White House defends transparency after log reversal

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 18, 2017

The White House refused to comment on any suspicious ethical activity or malpractice.

Separately, Spicer also said President Trump would not release his 2016 tax returns, citing the same justification the campaign had offered for not releasing filings from previous years: They are under audit.

Several reporters confronted Press Secretary Sean Spicer with the decision not to make public the identities of any visitor to the White House public, and lack of transparency that will inevitably result.

Obama officials often took steps to get around the records, six million of which were voluntarily released by the administration, by meeting with individuals off the White House grounds, as Time noted.

The White House has argued that "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually" provoked its stance on keeping the records secret for now.

Spicer explained that the action was in line with the Federal Records Act and Presidential Records Act, despite the appearance that the move limits transparency.

"It's about following the law", Spicer said.

Ask the White House, and you'll hear that Trump congratulated Erdogan in a call Monday and thanked him for supporting USA missile strikes in Syria two weeks ago. This time he's managed to offend liberals and conservatives to about an equal degree.

Walter M. Shaub Jr.is director of the Office of Government Ethics, which advises federal agencies to help them and their employees - including the White House - comply with federal ethics laws, such as a prohibition on using a government post to personally profit. That unanimous ruling was written by Judge Merrick Garland, whom Obama later nominated to the Supreme Court. That's preposterous. Any president, if national security demands it, cannot disclose visits that need to be kept secret for legitimate reasons.

White House sources said President Trump wants to retain the discretion of seeing people in the White House without disclosing their names.

However, visitor logs for White House agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Trade Representative, may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

After playing a central role in his campaign, President Donald Trump's second oldest child, Ivanka Trump, has appeared to exercise a significant amount of influence in the White House. He said more secrecy will breed more cronyism, insider dealing and corruption. However, the announcement was harshly criticised by government watchdog groups.

According to Politico, the FEC report for the three Trump committees suggested much of the money came from merchandise sold during Trump's inauguration and early presidency, considering they spent roughly $4.7 million on hats, T-shirts, mugs and stickers. Officials will study procurement policies and trade agreements to see how they affect US companies' ability to compete for government contracts, with a view toward eventually leveling the playing field.

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