White House doesn’t keep visitor logs of Biden, Trump personal homes

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The White House doesn’t keep visitor logs for President Biden’s personal residences, the White House counsel’s office confirmed Monday. 

That clarification came as some House Republicans have begun calling for visitor logs of Mr. Biden’s Wilmington, Del., home after multiple documents marked classified were discovered at the his Wilmington residence. The White House counsel’s office noted it isn’t standard practice for the White House to keep visitor logs of presidents’ personal homes.

“Like every president across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal,” said Ian Sams, spokesperson for the White House counsel. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them.”

The Obama administration was the first to release White House visitor logs, although it did not do so until Barack Obama had been president for nine months, and there were several exceptions. The Trump administration then discontinued the practice before Mr. Biden reinstated it.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, Republican of Kentucky, has requested that the White House provide a log of all visitors to Mr. Biden’s Wilmington home since the beginning of his presidency. GOP Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado has also requested visitor logs of the Wilmington residence. 

“President Biden’s mishandling of classified materials raises the issue of whether he has jeopardized our national security,” Comer said in a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain. “Without a list of individuals who have visited his residence, the American people will never know who had access to these highly sensitive documents. The committee demands transparency into whether any individuals with foreign connections to the Biden family gained access to President Biden’s residence and the classified documents that he has mishandled for years.”

However, the Secret Service does not maintain visitor logs for personal residences of presidents, the agency confirmed.  

“Secret Service does not maintain logs of comings and goings at [presidential] private residences,” said Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi. 

That includes Mr. Biden’s Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach residences. In fact, Secret Service does not maintain White House visitor logs. The agency has access to the logs, but those records are overseen by the White House and National Archives.

Similarly the Secret Service, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request in 2017, said it did not maintain visitor logs of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. “There is no grouping, listing, or set of records that would reflect Presidential visitors to Mar-a-Lago,” special agent Kim Campbell said in a court declaration.

Visitors to the White House are generally required to submit their names, Social Security numbers and other personal information for Secret Service background screenings. That information is not shared with the National Archives and gets purged after a set period of time. Guglielmi said the Secret Service will cooperate with the House Oversight Committee’s investigation “as much as we can.”

CBS News last week was first to report the discovery of documents with classification markings at the Penn Biden Center, where Mr. Biden had an office after his vice presidency. Mid-week, the White House also confirmed the discovery of additional documents with classification markings at Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington. But the White House acknowledged Saturday that lawyers for the president found six more pages of documents marked as classified at his Wilmington home last week. 

The Secret Service maintains a permanent physical or electronic security presence at the president’s homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, and screens visitors when they enter. The Penn Biden Center, where roughly 10 classified documents were found in November, was not a permanent Secret Service site. Mr. Biden used the office space after his vice presidency until he declared his candidacy for the White House in 2019.



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