Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he smiles while speaking at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, File)
Former President Trump’s personal White House aide told the Jan. 6 committee that he personally witnessed his old boss tearing up documents, CBS News reported Tuesday. “Did I ever see him tear up notes? I don't know what the documents were, but there [was] tearing,” Nick Luna told investigators on March 21, according to CBS News, which obtained audio recordings of his testimony.
Trump’s enthusiasm for not complying with the Presidential Records Act, which mandates that presidential documents be carefully preserved and then handed over to the National Archives, is well-known. In fact, it’s the source of one of the many current investigations into him. Luna’s testimony provides even more evidence for the case that Trump, who was just referred for criminal charges by the congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot, may have intentionally broken that law.Luna, who was the director of Oval Office Operations and was with Trump regularly on Jan. 6, also told the Jan. 6 committee that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows instructed him not to come into a room where Trump was meeting with Republican state legislators to strategize overturning Trump’s re-election loss. Luna also said that Meadows gave him a “directive” ahead of a meeting with state legislators, according to CBS News.“There was one instance where it would normally be my job to go in and make sure that the president is comfortable in wherever the situation is—if he's sitting in the chair or something like that,” Luna told investigators. “And I remember specifically this instance he had said, do not, don't come in. Don't come into the room today.”
Luna clarified that Meadows had told him to do that “two or three times” while working in the White House, but when asked if this was a “rare occurrence,” Luna responded: “Yes, that’s correct.” On Monday, the Jan. 6 committee released an executive summary of its 1,100-plus page report, which will be released in full Wednesday. Trump’s campaign issued a statement to CBS News blasting the Jan. 6 Committee again. “The Jan. 6 Unselect Committee held show-trials by Never-Trump partisans who are a stain on this country's history,” the statement read. “This Kangaroo court has been nothing more than a vanity project that insults Americans' intelligence and makes a mockery of our democracy."On Monday, the Jan. 6 committee also referred Trump to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution for a host of crimes related to the Capitol riot and the broader effort to overturn the election. It’s the first time Congress has ever referred a U.S. president for criminal prosecution. "In the Committee's judgment, based on all the evidence developed, President Trump believed then, and continues to believe now, that he is above the law, not bound by our Constitution and its explicit checks on Presidential authority," the Committee said in its 100-plus page executive summary of the report. "If President Trump and his associates who assisted him in an effort to overturn the lawful outcome of the 2020 election are not ultimately held accountable under the law, their behavior may become a precedent and invitation to danger for future elections,” the executive summary said.Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.