In the wake of a federal indictment against former President Donald Trump over his alleged mishandling of classified documents, CNN has obtained and released the transcript of a portion of a 2021 audio recording in which Trump reportedly admits he did not declassify some of the “highly confidential” materials seized at his Mar-a-Lago home.
“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump said, according to the transcript.
As BizPac Review reported, CNN first broke the news about the recording last week.
The story raised skeptical eyebrows, as CNN claimed it had “not listened to the recording,” but assured viewers that “multiple sources described it.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 7, 2023
The recording of Trump was reportedly made while he was talking to writers at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course in July 2021, and it concerned discussions of a proposed attack on Iran.
Details of Trump’s seven-count indictment have not been released, making it impossible to know if the audio recording factored into the charges, but according to CNN, “the tape is significant because it shows that Trump had an understanding the records he had with him at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House remained classified.”
CNN gives context to the recorded conversation:
Trump was complaining in the meeting about Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. The meeting occurred shortly after The New Yorker published a story by Susan Glasser detailing how, in the final days of Trump’s presidency, Milley instructed the Joint Chiefs to ensure Trump issued no illegal orders and that he be informed if there was any concern.
“Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing?” Trump said, according to the transcript.
He cautioned his companions that what he was about to tell them was “off the record.”
“I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” the former president said, according to the transcript. “They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”
“All sorts of stuff – pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing?” Trump allegedly said. “This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this.”
“Secret” and “confidential,” CNN notes, “are two levels of classification for sensitive government documents.”
The document referred to in the recording, meanwhile, remains somewhat of a mystery.
“In March, prosecutors subpoenaed Trump for the document referenced in the 2021 recording,” CNN reports. “Trump’s lawyers provided some documents related to Iran and Milley in response to the subpoena, but they could not find the document itself.”
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