Trump Caught Trying To Flush Records Down The Toilet, Journalist Says

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A new book from reporter Maggie Haberman reveals that ex-President Donald Trump was caught seemingly trying to flush potential records down a toilet while in office — thus likely violating the Presidential Records Act in the process. (Trump predictably denied the allegations.) That law requires the preservation and eventual delivery to the National Archives of a whole host of records from presidential administrations, and Trump’s brazen lack of compliance with the law has already come under scrutiny — including in a new investigation from the House Oversight Committee — after it came out that federal authorities had retrieved 15 boxes of records that had been improperly transported to Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s presidency.

Haberman’s book — which isn’t out yet, but is called Confidence Man — says that “[while] President Trump was in office, staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet — and believed the president had flushed pieces of paper,” as summarized by Axios. Interestingly, Haberman’s forthcoming effort is “the book Trump fears most,” Axios says, adding: “Among Trump aides, Haberman’s book has been the most discussed of the bookshelf of books from reporters who covered Trump’s campaigns and White House. Several advisers were unhappy about his decision to talk to her as part of his marathon conversations with book authors at Mar-a-Lago. But they concluded he couldn’t help himself and couldn’t be stopped.” Haberman works for The New York Times, but she has covered Trump for years, including as a journalist for POLITICO.

Haberman has also uncovered that Trump has apparently claimed to certain people that he’s been in contact with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un since exiting the presidency last year. Letters from the foreign leader were among the records that Trump (or someone close to him) took with him to Mar-a-Lago, the ex-president’s Florida resort where he’s spent a lot of time since leaving the White House. Trump once quipped at a rally that he and Kim “fell in love” — which is, quite simply, a disturbing thing for a then-American president to say about a murderous dictator. Trump and his administration made a big show out of meetings between Trump and Kim, but they didn’t amount to much. For all the hubbub, there was no denuclearization on the part of the North Koreans — arguably one of the most meaningful policy goals in all of this.

Reportedly, the National Archives has requested an investigation from the Justice Department into Trump and his administration’s handling of records. As summarized this week by The Washington Post, “Archives officials suspected Trump had possibly violated laws concerning the handling of government documents — including those that might be considered classified — and reached out to the Justice Department.” It’s remarkable, of course, for this sort of scandal to emerge considering the staggering amount of political energy that certain Republican leaders have expended in going after Hillary Clinton for her handling of government-related materials while in office. Apparently, their commitment to transparency and following the strictest standards for these things only extended to seeing how much that the concepts could be used as rhetorical cudgels against their political opponents.