Trump filled ‘burn bags’ with shredded White House records in violation of federal law, report says

Donald Trump’s well-known habit of ripping up documents didn’t stop once he entered the White House, where staff reportedly resorted to taping together mounds of shredded paper. But the practice was “much more widespread and indiscriminate than previously known” and spread throughout his four years in office, according to Washington Post.

White House documents, from schedules to confidential memos, were regularly torn into quarters and dumped in dumpsters or on the floor of Air Force One, or stuffed into “burn bags” to be incinerated at the Pentagon. , just for helpers to classify the content. content to determine which fragments should be kept under federal law, the newspaper reported.

Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must retain all documents touched by the president for the National Archives and Records Administration to keep.

The former president’s relentless habit of destroying sensitive documents was reportedly in clear violation of the law, according to Courtney Chartier, president of the Society of American Archivists.

She told the newspaper: “There is no ignorance of these laws. There are White House manuals on keeping these records.”

To avoid such scrutiny, assistants from the Office of the Personnel Secretary or Oval Office Operations would clean up the piles of discarded documents once the former president left the room, while staff from the Office of Records Management The White House would be responsible for “doing puzzles.” ” the pieces together, using transparent tape, according to The charge.

Documents recently obtained by the House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol received Trump-era White House documents that had to be pasted down after previous attempts to destroy them.

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The National Archives confirmed that the documents the agency received “included paper records that had been destroyed by former President Trump.”

Other White House documents submitted to the agency had not been reconstructed at all, according to the Archives.

The Archives delivered more than 750 pages of requested documents to the committee last month.

It’s unclear how many Trump-era documents were lost or permanently destroyed, though a source told The Post there could be hundreds.

The report details the alleged depths of the Trump administration’s unprecedented destruction of sensitive records, glimpsed in 2018 after Politico described the former president’s “filing system.”

“We have duct tape, the transparent kind,” former assistant Solomon Lartey told the outlet at the time. “You found pieces and put them back together and then returned them to the supervisor.”

In December 2020, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the National Security Archive, the Society of American Foreign Relations Historians, and the American Historical Association against the Trump administration to “prevent a potential bonfire” of White House records. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case last year after the Joe Biden administration took office.

Among those documents are digital files, including deleted Twitter posts and other social media messages from White House staff, including WhatsApp messages, used for official government business.

the independent has requested comment from a Trump spokesman.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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