WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Tuesday it would look into whether it can make visitor logs from former President Donald Trump’s administration public, a move that will be in line with the Biden administration’s vow to release its own records.
The logs detail who visits the president and his staff on official business and enables the public to know which lobbyists, political donors and others are gaining access to the chief executive and his aides on a daily basis.
The logs became a bone of contention in 2017 when the Trump administration said it would not release them. It kept visitor logs to core offices of the White House – including the West Wing – private and that decision faced legal challenges for its lack of transparency.
The Trump administration later settled a lawsuit in 2018 to allow monthly publication of visitor logs for some White House offices, including the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.
Asked about the logs at her daily news briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “I have not had a chance to talk to our team on whether we even have access to those logs. I mean, we obviously know what information is put in from people who come to visit, and we have the ability to release that over the coming months.”
Psaki was responding to a question on whether a look at the logs could show if any of the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 visited the White House in the days before the attack.
Psaki said she was not aware of any assessment of Trump’s visitor logs and was not sure whether it is “technically possible” but would ask her team if they have access to the records and if they plan to look at them.
Psaki added that most visits to the Biden White House are currently happening virtually and that there is no plan to release virtual visitor logs.
The policy to release such records was first adopted by President Barack Obama, who voluntarily released more than 6 million White House visitor records.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Nandita Bose in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis)