That law allows a president to keep most of his records from the public eye until five years after he leaves office, with some records off limits for 12 years.
“However, files belonging to the White House offices most directly involved in advising the president are subject instead to the Presidential Records Act. That law allows a president to keep most of his records from the public eye until five years after he leaves office, with some records off limits for 12 years.”
President Obama made a policy of releasing his visitor lists, keeping only sensitive guests confidential when national security depended on it.
When government conducts business in secret, that’s where slick lobbyists and corrupt interests flourish the most. Americans have the right to access the public records we pay for, even if they’re kept by the law enforcement agency protecting the President of the United States.
Now that the Secret Service has gotten the memo, we’ll know a lot more about what our untrustworthy President is doing on a daily basis.
Here is the court filing:
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition