Updated Feb 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump flushes Maggie Haberman scoop as "fake story"

Picture of Trump wearing a MAGA hat
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former President Trump said Thursday that he was "under no obligation" to return White House records to the National Archives and Record Administration at the end of his presidential term.

Driving the news: Trump also denied that he destroyed or flushed "papers and documents down a White House toilet."

  • Reports show that during his presidency, Trump was known to destroy or restrict access to official presidential records.
  • While President Trump was in office, staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet, per Maggie Haberman's forthcoming book "Confidence Man."

Catch up fast: NARA last month recovered 15 boxes containing information from Trump's time at the White House that he took to Mar-a-Lago instead of handing over to the agency.

  • NARA said also that Trump representatives have informed the agency that "they are continuing to search for additional presidential records that belong to the National Archives."
  • NARA on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to probe former Trump's handlings of White House records.

What they're saying: "The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis," Trump 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," Trump said, but did not specify which rulings allow him to do so.
  • "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 that some of the information given to NARA would "someday be displayed in the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library."

Reality check: Under the Presidential Records Act, a president is required to immediately turn in presidential records to the national archivist as soon as they leave office.

  • "Removing or concealing government records is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison," the House Oversight Committee said Thursday.

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