July 21, 2020

Trump administration redacts meeting minutes on the presidential transition

The Trump administration has redacted the meeting minutes pertaining to its presidential transition activities, which are required by law, raising concerns from former officials and experts. 

As the November election approaches, the Trump administration must adhere to various legal requirements to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power if the president is not reelected. Under the 2015 Presidential Transitions Improvement Act, which amended the 1963 Presidential Transition Act, the president must establish a White House coordinating committee and council of agency transition directors six months prior to the election. In its guidance in April on how agencies should be preparing, the Office of Management and Budget noted that the latter council would meet on May 27. On June 17, Government Executive submitted a request for the meeting minutes to OMB and the General Services Administration under the Freedom of Information Act and on Friday received a response from GSA that was almost entirely redacted (OMB acknowledged the request but did not respond). The text under sections titled “Key discussion items from the meeting” and “Key action items from the meeting” was completely blacked out.   

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