Spicer pressed about White House decision to keep visitor logs secret: 'We're following the law'

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded during Monday's press briefing to questions about why the Trump administration decided to keep its visitor logs secret rather than opting for more transparency.

Spicer, pressed by multiple reporters on the move, said the administration was "following the law."

"As it was noted on Friday, we're following the same policy that every administration from the beginning of time has used with respect to visitor logs," Spicer said. "We will comply with both the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act as required by law."

Spicer said it was not a "question of objecting" to the visitor logs being made public.

"It's about following the law," he said. "We're following the law as both the presidential records act and the federal records act proscribes it."

He said the Obama administration's move to make the visitor logs public was a "faux attempt" at transparency, because the prior White House "would scrub whatever they didn't want out."

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White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price (L-R), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speak to reporters after the Congressional Budget Office released its score on proposed Republican health care legislation at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

White House Communications Director Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 2, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) takes questions during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

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U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017.

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White House spokesman Sean Spicer takes questions during his press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Trump aide Omarosa Manigault (C) watches as White House spokesman Sean Spicer (R) arrives for a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Rivals Brad Woodhouse (left) and Sean Spicer pose for a photograph outside Bullfeathers in Washington, D.C. on November 08, 2011. Sean Spicer and Brad Woodhouse (spokesmen for the RNC and DNC) hosts Congressional and other flacks to the 1st Annual 'Flacks for Flacks Who Wear Flak Jackets' Benefiting Military Public Affairs Officers serving in Afghanistan.

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Trump advisor Steve Bannon (2L), White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), and White House spokesman Sean Spicer look on before the announcement of the Supreme Court nominee at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer removes lint from Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller's jacket as he waits to go on the air in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, center, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

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White House Director of Oval Office Operations Keith Schiller (L) carries a red USA hat and a copy of Fortune magazine with U.S. President Donald Trump on the cover as he and Communications Director Sean Spicer (R) deplane from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a 'hallmark of our democracy.'

(Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stands alongside his wife, Mary Pat, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L), as US President Donald Trump signs House Joint Resolution 41, which removes some Dodd-Frank regulations on oil and gas companies, during a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 14, 2017. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer's first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media's reporting on the inauguration's crowd size.

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Stephen Miller(L) and Sean Spicer, arrive to meet with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on January 10, 2017.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer's first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media's reporting on the inauguration's crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

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Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer takes a photo with his cell phone on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

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(Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, incoming press secretary for President-elect Donald Trump leaves from Trump Tower after meetings on January 5, 2017, in New York.

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Chief Strategist and Communications Director at the Republican National Committee, Sean Spicer is interviewed in his office at the committee's headquarters on Monday August 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.

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National security adviser General Michael Flynn (L) arrives to deliver a statement next to Press Secretary Sean Spicer during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks as television screen displays journalists who participate in the daily briefing via Skype at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Donald Trump gestures to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) as he makes remarks to the press as he sits down for a working lunch with members of his cabinet and their spouses, including Veteran's Administration Secretary David Shulkin (2nd R) at Trump National Golf Club, Potomac Falls,Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., March 11, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
POTOMAC FALLS, VA - MARCH 11: White House Pres Secretary Sean Spicer briefs the press pool as President Donald Trump has a working lunch with staff and cabinet members and significant others at his golf course, Trump National on March 11, 2017 in Potomac Falls, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: White House Press secretary Sean Spicer points as he answers questions from members of the media and reporters, seen reflected in an exit sign, during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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The White House announced Friday that it would not be releasing the logs. A split from the Obama administration, the decision came after months of speculation about what Trump's administration would do with the records.

White House communications director Michael Dubke told Time the reversal was in the name of "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually."

The logs, which are maintained by the Secret Service, will be under wraps for at least five years after Trump leaves office. Trump officials made a point to note to Time that the Obama White House fought in court to keep elements of its logs, which were at times incomplete, redacted or withheld. Obama officials often took steps to get around the records, six million of which were voluntarily released by the administration, by meeting with individuals off the White House grounds, as Time noted.

Over the past few months, Spicer was pressed repeatedly about when the Trump administration would be publishing the visitor logs.

"We're reviewing that now," he told a reporter in late March.

"I think we should have an answer on our policy very shortly on that," he said earlier this week when asked.

In March, a slew of Democratic lawmakers introduced the MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would require disclosure of the visitor logs at the White House and Trump properties where the president frequents for government business.

"This stunning decision from the Trump White House raises an obvious question: what is President Trump trying to hide?" Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, the lawmaker who introduced the legislation, said in a statement. "Once again, this administration is stonewalling information that Congress and the American people have a right to see."

"Americans simply deserve to know who has access to the president and who is working to influence policy at the highest levels," he continued. "The president brings unprecedented conflicts of interest to the White House, and he already has taken actions in office that suggest he is more concerned with helping people like him – the wealthy and well–connected – than he is with empowering ordinary Americans. By refusing to release the White House visitor logs, President Trump is confirming widespread concerns that the special interests are getting special treatment in this administration. The president's promise to 'drain the swamp' has never rung more hollow than it does today."

Last week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the National Security Archive and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued the Department of Homeland Security — which is the department containing the Secret Service — for the visitor logs at the White House, Mar-a-Lago, and Trump Tower.

After news of the Trump administration's decision broke, Bookbinder wrote "it looks like we'll see them in court."

"It's disappointing that the man who promised to 'drain the swamp' just took a massive step away from transparency by refusing the release the White House visitor logs that the American people have grown accustomed to accessing over the last six years and that provide indispensable information about who is seeking to influence the president," he said in a statement. "The Obama administration agreed to release the visitor logs in response to our lawsuits, and despite the Trump administration's worry over 'grave national security risks and concerns,' only positives for the American people came out of them."

Watch Spicer's comments below:

NOW WATCH: 'Stop shaking your head again': Watch Spicer's tense exchange with a reporter over alleged White House scandals

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