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White House posts visitor logs for first time since Obama

White House posts visitor logs for first time since Obama
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President BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE’s White House on Friday released visitor logs cataloguing 400 visits from the first 12 days of the administration.

The White House had pledged to release the logs for transparency purposes, a practice that was jettisoned under the former Trump administration.

Friday’s release is the first batch of logs made public under Biden and marks the first time since the Obama administration that visits to the White House have been publicly catalogued.

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“These logs give the public a look into the visitors entering and exiting the White House campus for appointments, tours, and official business — making good on President Biden’s commitment to restore integrity, transparency, and trust in government,” the White House said in a statement.

The list includes meetings that happened physically in the White House but omits virtual visits, and is much slimmer than it would be without the coronavirus pandemic. Many aides have worked from home and communicated virtually.

Those advocating for government transparency have urged the White House to release the virtual logs as well.

The records show that first lady Jill BidenJill BidenBiden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president Overnight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Sights and sounds from Biden's UK visit MORE met with leaders of prominent teachers’ unions — National Education Association president Becky Pringle and American Federal of Teachers president Randi Weingarten — on her first full day in office. The first lady also met with Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaLocal leaders build pressure on Biden to cancel student loans COVID relief vital to successful reopening of schools Judge ruling upholds Connecticut school mask mandate MORE, who had yet to be confirmed at the time, on the same day.

The logs record only two meetings between Biden and visitors. Biden met with Charles Luftig, who has since been named chief of staff at the Office of Director of National Intelligence, on Jan. 21.

The records also show a meeting between Biden and Lt. Gen. Brian Fenton, Lt. Col Caleb Hyatt, Charlene Austin, the wife of Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Austin says he's 'concerned' about Iranian ships in Atlantic Pentagon chief: Military has already started 'over-the-horizon' operations in Afghanistan MORE, Christopher Hill, and Reginald Hill on Jan. 25.

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Biden has held other official meetings at the White House that have been on his official schedule, such as meetings with House and Senate lawmakers on legislation. 

The White House said that as the pandemic begins to wane, more guests will be permitted at the White House. 

“As vaccinations increase and the pandemic response continues to make progress, we look forward to welcoming many more visitors onto the White House campus and back into the People’s House,” the White House said.

The White House said it is withholding logs that implicate privacy or law enforcement concerns or could compromise national security, and it is not releasing records of “purely personal guests” of either the first or second family that do not touch official or political business.

The White House also said it would not make available records of “a small group of particularly sensitive meetings” such as visits of possible Supreme Court nominees, but will disclose the number of such meetings that were withheld.

The administration is expected to release the logs on a monthly basis.

 

Updated 5:45 p.m.