Prosecutors: Recording Shows Donald Trump Lied About Document Declassification – An alleged recording of former President Donald Trump discussing having kept documents that he failed to declassify before leaving office could be the most damaging evidence against him.
Donald Trump Went Too Far This Time and Could Pay?
In the recording obtained by prosecutors and detailed in the indictment, Trump reportedly said that he held onto classified military information that he had not declassified. He discussed a document with a biographer who was working on a book about his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at his Bedminster, N.J. country club in the presence of his staff in July 2021. The indictment notes that no one in the meeting had a security clearance.
“Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump said according to the transcript provided to CNN amid his complaining about a report that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley gave orders to subvert his authority. “This was done by the military and given to me.
Trump continued: “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? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump says, 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.”
Trump joked that he could have declassified the document as president but he had not and that he couldn’t do so then because he was not president any longer.
Then in September 2021, Trump is alleged to have shown a classified map to someone from his political action committee.
This contradicts Trump’s public claim that he declassified everything in his possession.
Trump Legal Defense Endangered
Former Trump attorney Ty Cobb told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the recording undermines the former president’s best defense against the charges.
“It further enhances the obstruction case because it eviscerates the two defenses that Trump has put forward,” Cobb said.
Former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump during the first Senate impeachment trial, told Larry Kudlow on Fox Business that Trump’s alleged admission on audio showing a classified document to Mark Meadows’ biographer could be his gravest legal danger.
“He may be able to say: ‘Look, I was just showing off a little bit. I didn’t really have them read the document. I just flashed them in front of their eyes to show them, look, I’m the former president, and what I’m telling you is true. These documents prove it,’” Dershowitz said.
Damage to U.S. Intel From Trump Documents Unclear
The U.S. Intelligence Community remains unclear as to the potential damage from Trump’s retention of the documents and any potential negative fallout.
“Finally, it merits mention that there is nothing in the indictment or otherwise indicating that the U.S. government is now sure it has recovered all of the classified information. Trump may have retained more documents when he left the White House. We do not know whether he has additional documents or materials that he might have brought with him, or lost control of them,” Tess Bridgeman and Brianna Rosen wrote in “Just Security.”
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.