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Ex-WH Aide: Trump's Paper-Ripping Habit 'Craziest Thing Ever'

Aides were tasked with taping shredded documents back together
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2018 8:02 AM CDT
President Trump meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, ahead of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Monday in Singapore.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump's "odd and enduring habit" of ripping paperwork to shreds when he's done with it has spawned a Politico report that's raising some eyebrows over a strange job apparently given to White House staffers. Solomon Lartey and Reginald Young Jr., two former White House aides who said "they were happy to discuss the oddity of a job they began to view as a sort of punishment," told Politico that before they were abruptly fired this spring, they were tasked with taping together documents that Trump had ripped up to prevent him from getting in trouble for possibly violating the Presidential Records Act. That mandate requires all presidential records—emails, memos, and other correspondence handled by Trump—to be preserved, which apparently doesn't sync up with what some describe as his "unofficial 'filing system.'"

Lartey, who'd worked in government for almost three decades before he was fired, says he and others would tackle mounds of shredded paper, putting pieces back together "like a jigsaw puzzle." "I had a letter from [Chuck] Schumer—[Trump] tore it up," Lartey says. "It was the craziest thing ever." A former Obama staffer tells Politico her boss had a "structured" record-keeping procedure, complete with color-coded folders, while a person said to be in the know on Trump's procedure notes he simply tore up "anything that happened to be on his desk that he was done with"—even after aides warned him to stop. CNN reports Trump has come under fire before for possible records act violations, notably when he deletes his own tweets (electronic media are considered presidential records). The White House, though, has said it has a backup system to preserve even the deleted tweets. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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