According to Stephanie Grisham, “paranoid” Donald Trump conducted multiple “off the books” sessions in the White House in order to keep details out of the National Archives.
During the Trump administration, Grisham, who served as White House press secretary and chief of staff for First Lady Melania Trump, appeared on CNN and stated that the president had “a lot of” closed-door meetings that were not listed on his public calendar.
By having the meetings off the books, “anything that was written down could probably be thrown in the trash”, she said.
Grisham spoke out as the former president continues to try to stop the publication of National Archives documents linked to the January 6 disturbance at the US Capitol.
The records were requested by the House Select Committee on January 6 as part of its probe of Trump’s supporters’ violent insurgency, which left five people dead.
However, according to Grisham, many conversations were never recorded.
“Lots of meetings take place in the residence where I’m hoping they are looking at call logs but I have a feeling even that sometimes things weren’t even put into call logs,” she said.
The goal, according to Grisham, was twofold.
“A lot of meetings took place because the president at the time was so paranoid of leaks that a lot of meetings took place in the residence,” she said.
“Number one so that he could keep track of who was in there and that if it leaked out he could try to figure that out.
“But number two so that it was very much kept off the books and documents and anything that was written down could probably be thrown in the trash where people can’t come and retrieve them to put into the archives.”
Grisham then added: “So that happened quite a bit and I’m sure the Select Committee is aware of that and is looking into that.”
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to Grisham, was engaged in the organizing of some of these encounters.
“Mark Meadows was one towards the end who was definitely helping to plan those meetings so I think Mark Meadows should be spoken to, I think that he will stall,” she said.
Meadows refused to attend for a deposition before the House Select Committee on Friday morning, putting him in jeopardy of being charged with contempt of Congress.
Mississippi Rep Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairperson, had issued a subpoena to the former senior White House adviser, demanding that he testify before the committee and hand over papers related to the Capitol incident.
His compliance with the subpoena had been extended as he attempted to reach an agreement with the committee on the parameters of his compliance.
On Thursday, though, he was instructed to appear the next morning.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee’s ranking member, verified Meadows’ absence and said they were considering filing contempt charges.
His failure to appear coincided with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) indictment of Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress after he, too, refused to comply with the committee’s summons.
After a House vote last month, Bannon, who functioned as a Trump adviser, was sent to the DOJN.
A federal appeals court temporarily prevented the National Archives from giving over records to the committee on Friday, dealing a blow to the investigation.
The documents must be released by Friday, according to a federal judge who ordered on Tuesday.
However, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order while Trump appeals their release.
The deadline for oral arguments in Trump’s appeal has been set for November 30.
The records should not be shared, according to the former president, because of presidential privilege.
Because Trump is no longer president, he is no longer covered by executive privilege, according to President Joe Biden.