Showing that some people simply can’t put the past behind them, we learned earlier today that the White House was looking at releasing Donald Trump’s White House visitor logs to the public. You could probably come up with any number of scenarios for why this was being looked at, ranging from specific allegations of potential wrongdoing to a general fishing expedition. But it would be an unusual move, to say the least.
Unfortunately for the media circus that’s currently going into withdrawal over a lack of headlines to bash Donald Trump, the idea was shot down in a matter of hours. The White House later announced that they’d checked into the question and the logs can’t simply be released. So at least for the time being, unless something emerges that would justify the need for that information through some sort of court proceedings, they’re going to stay locked up until after Joe Biden’s first term is over. (Politico)
The Biden White House said it cannot unilaterally release visitor logs from the Trump White House, amid questions about whether anyone who participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol visited the former president in the days leading up to it.
“Under the Presidential Records Act, all Trump White House visitor logs are under the control and legal custody of the National Archives and Records Administration, and cannot be unilaterally released by the Biden White House,” a White House spokesperson said on Wednesday, following inquiries from reporters during a press briefing the day before.
The Presidential Records Act, which requires a sitting president to preserve and ultimately make public all records relating to the performance of their official duties, was passed 42 years ago in response to President Richard Nixon’s attempts to hide the White House tapes that led to his downfall.
The Presidential Records Act is a bit obscure at this point since it dates back to the Nixon era, but it’s still in force today. Having completed his term in office, all of Donald Trump’s official documents (including the visitor logs) won’t be available for FOIA requests for five years. The hungry journalists looking for more Trump dirt are going to have to wait out the clock on this one unless there’s another shocking leak coming out of the Biden White House.
We should wonder, however, precisely what the basis for the request was. It’s being claimed that questions have arisen as to whether anyone involved in the planning and execution of the January 6th riot was a guest of Trump’s in the days leading up to the attack. But does that really make any sense? Random citizens rarely make it onto the White House visitor log or the President’s schedule.
Does anyone honestly believe that the QAnon Shaman could have shown up there without anyone noticing? Okay… I suppose if the guy took off his costume and war paint and put on a suit, he might blend in. But there are reporters watching the comings and goings at the White House constantly. Pretty much nobody makes it through the door without someone catching them on film unless they are driven in through a private entrance.
The mob that perpetrated the riot was composed of people who showed up for the President’s speech and various demonstrations out in the streets. There is so much video of the actual riot that the FBI is slowly but surely tracking down everyone who breached the Capitol Hill Police lines. If there were any notable figures in there that had the clout to actually be invited into the West Wing or the Oval Office, I find it hard to believe that the media wouldn’t have sniffed them out by now.
More likely is the idea that this was, as I suggested above, a fishing expedition. If you can delve into the visitor logs, who knows what sort of hints you might find that could be built into another theory about Trump’s malfeasance for a click-driving headline? And with the former president having gone largely radio-silent in the past couple of weeks, the mainstream media is desperate for some Trump-related scandal news. As much as most of the press obviously hated Donald Trump, he was very, very good for business. And since nobody seems terribly interested in finding any potential dirt on Joe Biden, business is going into a slump.