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Those Classified Documents Might Destroy Donald Trump

Let’s face it: the audio recordings don’t sound good for Donald Trump. The former president is heard describing the papers, he refers to them as “highly confidential,” and the ruffling sounds could indicate that he was waving the papers or showing them to people in the room.

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the 2019 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the 2019 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

CNN reported on Tuesday, June 27, that it had exclusively obtained a copy of the audio recording used by federal prosecutors in a case relating to his alleged illegal possession of classified and secret documents at his Florida residence. Many argue that the recording of a 2021 meeting in his Bedminster, New Jersey, property suggests that the former president knew he should not have been in possession of the documents – though the truth of the matter remains unclear.

Is Donald Trump All Done? 

In the clip, which was aired on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 show, the former president is heard describing papers that he calls “highly confidential.” The audio also could suggest that he showed the papers to other people in the room. If true, it conflicts with claims by the former president that he did not have any classified or secret documents in his possession.

Trump is also heard in the clip stating, “these are the papers.” The former president was, at the time, talking about Pentagon attack plans. CNN noted that the quote was not used in the indictment against Trump, indicating that prosecutors either missed it or determined that it was not helpful to the case.

CNN also aired segments of the audio clip in which Trump and one of his staffers joked about former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and disgraced former New York representative Anthony Weiner. 

“Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails,” a Trump staffer can be heard saying in the clip, to which the former president responded, “No, she’d send it to Anthony Weiner. The pervert.”

Curiously, CNN’s online reporters chose to remove Trump’s “pervert” comment – a reference to the former politician’s 2011 “sexting” scandal.

Do We Really Know What Happened?

Let’s face it: the audio recordings don’t sound good for Donald Trump. The former president is heard describing the papers, he refers to them as “highly confidential,” and the ruffling sounds could indicate that he was waving the papers or showing them to people in the room.

It is also true, however, that the audio recording is not accompanied by video footage. Therefore, nobody other than those who were in the room know exactly what happened during the meeting. Trump may have shown his guests the papers, or he may have held the papers in a way that obscured their content. 

The papers may also not have been the documents that prosecutors believe them to be. 

Prosecutors do not know exactly what happened in that room – and that’s precisely what the upcoming trial will seek to determine. 

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

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Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.