Omarosa Says Trump Made a 'Habit' of Tearing Up White House Files — Including One 'Very Bizarre' Scene

The former Trump aide and Apprentice star has regularly feuded with her old boss since she was ousted from the White House in late 2017

Omarosa Manigault Newman. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty

On the heels of renewed news reports that former President Donald Trump was known to rip up important documents during his time in the White House, one ex-staffer says she isn't surprised by the behavior at all.

"He loved to tear up those documents," Omarosa Manigault Newman, the 48-year-old former Apprentice star and Trump aide-turned-Trump enemy, said in an interview on MSNBC on Monday.

"We got a very big briefing about presidential records and management ... we had been told that if you're with the president and he hands you something ... you have to account for that," Newman said.

She continued: "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. But 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."

She also claimed that she once saw Trump, 75, "chewing" a document he had just torn up after meeting with his former attorney Michael Cohen in the Oval Office.

"After [Trump attorney] Michael Cohen left the office and I walked in to the Oval, Donald — in my view — was chewing what he had just torn up," she said on MSNBC, later adding, "It was very bizarre because he is a germophobe he never puts paper in his mouth."

That incident, she said, "makes me worry that there are a lot of documents that may not be accounted for, that 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," she added.

Like her former boss, Newman has a history of headline-making — and sometimes disputed — statements and she has regularly feuded with Trump since she was fired from the White House in late 2017.

Her tell-all about her work with the administration described Trump as in "mental decline" and as a racist and misogynist. His spokeswoman said the book was full of "lies" and "false attacks" from a "disgruntled former White House employee."

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Donald Trump. Spencer Platt/Getty

Last week, the National Archives confirmed that some of the files it had received from Trump's time in office "included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump."

Some of those ripped-up and reconstructed documents were reportedly among the more than 700 pages turned over to lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, The Washington Post reported. (The Jan. 6 committee did not respond to PEOPLE's request for a comment; neither did a Trump spokeswoman.)

Trump had fought to keep the bipartisan House of Representatives committee from reviewing the documents as part of their investigation into the deadly rioting last year, but the Supreme Court rejected the former president's request to keep the records.

Trump has a longstanding habit of destroying files, per Politico, which reported in 2018 that he preferred to tear them up once finished with them — a problem after he took office. Government employees were required to reconstruct the files, in keeping with the law.

"I had a letter from [Sen. Chuck] Schumer — he tore it up," one official told Politico. "It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces."

In 2004, Newman rose to fame as reality TV villain on season 1 of The Apprenticewhere she was fired by Trump. But she remained in his orbit and joined his 2016 presidential campaign, where she was eventually hired as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison before her infamous ousting in 2017.

Shortly after Newman's tell-all was published, Trump's campaign filed arbitration saying that she had violated a 2016 confidentiality agreement, but a New York arbitrator ruled last year that the agreement was "vague and unenforceable."

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