White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House, September 12, 2017.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

White House describes raid on doctor’s office as ‘standard operating procedure’

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/1/18, 9:46 PM ET

Trump dictated 'astonishingly excellent' health letter: Bornstein

Anna Schecter, NBC News investigative producer, talks with Rachel Maddow about new reporting on Donald Trump’s former doctor, Harold Bornstein, who now says Donald Trump dictated his own health letter and that men representing Trump forcibly took Trump’s
The story surrounding Dr. Harold Bornstein was already rather strange, but it took a turn yesterday when Donald Trump’s former personal physician said three men, including the president’s bodyguard, “raided” his medical office last year and took all the president’s medical records.

The New York gastroenterologist described the scene as a frightening situation in which Trump aides effectively robbed his office without proper authorization. But as the day progressed, the story got even stranger: Bornstein eventually said his ridiculous note vouching for Trump’s health during the campaign was actually dictated by Trump himself.

If true, that’s a rather startling revelation. The oldest president ever elected, while attacking his opponent’s health on a nearly daily basis, apparently presented a fake note from a physician to the public. (For the record, given the contents of the note, it’s very easy to believe Trump wrote it.)

All of which led to an interesting exchange in yesterday’s White House press briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

Q: Why did Keith Schiller, who was a White House employee at the time, go and take medical records from the president’s personal doctor last year?

SANDERS: As is standard operating procedure for a new president, the White House Medical Unit took possession of the president’s medical records.

The reporter followed up, noting that Bornstein characterized what transpired in his office as a raid. “Is that your understanding of what happened?” the reporter asked.

“No, that is not my understanding,” Sanders replied. She did not elaborate.

At this point, it’s difficult to know what to think, in part because Bornstein has contradicted himself – he explicitly claimed he wrote the memo on Trump’s health, and now he’s claiming Trump wrote – and in part because the White House’s response raises additional questions.

At face value, it stands to reason that the president’s new medical team would want his previous records, but that doesn’t explain the events Bornstein described. After all, the White House Medical Unit could’ve easily obtained Trump’s records weeks earlier; it didn’t need to dispatch the president’s body guard and the chief legal officer of the president’s private business.

Or put another way, nothing about this story seems to be “standard operating procedure.”

Donald Trump

White House describes raid on doctor's office as 'standard operating procedure'