In a filing late Wednesday night, a Secret Service official said the agency does not have complete visitor logs for President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and that it is not aware of any system to keep track of visitors to the President there.
The declaration from Special Agent Kim Campbell filed by the Department of Justice came in response to an April Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University,and the National Security Archives. The groups sued for access to visitors records from the White House, Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago.
In September, the Justice Department released the names of only 22 visitors to Mar-a-Lago, all from the weekend Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Trump there. At the time, CREW scoffed at the incomplete records release.
Now, the Secret Service has offered an explanation for its failure to release a full list of presidential visitors as Mar-a-Lago.
Campbell wrote in the declaration 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,” Campbell added.
Campbell said that the Secret Service searched in several places, including emails from Secret Service employees, for records of visitors to Trump at Mar-a-Lago but came up empty handed. She added that the Secret Service did not include in its search records for Trump family members, White House staff, cabinet leaders or local law enforcement officials scheduled to meet the President.
In a filing accompanying Campbell’s declaration, the Justice Department argued that it had not failed to comply with a court order laying out a schedule for handing over documents, noting that the order was only about scheduling, and was not a “determination on the merits as to the legal status of the Mar-a-Lago records.”