Leaked audio of former President Donald Trump discussing allegedly classified documents concerning plans to attack Iran appears to confirm the authenticity of a transcript found in the indictment. Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted the former president earlier this month on charges of illegal retention of classified material and obstruction of justice.
The FBI recovered over 100 documents last year from Mar-a-Lago that it claimed were classified and improperly retained by Trump.
The audio backs up the purported transcript found in the indictment. The former president during an interview on Fox News with Bret Baier last week denied showing anyone classified materials.
“Bret, there was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else, talking about Iran and other things,” he said. “And it may have been held up or may not. That was not a document. I didn’t have any documents per se. There was nothing to declassify, these were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.”
Alternatively, it is well-known that the Intelligence Community often includes unclassified newspaper articles and clippings in highly classified documents.
Trump Heard on Audio Saying That Papers Were Secret
“He said that I wanted to attack Iran, Isn’t it amazing?” Trump says with the sound of him shuffling through papers being heard. “I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this — this is off the record but — they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”
The former president refers to the contents of the papers as “secret information” and jokes that Hillary Clinton used to send classified material to former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
“As president I could have declassified it,” Trump said of the alleged plan to attack Iran. “Now I can’t.”
The audio and the transcript found in the indictment contradict Trump’s prior claim that he declassified all of the documents that were transferred from the White House to Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s Comments Weaken His Defense
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor who contributes to Politico, wrote on Twitter that he thought the recording was more damning than the transcript.
“This recording is even more damning than it reads in the indictment. Trump used a document he admits was classified as a prop to brag and make himself feel important. Ironically, moments earlier, Trump and his guest mocked Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified documents,” Mariotti wrote.
Trump’s former attorney Ty Cobb told Erin Burnett earlier this month that the transcript “further enhances the obstruction case because it eviscerates the two defenses that Trump has put forward.”
In Trump’s defense, he could say he never actually let the reporter read the documents, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said on Fox earlier this month.
“The Trump audio tape story can be told as Trump trying to protect himself (by keeping the document) showing the Military Industrial Complex was drawing up Iran attack plans and framing Trump as the one who wanted to attack. We now have the top candidates of both parties running for president primarily to pardon themselves,” Dilbert creator Scott Adams tweeted.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.