For one key reason, the House select committee that spent months investigating the lead-up to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 had to go above and beyond to obtain White House documents from the National Archives: former President Donald Trump tried everything he could to keep them out of their hands. According to The Washington Post, the documents were ultimately provided to lawmakers two weeks ago, but there was a catch: some of them had been shredded into bits and then taped back together.
It’s not a surprise that this is the case. Donald Trump had a strange (and potentially illegal) practice of tearing up official White House paperwork and throwing them on the floor, leaving assistants scrambling to tape them back together, often with confetti-like fragments. That would be a flagrant violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of all presidential documents such as memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes, and any other correspondence relating to presidential duties.
Unfortunately, not all of them had been rebuilt. The committee discovered a handful of documents among the 700 they obtained from the National Archives that had never been put back together by some bad assistants.
The behavior was just one of many rules and even laws that Trump enthusiastically flouted throughout his one-year presidency. Because the documents Trump tore up are technically government property, what he did “may be a criminal under many statutes,” according to a law scholar at New York University.
Trump, on the other hand, has made it obvious that if he ever has to pay for any of his numerous alleged misdeeds, he may just summon his fans once more.