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The Biden administration will publish the diaries of White House visitors, reversing Trump’s policies



Incoming White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said late Friday that the administration of President-elect Joe Biden will resume the tradition of publishing diaries of White House visitors after Biden opens next week.

“For the sake of clarity, the Biden-Harris administration will return to the policy of releasing diaries of White House visitors,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “It is also true that visitors will be limited for some time, as safety during a pandemic is a top priority.”

Psaki clarified the administration’s data on the publication of visitor diaries hours after she refused to do so during her appearance at a briefing for a transitional team on Friday afternoon. During the briefing, Psaki was asked if her team would resume the release of visitor diaries after President Trump ended the practice during his term.

In response, Psaki said the Biden administration wanted to “ensure we are transparent”

; but did not commit to publishing the diaries.

“I wouldn’t expect many visitors in the first months, especially because of COVID,” Psaki told the event. “It will be quite limited, but we will soon have more to say about it.”

Psaki added that the White House press team will have “more to say” about its ethical policy in the coming days. Biden will be sworn in as president next Wednesday.

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The Trump administration stopped releasing diaries of White House visitors for public consumption in 2017, citing national security concerns.

The decision reversed the Obama-era practice of publishing the diaries and sparked a series of lawsuits by groups that tried to force the administration to uncover them. The Clinton and Bush administrations also restricted access to visitors’ diaries.

White House director of communications during the Obama administration, Psaki, criticized Trump’s refusal to publish the diaries in recent years. In 2017, Psaki praised former Obama administration office Ned Price for “calling for Trump’s bluff” about the security risks of releasing logs in the foreign policy publication.

In a tweet in 2019, Psaki said the Obama administration’s policy of releasing diaries was a “headache at the time” but “good for democracy.”

This story has been updated.


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