Staffers must tape back together presidential records Trump rips up, report says

Ex-WH aides describe 'adult puzzle' of taping up Trump's torn-up documents

An entire department of records management employees pieced materials back together "like a jigsaw puzzle", former employee Solomon Lartey told Politico, so the administration won't break the law.

Lartey said the papers he received included newspaper clips on which Trump had scribbled notes, or circled words; invitations; and letters from constituents or lawmakers on the Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "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".

The Presidential Records Act says every document during a presidency is publicly owned and must be filed and saved as historical record at the National Archives.

Presidential records can take several forms, including electronic media, like tweets.

But Mr Trump has, over his career, developed a habit of ripping up paper after he's finished, throwing it in the bin or on the floor.

The White House didn't comment to Politico on the filing system used. There, Lartey told Politico, they would tape the pieces together - sometimes the paper was merely shredded in half, other times it was basically confetti - and then send the restored papers to their supervisors.

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"I'm looking at my director, and saying, 'Are you guys serious?'", Mr Young said.

'We're making more than $60,000 (£45,000) a year, we need to be doing far more important things than this.

Politico first reported the efforts made by record-keeping officials in the Trump administration to tape back together papers Trump destroyed.

Lartey and Young said the practice was still going on this spring, when they were abruptly fired from their jobs with no explanation.

One of his colleagues, Reginald Young Jr., who worked as a senior records management analyst, said that during over two decades of government service, he had never been asked to do such a thing.

"I was stunned", Lartey said. "Some nights, I cried and I was mad because I got comfortable". He had never had to tape the president's papers back together again.

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