September 19, 2017

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Watchdogs Try To Get Mar-A-Lago Answers; Mostly Turn Up More Questions

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This March 11, 2016, file photo, shows the Mar-a-Lago Club, owned by President Donald Trump, in Palm Beach, Fla. Lynne Sladky/AP hide caption

toggle caption Lynne Sladky/AP

Two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are raising questions about President Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida: Who stayed there, how much they did they pay and who received the profits?

In one FOIA action, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), an advocacy group, requested the visitors log for Mar-A-Lago. Such records would potentially show who met with or accompanied the president from January through March this year.

What CREW got from the Justice Department was a list of 22 names of people who accompanied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago in February. The list included Abe’s butler and the van driver.

“The remaining records that the Secret Service has processed in response to the Mar-a-Lago contain, reflect, or otherwise relate to the President’s schedules,” wrote Chad Readler, the acting assistant attorney general, and Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a letter to CREW.

Readler and Kim said the government believes that presidential

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