There's a Weird Problem With Some of Trump's Papers

They had to be taped back together after the former president tore them up
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2022 9:30 AM CST
There's a Weird Problem With Some of Trump's Papers
   (Getty/Coprid)

(Newser) – Some of Donald Trump's presidential papers being examined by a House panel are harder to read than others for an odd reason: They had to be taped back together after being torn into tiny pieces by the then-president. The National Archives confirmed the quirk on Monday, reports CNN. The issue involves a longstanding habit of Trump, one that predates the presidency—he likes to rip up documents, sometimes into confetti-sized pieces, when he's done with them and toss them on the floor or into the trash. In fact, Politico detailed this back in 2018 with a story headlined "Meet the guys who tape Trump's papers back together." It seems the habit continued throughout the Trump presidency.

The Politico story described the habit as Trump's "unofficial 'filing system.'" Of course, it's one thing to rip up papers as a businessman and another as president. Under the Presidential Records Act, a president's documents must be preserved for posterity. “Destroying them could be a crime under several statutes that make it a crime to destroy government property if that was the intent of the defendant,” NYU law professor Stephen Gillers tells the Washington Post. “A president does not own the records generated by his own administration."

The Archives turned over about 700 documents last month to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, after the Supreme Court rejected Trump's attempt to keep them out of the panel's hands. It's not clear how many of the documents were taped up. "Some of the Trump presidential records received by the National Archives and Records Administration included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump," says a statement from the Archives, adding that some of the documents were not reconstructed at all. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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