A tweetstorm from ProPublica this evening laid out in laymen’s terms how Trump is “spitting in the eye of transparency,” according to CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics) and two other watchdog groups who sued the president for access to his January to March Mar-A-Lago visitor logs, so the public could see what foreign dignitaries, CEOs and lobbyists might have paid for access to him. To say nothing of Russian agents.
According to a court order based on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Trump’s Justice Department was supposed to have released the names of all the visitors during the period in question by last Friday. They were granted an extension to today. But when they submitted the logs, there were only 22 names on them — a brief rundown of the Japanese Prime Minister’s entourage.
5/ Only 22 names were released. All support staff for the Japanese PM’s visit, incl someone whose job was “getting keys.” Nothing else. Why? pic.twitter.com/xT6rsnHCqg
— ProPublica (@propublica) September 16, 2017
The administration rationalized their secrecy by saying that the “Presidential schedule information is not subject to FOIA,” citing a decision by, of all people, the very Obama Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, that the Republicans refused to confirm, so they could shoehorn in Trump lackey, Neil Gorsuch.
If it took Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s team almost two months to release only 22 names, something’s rotten in the state of Trumpland.
According to a BuzzFeed report this morning:
“The government misled the plaintiffs and the court,” National Security Archive director Tom Blanton said in a statement after the release. “I can only conclude that the Trump White House intervened and overrode career lawyers.”
Not taking Trump’s obfuscation lying down, CREW Executive Director, Noah Bookbinder, tweeted out tonight, “See you in court, Mr. President.”
ProPublica added that 320 more FOIAs remain as-yet unanswered by the Trump administration.
In other words, the more the administration has to hide, the more watchdog groups are determined to discover the truth. May the patriots fighting to defend the Constitution emerge victorious in this battle for the core of our national character.
Lucia Brawley is a Harvard- and Yale-educated writer, producer, actor, and political organizer. She runs the progressive political Facebook group Consenting to Lead. To learn more, please go to luciabrawley.com.