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Mark Meadows reportedly used a White House fireplace to burn docs

Documents from the Trump White House are already damning on a historic scale. But what about the materials Mark Meadows may have literally set on fire?

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When taking stock of the Trump White House’s worst qualities, it’s easy to point to the former president and his team’s corruption, incompetence, mismanagement, bigotry, hostility toward the rule of law, wholesale indifference toward reason and evidence, and general disdain for democracy and the United States’ system of government.

And then there’s the issue of document retention.

Sure, it may not compete with Donald Trump’s efforts to prioritize his interests over the health and stability of the republic, but we’re occasionally reminded that these guys had a serious problem with the Presidential Records Act, which creates a legal requirement about the preservation and maintenance of presidential materials.

It’s against this backdrop that The New York Times reported on the Jan. 6 committee obtaining evidence about Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, putting his West Wing fireplace to use.

The committee has ... gathered testimony that Mr. Meadows used the fireplace in his office to burn documents, according to two people briefed on the panel’s questions. The committee has asked witnesses about how Mr. Meadows handled documents and records after the election. Mr. Meadows’s lawyer did not respond to a question about the testimony regarding the fireplace.

This reporting has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, though The Washington Post also reported that some of the witnesses who’ve spoken to the bipartisan select panel “said Meadows used his fireplace to burn documents.”

The Republican obviously wasn’t the only one destroying materials in the White House. Donald Trump, for example, had a habit of tearing up official records into pieces the size of confetti — even after his attorneys told him to stop doing this.

A few months ago, there was related reporting about Trump, during his presidency, trying to flush documents down a White House toilet.

This week, evidently, we’ve gone from a “down the drain” problem to an “up in smoke” problem.

Stepping back, the documents we’ve already seen from the Trump White House are some of the most damning in American history. It’s hard not to wonder what might have been in the materials Meadows literally set on fire.