Earlier this week, we reported on an appalling revelation from the National Archives when they explained that several of the documents they sent over to the January 6th House Select Committee had seemingly been ripped to pieces by now-ex-President Donald Trump and taped back together by aides who were left not knowing what else to do.
Now, a new report from the Washington Post has exposed even more detail surrounding Trump’s pesky, and downright illegal, habit of ripping up his White House records during his term in office — despite multiple warnings that what he was doing was a direct violation of federal law — and frankly, it’s even worse than we realized.
“The documents included briefings and schedules, articles and letters, memos both sensitive and mundane,” the report reveals. “He ripped 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.”
“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,” WaPo goes on to explain.
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It was so bad, in fact, that Trump’s team was reportedly forced to implement a specific protocol to try to deal with the numerous torn and destroyed official records, usually landing them stuck “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,” the newspaper writes.
“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 reports. “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.”
So now we basically have yet another thing to sit around and wonder why Donald Trump isn’t in jail for it.
You can read the full report here.
Featured image via Political Tribune gallery