When Donald Trump first took office, nearly every weekend he was jetting down to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, which he (and he alone) dubbed his “winter White House.” He hosted the prime minister of Japan, the president of China and a wave of government officials, many of whom stayed at Trump’s exclusive private club for nearly $600-a-night of taxpayer money.
In July, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and other organizations won a lawsuit and a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to turn over the visitor logs for Mar-a-Lago:
As part of ongoing litigation brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the National Security Archive (NSA) and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will turn over visitor logs for President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. CREW will publicly release the visitor logs upon receiving them by September 8th.
“The public deserves to know who is coming to meet with the president and his staff,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “We are glad that as a result of this case, this information will become public for meetings at his personal residences—but it needs to be public for meetings at the White House as well.”
That deadline has now come and gone and CREW has the list. All 22 names. That’s all the Trump administration would turn over, even after a federal court order. Donald Trump and his friends really, really don’t want you to know who’s visiting his own personal private swamp. From CNN:
In a cover letter transmitting the 22 names to CREW on Friday, the Justice Department said that the remaining records would be withheld.“The remaining records that the Secret Service has processed in response to the Mar-a-Lago request contain, reflect, or otherwise relate to the President’s schedules,” wrote Justice Department attorneys. “The government believes that presidential schedule information is not subject to FOIA.”In response, CREW promised to head back to court.“After waiting months for a response to our request for comprehensive visitor logs from the President’s multiple visits to Mar-a-Lago and having the government ask for a last-minute extension, today we received 22 names from the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to Mar-a-Lago and nothing else,” said CREW’s executive director, Noah Bookbinder, in a statement. “The government seriously misrepresented their intentions to both us and the court. This was spitting in the eye of transparency. We will be fighting this in court.”
Give ‘em hell, CREW. The American people deserve to know who’s paying a $200,000 membership fee to play in Donald Trump’s personal swamp.