The Presidential Records Act of 1978 requires U.S. presidents and vice presidents to turn over all records they created or received during their tenure to the National Archives when their administration ends. However, an upcoming book about former President Donald Trump claims that he often tore up documents and flushed them down the toilet. Did Trump flush documents?
It looks as if Trump may have indeed flushed some documents down the toilet. On Aug. 8, images of two toilets with torn-up notes at the bottom of the bowl were published by Axios and then subsequently went viral on social media.
The images were released by the writer of an upcoming book about Trump.
The images were given to Axios by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman whose book “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” is set for release in early October. In her book, Haberman claims that White House residence staff occasionally found paper clogging a toilet and believed Trump was the flusher, Axios reports.
"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," Haberman told Axios. "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."
Haberman says one of the images is from a toilet in the White House, while the other one is from an overseas trip, Axios reports.
The Department of Justice is investigating Trump’s handling of documents.
At the request of the National Archives, the Department of Justice is investigating how Trump handled White House documents to see if Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, CNN reports. Earlier this year, the Archives transported 15 boxes of records, including some classified documents, from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida resort.
In a Feb. 10 statement, Trump claimed the boxes contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles he wanted to eventually feature in his presidential library.
“The media’s characterization of my relationship with NARA is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite! It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy,” Trump said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Trump told CNN that Trump “consistently handled all documents in accordance with applicable law and regulations. Belated attempts to second-guess that clear fact are politically motivated and misguided."
Trump accuses Haberman of fake news.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich also denied that the toilet notes were the former President’s notes. Trump has accused Haberman of lying about the toilet flushed notes to get publicity for 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," Budowich told Axios. "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."