“Why are you always writing in that book?”

Time and again, Mr. Trump’s advisers took notes of their interactions with the president or drafted memos immediately afterward to maintain real-time records, in some cases simply to have an accurate understanding to do their jobs better, but in other cases for self-preservation. While aides in past administrations recognized that notes could become public and shied away from recording sensitive information in writing to protect the president, many of Mr. Trump’s aides took pen to paper to protect themselves from the president…

W. Neil Eggleston, who served as a lawyer for President Bill Clinton and as White House counsel to President Barack Obama, said taking notes in such jobs can be problematic because it creates a record that investigators or political foes can try to obtain and then distort for partisan gain.

“I didn’t take notes when I worked with either president,” he said. “But I thought that was protecting the president, not protecting me. This notion of people taking notes to make sure they’re not part of a criminal conspiracy, that’s something I had never considered. That’s the reason they took these notes. They took these notes to protect themselves.”…

Either way, the practice contributed to a corrosive atmosphere of mistrust. As one former White House official put it, the “good guys” took notes to protect themselves, and the “bad guys” did it to make money.