secret secrets are no fun
February 16, 2019

Leading House Democrats told Politico for a report published Saturday they are consulting with House General Counsel Douglas Letter on how to compel President Trump or his administration to reveal the content of his one-on-one meetings with Russia President Vladimir Putin.

"I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it's by seeking the interpreter's testimony, the interpreter's notes, or other means," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who serves as House Intelligence Committee chair.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is working with Schiff. "I'm not saying that I'm in favor of interpreters turning over all their notes, but I do think that it shouldn't be up to the president to hide the notes," Engel told Politico.

Of particular interest is Trump's private conference with Putin in Helsinki last summer, where the two presidents met alone with their respective interpreters for 90 minutes. At the press conference following the talks, Trump said he didn't "know any reason why it would be" Russia which sought to meddle in the 2016 election, contradicting the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Last month, The Washington Post reported Trump has "gone to extraordinary lengths" to hide details of his conversations with Putin, including from his own administration. In one case, Trump reportedly took his interpreter's notes from a call with Putin and told the interpreter not to discuss the talk with other officials. Bonnie Kristian

June 21, 2017

GOP Rep. Peter King (N.Y.) on Wednesday ripped Senate Republicans for carrying out their discussions on the American Health Care Act behind closed doors. "It looks like they're trying to hide something and it does add to conspiracy theories and everything else," King said in a radio interview with L.I. in the A.M.

King said that while there's a time and a place for private meetings, there should be "more public debate" on the Senate's version of the GOP-backed health-care bill that narrowly passed the House last month. "All of democracy can't be open all the time, things are going to have to be done behind closed doors, that's just common sense," said King, who voted for the bill in the House. "Having said that, that should be kept to a minimum, so I think that if this is too secretive, it's going to put a cloud over the whole final product."

Many Republicans remain unclear on what exactly is in the Senate's version of the health-care bill, but Senate Republican leadership is eyeing a vote next week.

Catch King's interview below. Becca Stanek

April 14, 2017

The White House announced Friday that it will not make its visitor logs public, Time reports. The decision represents a marked break between the Trump administration and its predecessor, as former President Barack Obama's White House voluntarily released nearly 6 million visitor logs — though the Obama logs did routinely omit visitors the White House deemed vaguely as "personal."

The Trump administration is using a 2013 federal court ruling to deem the visitor logs "presidential records" and thus shield them from the Freedom of Information Act. White House communications director Michael Dubke cited personal security as the reason for the privacy, saying it was in consideration of "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually."

Three unnamed White House officials told Time that they were expecting the policy to be met with criticism but agreed that it was necessary. One White House official said the Obama logs created "more of a façade of transparency rather than complete transparency."

Visitor logs are maintained by the U.S. Secret Service and are formally known as the Workers and Visitors Entry System. Read more about the new policy at Time. Kimberly Alters

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