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You are here News Politics Inside the frantic, final days of record-keeping that landed Trump in hot water

Inside the frantic, final days of record-keeping that landed Trump in hot water

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Frantic final days of Trump presidency

Standing amid half-packed boxes in early 2021, staffers in the West Wing grabbed packages of presidential M&M’s and tried to obtain giant photos of the president and the first couple that adorned the walls, eager for a memento from their White House service.

Trump-themed accessories and memorabilia were snagged. Aides stood in empty offices and tried to find a moment to secure presidential greetings for a loved one’s upcoming birthday or anniversary.

It was part free-for-all, part fire sale. Souvenirs were kept, records were indiscriminately thrown away. The Oval Office and its adjacent private dining room were only packed up the weekend before former President Donald Trump moved out, former aides said.

So-called “burn bags” were widely present, according to two former Trump White House officials, with red stripes marking ones that held sensitive classified material meant to be destroyed. Such bags, according to Mark Zaid, an attorney well-steeped in national security law, are common. But one former official said that staff would put seemingly non-classified items in there too, such as handwritten letters and notes passed to principals.

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