Mr Trump “loved to tear up those documents,” Ms Manigault Newman told MSNBC after The Washington Post reported that the National Archives recovered 15 boxes of documents that Mr Trump had wrongly had shipped to his Florida residence.
The former adviser said that there are “certainly things that I’m sure cannot be accounted for because Donald Trump became very, very aware that a lot of these sensitive documents would at some point be made public”.
“After [Trump fixer] Michael Cohen left the office and I walked into the Oval, Donald, in my view, was chewing what he had just torn up,” she told MSNBC. “It was very bizarre because he is a germophobe he never puts paper in his mouth.”
After being fired in 2017 – the first year of Mr Trump’s presidency – Ms Manigault Newman has become an outspoken Trump critic.
“His habit of tearing these things up … my heart truly goes out to the people responsible for going in the trash bins [and] recovering these things,” she told the cable news network.
It was reported over the weekend that Mr Trump wrongly took some presidential documents from the White House as he left for Mar-a-Lago.
“In mid-January 2022, NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021,” the National Archives said in a statement on Monday following a report by The Washington Post.
“The Presidential Records Act mandates that all presidential records must be properly preserved by each administration so that a complete set of presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the administration,” Archivist David Ferriero said in the statement.
He added that the National Archives “pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts”.
Ms Manigault added that staff in the Trump White House were briefed on the Presidential Records Act and that “we had been told that if you’re with the president and he hands you something … you have to account for that”.
She said among the lost records, “there may be documents that can tell the full story about what happened on the days leading up to January 6th, for instance, that we may never see or may never come to light”.
The Independent has reached out to representatives for Ms Manigault Newman and Mr Trump for comment.