Gone to pieces.

The words “White House tapes” has for nearly half a century conjured very specific flashbacks: Richard Nixon, Rose Mary Woods and the 18-and-a-half-minute gap, Haldeman, Dean, and the rest; the term “smoking gun”; and (a favorite) Nixon’s eloquent “Goddammit, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get them. The way I want that handled is … just to break in. Break in and take it out! You understand? … You are to break into the place, rifle the files, and bring them out … Just go in and take it!”

Memories, memories. To those associations we must now add another kind of tape—the Scotch kind—and the image of White House underlings sitting around laboriously re-assembling the countless documents Donald Trump habitually shredded during his presidency.