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denial Donald Trump flushed official papers down the toilet and ate paperwork in the Oval Office, new book claims


Donald Trump has rubbished the claims as "fake news" but could face an inquiry. Photo: Octavio Jones/Reuters

Donald Trump has rubbished the claims as "fake news" but could face an inquiry. Photo: Octavio Jones/Reuters

Donald Trump has rubbished the claims as "fake news" but could face an inquiry. Photo: Octavio Jones/Reuters

Donald Trump had denied claims that his White House toilet was found clogged by official papers that appeared to have been flushed down the loo.

Staff in Mr Trump’s White House reportedly discovered papers blocking the president’s bathroom from time to time and believed Mr Trump himself was tearing up papers and flushing them away, Axios reported, citing a new book by Maggie Haberman.

But Mr Trump dismissed the story as “fake news”.

“Also, 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,” he said in a statement.

New York Times White House correspondent Ms Haberman’s claims, featured in her forthcoming book Confidence Man, come as officials took 15 boxes of presidential documents from Mr Trump’s Florida residence that should have been transferred to the National Archives when he left office.

By removing documents to Mar-a-Lago instead of submitting them to the archives when he left office, the ex-US president may have violated the Presidential Records Act.

It has also been reported that White House staff periodically had to gather pieces of documents he had torn up and tape them back together.

One former aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, claims to have seen Mr Trump eating paperwork in the Oval Office.

Speculation is growing that the discovery of the Mar-a-Lago documents could spell serious legal trouble for Mr Trump’s anticipated 2024 re-election bid.

Speaking on MSNBC, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner pointed out there was a federal statute that “provides for criminal penalties for the concealment, removal or mutilation of federal records”.

Should that statute be held against Mr Trump, it would add to a growing list of legal actions against him – any one of which could, if borne out, make running for the presidency extremely difficult or impossible.

Oversight committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement that she was “deeply concerned that these records were not provided to the National Archives and Records Administration promptly at the end of the Trump administration and they appear to have been removed from the White House.”

Ms Maloney wrote a letter to the archivist, David Ferriero, seeking information on 15 boxes of records the National Archives recovered from Mr Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

The Presidential Records Act mandates that records made by a sitting president and his staff are preserved in the archives, and an outgoing leader is responsible for turning over documents to the National Archives at the end of the term.

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The oversight committee is seeking communications between the National Archives and Mr Trump’s aides about the missing boxes.

Records are central to any presidency, but Mr Trump’s in particular have been at the centre of an investigation by another House committee that’s investigating the violent January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.

The archivist’s office said the former president’s representatives are continuing to search for additional records that belong to the archives.

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