Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday night tried to defend ex-President Donald Trump’s mishandling of White House documents by comparing it to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ripping up Trump’s widely distributed 2020 State of the Union speech.
During an interview on Newsmax, Meadows downplayed Trump reportedly tearing up documents on the regular and taking White House records to his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida instead of turning them over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as required.
“When we start talking about this was ripped up, it was taped back together – obviously that was preserved – it’s supposed to show some nefarious purpose but yet they will ignore Nancy Pelosi ripping something up on national TV behind the President,” Meadows complained.
“Those documents, I can tell you, we couldn’t find those either and yet, somehow, she got a pass,” he added.
It’s unclear why it would be necessary for Pelosi to preserve her copy of a public speech that Trump had just read aloud to Congress on national television.
Meadows also dismissed any comparison between Trump taking potentially classified documents to Mar-A-Lago and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton using her personal email server, arguing that the latter was more damning because Clinton was investigated.
“When a lot of that was actually happening with Hillary Clinton, there was actually an investigation. There were subpoenas,” he said.
Meadows has been subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 Committee in its probe into the Capitol insurrection and Trump’s role in inciting it. Additionally, the House Oversight Committee has opened an investigation into Trump’s handling of the documents.
Meadows insisted on Thursday that the Trump White House was very careful with documents, and denied New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman’s report that White House aides would find clumps of paper in the toilets that the then-president had apparently tried to flush.
“The staff secretary was very diligent in making sure that those documents were preserved for the federal records,” Meadows told Newsmax. “To suggest that somehow now that this should be news is just hard to imagine.”
Meadows’ head-spinning defenses came on the heels of a bombshell Washington Post report revealing that some of the documents in the 15 boxes of records Trump had taken to Mar-A-Lago were clearly marked as classified.
NARA has reportedly asked the Justice Department to investigate the matter, but it is unknown whether the agency has done so.