The Washington Post reported Saturday that former President Donald Trump tore up “hundreds” of White House records during his administration, in clear violation of federal law, despite “multiple admonishments.”
“The documents included briefings and schedules, articles and letters, memos both sensitive and mundane,” the Post reported. “He ripped the paper into quarters with two big, clean strokes — or occasionally more vigorously, into smaller scraps.
He left the detritus on his desk in the Oval Office, in the trash can of his private West Wing study, and on the floor aboard Air Force One, among many other places. And he did it all in violation of the Presidential Records Act, despite being urged by at least two chiefs of staff and the White House counsel to follow the law on preserving documents.”
Trump’s long-reported practice of destroying official documents made headlines again this week when the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection received records from the National Archives that appeared to have been taped back together.
“Interviews with 11 former Trump staffers, associates and others familiar with the habit reveal that Trump’s shredding of paper was far more widespread and indiscriminate than previously known and — despite multiple admonishments — extended throughout his presidency, resulting in special practices to deal with the torn fragments,” the Post reported Saturday.
Trump’s team reportedly implemented protocols to deal with the torn records, which involved “jigsawing the documents back together with clear tape.”
“It is unclear how many records were lost or permanently destroyed through Trump’s ripping routine, as well as what consequences, if any, he might face. Hundreds of documents, if not more, were likely torn up, those familiar with the practice say,” according to the newspaper.
“One senior Trump White House official said he and other White House staffers frequently put documents into ‘burn bags’ to be destroyed, rather than preserving them, and would decide themselves what should be saved and what should be burned,” the Post reported.
“When the Jan. 6 committee asked for certain documents related to Trump’s efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence, for example, some of them no longer existed in this person’s files because they had already been shredded, said someone familiar with the request.”
Raw Story’s By John Wright contributed to this report