Trump’s former White House chief of staff said he saw the former president rip documents in half

  • A former White House chief of staff told CNN he saw Donald Trump tearing up official documents. 
  • “You’re not supposed to do that, but there’s a way to fix it,” Mick Mulvaney said.
  • Aides have said that Trump had such a distinct ripping style they knew when he destroyed a document.

Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said he witnessed former President Donald Trump tearing documents up while serving in office.

“I saw the president rip documents in half. Not confidential documents, but just draft documents. You’re not supposed to do that, but there’s a way to fix it,” he said in an interview with CNN. “Which is you just find the pieces and you just tape them together.”

“I used to rip up documents in the private sector all the time,” he continued. “It’s not an indication of ill intent.”

Scrutiny into the preservation of documents under the Trump administration started partly after, earlier this year, New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman revealed in a forthcoming book that the president had clogged a toilet by flushing torn pieces of paper down it

Trump at the time denied the report, slamming it as a “fake story.” It’s “categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book,” Trump said.

But accounts from former aides — including Mulvaney — differed from what Trump said.

Former Trump administration aides instantly knew when a document had been torn by the former president, as Insider previously reported.

Trump had such a distinct style of ripping that became familiar to his aides. He would tear each document twice — once down the middle horizontally and once vertically — leaving the paper in four quarters. When aides saw these documents torn up in this manner, according to The Post, they immediately knew Trump had done it. 

The former president would then leave the documents scattered across desks and in trash cans all over the White House. Documents were also strewn across floors, and aides found them in the Oval Office and aboard Air Force One.

This month, the FBI probed into the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and recovered 11 boxes containing classified records that Trump took with him from the White House once he left office, according to the court records made public Friday. Some of the boxes were distinctly marked as “top secret,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported

Under the Presidential Records Act, he should have turned the records over to the agency upon leaving office.

But Mulvaney in the CNN interview insisted that there was a system in place to ensure something like that didn’t happen.

“The staff is supposed to get involved,” he said. “If the president has confidential materials on his desk at the end of one meeting, which is possible … the staff comes in to make sure that all of that stuff is gone and put in a proper place before the next meeting takes place.”

“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 inside every properly functioning West Wing to make sure the law is followed, documents are preserved, and the classified information is treated like classified information.”