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Trump denies he flushed records down White House toilet

Earlier this month, the National Archives said that the former president had ripped up some White House documents while he was in office.
Image: Donald Trump
Then-President Donald Trump, in 2019.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump denied Thursday that he had flushed documents down a toilet when he served in the White House.

"Another fake story, that I flushed papers and documents down a White House toilet, is categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book," Trump said in a statement.

The detail, which comes from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book, “Confidence Man,” was reported by Axios.

Haberman tweeted, "Here’s some reporting from the book’s later years — White House residence staff periodically found papers had clogged a toilet, leaving staff believing Trump had flushed material he’d ripped into pieces."

The National Archives has said that Trump returned 15 boxes of documents that were improperly taken from the White House. In a statement Monday, the archives said that it had "arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021."

Trump said Thursday that the archives had "openly and willingly" arranged the transfer of the boxes, which he said "contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines, and various articles."

"The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis, which is different from the accounts being drawn up by the Fake News Media," he said. "In fact, it was viewed as routine and 'no big deal.' In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years."

The Presidential Records Act mandates that all presidential records must be properly preserved by each administration so a complete set of records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of an administration.

Earlier this month, the archives said that the former president had ripped up some White House documents while he was in office and they had to be taped back together by government officials.

The Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Trump's handling of these official records violated federal law.

The House Oversight Committee announced Thursday that it has launched an investigation into the 15 boxes of Trump's records that had been recovered by the National Archives, as well as reports that he attempted to destroy presidential records.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Archivist of the U.S. David S. Ferriero, the chair of the committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked for information "to examine the extent and impact" of Trump's apparent violations of the Presidential Records Act.