The announcement, from an administration that has faced pointed questions about its commitment to transparency, marks a significant shift from an Obama White House that released the names of almost 6 million visitors, a total that includes lobbyists, during Obama's tenure. Under a separate statute, much of that information can become public years after Donald Trump leaves office.
The announcement that the logs would remain secret quickly drew criticism from watchdog groups.
Days later, Nunes was forced to acknowledge that the documents came from the White House, and that he had traveled there to view them.
The decision marks yet another disconnect between the rhetoric Trump used during the Obama era and his actions as president. Some visitor logs to White House departments will be able to be found under the Freedom of Information Act, but most will not.
The logs of those who visit the White House will be kept secret by the Trump administration, Time magazine is reporting.
Obama's policy was crafted in 2009 in response to a series of lawsuits. The Obama policy included privacy exceptions for private visits to his family or those attending "sensitive" meetings.
Not only will the new White House policy allow Trump to meet with lobbyists and donors without the public knowing about it, but it will allow him to meet secretly with individuals connected to the Trump Organization, including his sons Eric and Donald Jr. They also said that Obama aides conducted meetings at a nearby coffee shop.
Along with the policy reversal comes the end of the open WhiteHouse.gov website, which the administration calls duplicative of other federal government information sites.
"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", said Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of CREW.
Others have argued that the records are subject to disclosure under the FOIA because they are created by the Secret Service, which is an agency covered by the law.
Under President Barack Obama the records of visitors were published on a White House maintained website, The Washington Post reported. "He is the least transparent President - ever - and he ran on transparency". Normally, with some exemptions, such information is typically contained in the visitor logs.
The new Trump administration policy means business meetings between Trump and his sons could now take place at the White House without the public knowing.
White House communications director Michael Dubke said in a statement that the decision was due to the "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually", NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
With new new policy, the White House officials made clear Friday that they believe Trump is under no legal obligation to disclose visitors to the complex.
Visitation to the White House has been a hot issue for many administrations, but has been in the spotlight recently because of U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican who previously was heading the House investigation into the White House and foreign influence. There has been very little disclosure of meetings with staff.