Photos were obtained for upcoming book on workings of Trump’s presidency
Images obtained for an upcoming book on the Trump presidency appear to show torn documents floating in toilets – backing up reports that Donald Trump tried to destroy presidential paperwork by flushing it away.
The photos, shared by Axios and journalist Maggie Haberman, show torn fragments of handwritten documents floating in two separate toilets, one in the White House and the other in an unspecified location visited by Mr Trump on an overseas trip.
If proven to show what Ms Haberman’s sources claim, the photos would provide further evidence that Mr Trump destroyed or attempted to destroy presidential records that he may have been legally required to preserve.
Alongside tales of the president clogging White House toilets with paperwork, previous reports have included stories that Mr Trump would habitually tear up paperwork after meetings, leaving the fragments for aides to tape back together so that they could be sent to the National Archives as mandated by the Presidential Records Act.
It has even been claimed by former aide Omarosa Maginault Newman that on one occasion, the then-president literally chewed up a sensitive document to avoid it becoming public.
At around the same time as these alarming stories emerged earlier this year, it transpired that Mr Trump had taken multiple boxes of documents – some of them classified – to his resort at Mar-a-Lago in Florida instead of submitting them for official preservation.
The news resulted in a subpoena from Department of Justice prosecutors seeking to establish whether the records act had been violated.
Mr Trump is not the only person in his White House whose handling of documents and communications has come under legal scrutiny.
His daughter Ivanka, who served in an official capacity as an adviser, communicated with other adminstration staff using a private email server; his sometime trade adviser Peter Navarro, who played a key role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election, is currently being sued by the Justice Department for emails sent and received on a ProtonMail server.
Prosecutors argue he is “wrongfully retaining presidential records that are the property of the United States, and which constitute part of the permanent historical record of the prior administration”.
Also in the frame is Mr Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whom 6 January select committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson says she saw burning documents in a White House fireplace after a meeting with a Republican congressman.
Mr Trump and his associates’ cavalier handling of records sits at odds with his and his party’s long persecution of Hillary Clinton for using a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.