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Former President Donald Trump is crying foul over a New York Times reporter’s suggestion that during his time in office, toilets at the White House frequently became clogged because he kept trying to flush pieces of paper.
The suggestion is reportedly revealed in reporter Maggie Haberman’s upcoming book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.”
“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,” Axios reported early Thursday morning after getting a sneak peak inside the book.
In addition to automatically assuming that this is true, the media have also automatically assumed that the pieces of paper were government documents.
“The revelation by Haberman, whose coverage as a New York Times White House correspondent was followed obsessively by Trump, adds a vivid new dimension to his lapses in preserving government documents,” Axios wrote.
In a statement released later Thursday, Trump vehemently pushed back against this narrative.
“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.
President Donald J. Trump:
“Following collaborative and respectful discussions, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) openly and willingly arranged with President Trump for the transport of boxes that contained letters, records, newspapers, magazines… pic.twitter.com/4r1wnufbWI
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) February 10, 2022
The pushback was part of a lengthy statement primarily focused on the current hubbub over Trump White House records.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has asked the Biden Department of Justice to investigate Trump’s “handling of White House records.”
“The referral from the National Archives came amid recent revelations that officials recovered 15 boxes of materials from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida that were not handed back into the government as they should have been, and that Trump had turned over other White House records that had been torn up,” according to the 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, the people familiar with the matter said.”
The report came out a day after NARA shared a press relief with various media outlets, including the Post, complaining publicly about the former president as it pertained to their attempt to recover all Trump era documents. NARA also alleged that to this day, not all records have been recovered.
“The Presidential Records Act mandates that all Presidential records must be properly preserved by each Administration so that a complete set of Presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Administration,” Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said in a statement.
“NARA pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.”
— Jake Rosen (@JakeMRosen) February 7, 2022
From the sounds of it, the Trump era White House documents shouldn’t have been at Mar-a-Lago to begin with.
But in his statement Thursday, the former president said this is false, though he attributed this “false” narrative to only the media, not NARA.
“The media’s characterization of my relationship with NARA is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite! It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy,” he said.
“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. In fact, it was viewed as routine and ‘no big deal.'”
He further claimed that he’d been told by someone — he didn’t specify who — that he was “under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years.”
As evidence, he pointed to the actions of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton, as an example, deleted and acid washed 32,000 emails and never gave that to the government. Then, they took large amounts of furniture out of the White House,” he said.
“And Bill Clinton kept numerous audio recordings that the archives wanted, but were unsuccessful at getting after going to court. We won’t even mention what is going on with the White House in the current, or various past administrations.”
It appears he wasn’t wrong about the Clintons.
“A trove of Clinton White House records long processed for release remains hidden from public view at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock — even though the legal basis initially used to withhold them expired more than a year ago,” Politico reported in 2014.
“The papers contain confidential advice given to or sought by President Bill Clinton, including communications with then-first lady Hillary Clinton, and records about people considered for appointments to federal office. About 33,000 pages of documents are involved, according to the National Archives, which runs the library.”
As of 2022, the records reportedly still remained “hidden” …
Fun story: @JudicialWatch sued over Bill Clinton’s hiding records in his sock drawer. Court told us to pound sand because presidents essentially can do whatever they want with their records. Remember this when you hear anti-Trump media caterwauling about his tearing up documents.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) February 8, 2022
Concluding his statement issued Thursday, the former president said that in the United States, “there has, unfortunately, become two legal standards, one for Republicans and one for Democrats.”
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