A composite image of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former President Donald Trump.
- Former White House staff believed Trump blocked a toilet by flushing documents, a new book says.
- Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, said his White House was “diligent” about preserving data.
- Other reports say Trump often ripped up documents and took presidential records to Florida after his presidency.
Mark Meadows said the White House was “diligent” about preserving documents, following a report that said staffers blamed former President Donald Trump for blocking a toilet by flushing down torn-up pieces of paper.
“We were very diligent in making sure that we preserved those documents, and ultimately I think the record will show that,” Meadows, who served as Trump’s chief of staff, told Newsmax on Thursday.
“The staff secretary was very diligent in making sure that those documents were preserved for the federal records,” he said. “To suggest that somehow now that this should be news is just hard to imagine.”
The claim about the blocked toilet was made by the New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman in her new book, “Confidence Man,” excerpts of which were published by Axios on Thursday.
Numerous reports have detailed how Trump, while president, often tore up documents when he was done with them and that Trump-era White House documents obtained by the January 6 committee had clearly been ripped and taped back together.
There are now at least four ways in which Trump is reported to have tried to destroy documents while in the White House: Ripping them up, eating them, dropping them on the floor, and flushing down the toilet.
The New York Times reported this week that Trump had taken 15 boxes worth of presidential records from the White House after his presidency, and that he returned them to the National Archives last week.
The National Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Trump violated federal-records laws when he took material from the White House after his presidency, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Meadows said the Presidential Records Act, which requires documents to be preserved, was “hilarious” and “stupid,” but “an important part of who we are and it’s something that we ought to take seriously.”
A number of books have been written about Trump’s presidency, but Alyssa Farah, Trump’s former communications director, said Thursday that Trump was “terrified” of Haberman’s book.
“This is the first big anecdote, but there is quite a bit more to come,” she said.
Some Trump supporters have sought to downplay the relevance of Haberman’s claim, citing the time Hillary Clinton deleted 33,000 emails from her private server while serving as secretary of state. A State Department investigation concluded there was “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information” by Clinton.