Trump companies destroyed emails and other documents judges ordered him to turn over: report
Donald Trump speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Donald Trump has slammed Hillary Clinton for deleting more than 30,000 emails from her personal server -- but the Republican presidential nominee's companies have systematically destroyed records sought by his opponents in lawsuits.

Court filings, judicial orders and affidavits show Trump's employees destroyed or hid thousands of emails, digital records and other documents demanded as part of official proceedings, reported Kurt Eichenwald for Newsweek.

Some of the destruction violated court orders, and the tactic often forced contractors, former business partners and others entangled in lawsuits with Trump to "spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled—sometimes in vain—to obtain records," Eichenwald reported.

Trump tells his supporters that Clinton engaged in similar tactics to destroy government documents, and his claims are frequently met with chants of "lock her up."

The real estate developer employed that strategy -- "deny, impede and delay, while destroying documents the court had ordered them to hand over" -- dating back to 1973, when Trump and his father battled the federal government over racist housing discrimination claims.

Trump has fed misleading information to reporters about his lawsuits, threatened libel lawsuits against his critics and lied during sworn statements, Eichenwald reported.

The review showed Trump had disregarded rules and abused the judicial system for decades -- which Eichenwald said explained much of his behavior since announcing his White House bid.

"He promised to turn over his tax returns and his health records -- just as he promised to comply with document discovery requirements in so many lawsuits -- then reneged," Eichenwald wrote. "As a result, he has left a sparse evidentiary trail that can be used to assess his wealth, his qualifications for the presidency or even his fitness."