Secret Service: No visitor logs at Mar-a-Lago, watchdog calls that ‘terrifying’

  • George Bennett, Palm Beach Post
6:25 p.m Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 Nation& World
New York Daily News Archive/NY Daily News via Getty Images
An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, the oceanfront estate of billionaire President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla. and now known as the winter White House.


The Secret Service has no system to keep track of people who visit President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, according to a court filing by the government this week.

That lack of documentation is “terrifying,” says the director of a watchdog group that filed a lawsuit to try to obtain visitor logs for Trump’s “winter White House.”

Trump visited Mar-a-Lago seven times between February and April, hosting leaders of China and Japan, ordering missile strikes on Syria and conducting other official business there in addition to leisure time. Mar-a-Lago is also a private club with about 500 members.

After Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington pressed for records of who visited the president in Palm Beach, the government last month released a list of 22 names associated with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s February visit to Mar-a-Lago.

But after conducting a “broad set of searches” for other Mar-a-Lago visitors, the Secret Service agent in charge of public records request declared in a Wednesday filing that “there is no system for keeping track of presidential visitors at Mar-a-Lago, as there is at the White House Complex. Specifically, it was determined that there is no grouping, listing, or set of records that would reflect presidential visitors to Mar-a-Lago.”

CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder expressed disbelief at the lack of records.

“We will be pressing the court for the full set of records that does exist,” Bookbinder said in a statement on the group’s website.

“If the government’s statement is true, however, and there really are no records documenting the many people President Trump has met with at Mar-a-Lago, the government has just revealed that everyone from lobbyists to foreign agents can buy secret access to the president — without accountability or even a simple record — by paying his personal business. And that is terrifying.”

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