- A former White House chief of staff told CNN he saw Donald Trump tear up official documents.
- “You’re not supposed to do that, but there’s a way to fix it,” Mick Mulvaney said.
- Aid workers have said Trump had the same outspoken ripping style they knew when he destroyed a document.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he witnessed former President Donald Trump tear up documents while in office.
“I saw the president tear documents in half. Not confidential documents, just draft documents. It’s not supposed to do that, but there is a way to fix it,” he said in an interview with CNN. “What is you just find the pieces and just stick them together.”
“I used to shred documents in the private sector,” he continued. “It’s not an indication of malicious intent.”
Document retention investigations under the Trump administration began in part after, earlier this year, New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman revealed in an upcoming book that the president had clogged a toilet to flush. torn pieces of paper inside.
Trump denied the report at the time, calling it a “fake story.” It is “categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter to gain publicity for a largely fictional book,” Trump said.
But the accounts of former aides — including Mulvaney — differed from what Trump said.
Former Trump administration aides knew immediately when a document had been torn by the former president, Insider previously reported.
Trump had such a distinct ripping style that his aides became famous. He tore each document twice – once horizontally in the middle and once vertically – leaving the paper in four quarters. When aides saw these documents torn up in this way, they immediately knew Trump had done it, according to The Post.
The former president would then leave the documents scattered across desks and in trash cans throughout the White House. Documents were also scattered across the floors, and aides found them in the Oval Office and aboard Air Force One.
This month, the FBI investigated former President Mar-a-Lago’s Florida residence and found 11 boxes of classified documents Trump took from the White House when he left office, according to court records released Friday. Some of the boxes were clearly marked as “top secret,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported.
Under the Presidential Records Act, he should have handed over the records to the bureau upon his departure.
But Mulvaney in the CNN interview insisted that there was a system in place to make sure nothing like this happened.
“The staff needs to be involved,” he said. “If the president has confidential material on his desk at the end of a meeting, which is possible, the staff will come in to make sure all that stuff is gone and put in a proper place before the next meeting.”
“You can’t control the president,” Mulvaney continued. “The president is going to do what the president is going to do. But there are mechanisms in every functioning West Wing to ensure that the law is followed, documents are preserved and the classified information is treated as classified information.”