On Monday, Axios published photos of some of former President Donald Trump’s handwritten notes that had been flushed down a toilet in the White House. The pics were obtained by Maggie Haberman of the New York Times.
According to Habermans’ upcoming book “Confidence Man,” White House staff “periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet — and believed the president had flushed pieces of paper.” The report added to concerns that former President Trump may have illegally destroyed records.
Trump called the initial Haberman report a “fake story,” and said her claims were “categorically untrue and made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book.”
To corroborate her story, Haberman turned the photos over to Axios.
The report says that “The document dumps happened multiple times at the White House, and on at least two foreign trips,” and continues by noting that “Mr. Trump was discarding documents this way was not widely known within the West Wing, but some aides were aware of the habit, which he engaged in repeatedly. It was an extension of Trump’s term-long habit of ripping up documents that were supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.”
The National Archives also reported that some of the White House documents from Trump’s time in office were taped back together after being destroyed. In addition, some records and gifts were taken from the White House to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, which is also illegal.
While Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson did not technically deny the content of the photos, he did go after Haberman, claiming she is only trying to sell copies of her book:
“You have to be pretty desperate to sell books if pictures of paper in a toilet bowl is part of your promotional plan. We know … there’s enough people willing to fabricate stories like this in order to impress the media class — a media class who is willing to run with anything, as long as it anti-Trump.”
Haberman called her reporting both “gross and important,” and noted “The point is about the destruction of records which are supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act, which is a Watergate-era creation. It’s important because who knows what this paper was? Only he would know and presumably whoever was dealing with him, but the important point is about the records.”