Audio Recording Of Donald Trump Discussing National Defense Information Contradicts Previous Statements
An audio recording of Donald Trump discussing a “highly confidential” document about Iran seems to contradict previous statements made by the former president that the only materials taken from the White House were newspaper stories and magazine articles.
Earlier in the month, Special Counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with 37 counts of willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and falsifying statements to FBI agents. He was arrested and arraigned at the Miami federal courthouse and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The recording is from July 2021 at Trump’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey. He is having a conversation with a publisher and writer working on a memoir about Trump’s former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, as well as two of Trump’s aides. He is discussing a “secret” plan regarding Iran that he claims was drawn up by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Department.
CNN has exclusively obtained the audio recording of the 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump discusses holding secret documents he did not declassify https://t.co/5KE0TdVzv3 pic.twitter.com/3YgexinSWC
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The audio, which was played for the first time in public on Monday, clearly captures Trump admitting that the documents were confidential and that he did not declassify them, contrary to recent assertions that he made last week during a Fox News interview, where he told host Bret Baier that he took nothing more than news clippings.
“This totally wins my case, you know,” said Trump to a woman in the room. “Highly confidential, secret. This is secret information”
“Declassify it,” Trump continued to the woman. “See, as president, I could have declassified it, but now I can’t.”
The former president goes on to describe the documents as “so cool,” before asking someone at the club to bring him a Coca-Cola.
A few of Trump’s lawyers were made aware of the recording in March when the tape was subpoenaed by Smith after one of Trump’s aides was asked about it while testifying to a grand jury. Smith cited portions of the transcript in his indictment.
Trump allies and employees have been quick to come to the former president’s defense. In a statement made by spokesman Steven Cheung, he accused “the media and the Trump-haters” of taking “the bait.”
“The audio tape provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all,” said Cheung, claiming that Trump was simply “speaking rhetorically and quite humorously” about the documents that may have been in front of him.
The former president is scheduled to appear for the first hearing of his trial as soon as August 14.
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