Trump aide claims Mark Meadows was burning so many documents his wife complained of ‘bonfire’ smell

Cassidy Hutchinson describes paranoid atmosphere of final days of Trump presidency

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 24 September 2023 13:30 EDT
Donald Trump addresses election rigging in Meet the Press interview

White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows was burning so many documents at the end of the Trump presidency that his wife complained about the dry-cleaning bill caused by the “bonfire” smell from his clothes, according to a former aide.

Cassidy Hutchinson, whose memoir on her time in the Trump administration comes out this week, told The New York Times, that staff were using so-called “burn bags” to dispose of unneeded documents and other “litter” that had accumulated as part of White House business.

But according to Ms Hutchinson, Mr Meadows feared that burn bags could be intercepted by his enemies before they were destroyed so opted to toss documents into a fireplace.

The Independent has attempted to reach Mr Meadows for comment.

Ms Hutchinson was a key witness during last year’s House Select Committee investigation into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

She testified that Mr Trump had lunged at a Secret Service officer and attempted to grab the steering wheel of his vehicle after being informed that agents would not allow him to march to the Capitol during the riot.

She also told the committee that a number of prominent Republicans sought presidential pardons in the wake of the Jan 6 attack including Mr Meadows and Mr Giuiliani.

In her interview with The Times, Ms Hutchinson also alleged that Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s lawyer, groped her under her skirt on Jan 6.

Mr Giuliani has denied the allegation and called it “completely absurd”.

In a separate interview on Sunday with CBS News Sunday Morning, Ms Hutchinson described Mr Trump as an existential threat to the future of the United States.

"I would … like to make clear. I would not back the former president of the United States," she said. "He is dangerous for the country. He is willing and has showed, time and time again, willingness to proliferate lies to vulnerable American people so he could stay in power. … To me, that is the most un-American thing that you can do."

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