Former president Donald Trump's destruction of documents didn't just violate the Presidential Records Act — it was part of a cover-up related to the Capitol insurrection, according to MSNBC analyst Neal Katyal.
Appearing on MSNBC on Tuesday night, the former federal prosecutor was asked what the Department of Justice needs to investigate Trump for his habit of ripping up official White House records.
"A spine," Katyal responded. "This is easy. This is not hard."
"Trump's defense is, 'Well, I ran my business this way. I used to evidently tear up records like a toddler there, too,'" Katyal said. "That is not a defense! You're the president of the United States. There was a law passed to deal expressly with this after President Nixon's attempted destruction of documents and the like. It's called the Presidential Records Act, and it's very clear. I suppose Trump has had stressful work experiences. It must have been frustrating for him to stroll into the White House at 3 p.m. on any given day and find somebody covered his desk with more of that paper with the strange squiggles on it, but you know, you can't tear it up."
"It's not just the planning of Jan. 6. It's not just Jan. 6 itself, but it's the cover-up afterward," he added. "Donald Trump is part of that, first by tearing up these documents like a toddler — he did that incompetently, so they were able to piece a lot of these documents back together at the National Archives. So then he exerted executive privilege over these documents. He lost that 8-1 at the Supreme Court. So now he' trying to prevent anyone from coming in and talking about the documents, by saying I'll give you a pardon, or this or that. ... This is all part of a coverup."
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