Donald Trump asked to turn over Mar-a-Lago visitor records

The Mar-a-Lago estate owned by US President Donald Trump is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, US on April 5, 2017.
The Mar-a-Lago estate owned by US President Donald Trump is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, US on April 5, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US court has asked President Donald Trump's staff to turn over records of visitors to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to a ruling made public Monday (July 17).

As president, Trump has visited his southern bolthole - which he calls the "Winter White House" - seven times between February and May when it closed for the season, according to an AFP tally.

The constant string of visitors raised transparency concerns and prompted a legal challenge from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

In response, a New York court has asked the Secret Service to turn over records of the people who visited Trump by Sept 8.

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"The public deserves to know who is coming to meet with the president and his staff," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said.

"We are glad that as a result of this case, this information will become public for meetings at his personal residences-but it needs to be public for meetings at the White House as well."

The group has also challenged Trump's decision to stop publishing White House visitors' logs, a case that is ongoing.

CREW told AFP they would be looking closely to see the scope of what is turned over.

The court has asked for "records of presidential visitors," but it is not yet clear how broadly that is defined.

Trump owns Mar-a-Lago, but the resort has numerous members and guests who stay on site, having paid membership to the president's firm.