Exclusive photos: Trump's telltale toilet
Remember our toilet scoop in Axios AM earlier this year? Maggie Haberman's forthcoming book about former President Trump will report that White House residence staff periodically found wads of paper clogging a toilet — and believed the former president, a notorious destroyer of Oval Office documents, was the flusher.
Why it matters: Destroying records that should be preserved is potentially illegal.
Trump denied it and called Haberman, whose New York Times coverage he follows compulsively, a "maggot."
- Well, it turns out there are photos. And here they are, published for the first time.
Haberman — who obtained the photos recently — shared them with us ahead of the Oct. 4 publication of her book, "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America."
- A Trump White House source tells her the photo on the left shows a commode in the White House.
- The photo on the right is from an overseas trip, according to the source.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich told Axios: "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."
Between the lines: The new evidence is a reminder that despite the flood of Trump books, Haberman's is hotly anticipated in Trumpworld.
Haberman's sources report the document dumps happened multiple times at the White House, and on at least two foreign trips.
- "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 tells us.
- "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 handwriting is visibly Trump's, written in the Sharpie ink he favored.
- Most of the words are illegible.
- But the scrawls include the name of Rep. Elise Stefanik of upstate New York, a Trump defender who's a member of House Republican leadership.
Go deeper: A radical plan for Trump's second term