Donald Trump on Tape Discussing Classified Documents – On Monday, CNN reported that it had obtained an audio recording of a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where former President Donald Trump discusses holding secret documents he did not declassify. In the recording, Trump is heard riffling through papers and then said, “This is highly confidential.”
The paper in question was reported to be a secret Pentagon document with plans to attack Iran.
The recording first aired on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” and offered new details from the conversation that is a critical piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of the former president over the mishandling of classified information.
“This was done by the military and given to me,” Trump said at one point. “See as president I could have declassified it. Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
A Joking Matter for Donald Trump?
In the two-minute audio recording, Donald Trump and his aides can also be heard making jokes about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the private email server that she maintained.
“Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails,” an aide is heard stating.
“No, she’d send it to Anthony Weiner,” Trump responded, referring to the former Democratic congressman, prompting laughter in the room.
President Trump is currently facing 37 counts of illegally retaining classified documents and obstructing the government’s efforts to get them back. He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said that all of the documents taken after he left the White House in January 2021 were declassified. The audio tapes certainly contradict those claims.
Just last week, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Trump again maintained that he did not have any documents with him during the July 2021 meeting in New Jersey.
“There was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things,” Trump told Baier. “And it may have been held up or may not, but that was not a document. I didn’t have a document, per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.”
This latest audio release would seem to further contradict Trump’s past claims.
The recording could be seen as even stronger evidence against Trump than what was previously included in the DOJ’s indictment.
“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,” former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Renato Mariotti said via a tweet.
However, following the release of the audio tapes, a Trump spokesperson responded, arguing it proves that Trump committed no crime.
“The audio tape provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all. The President is speaking rhetorically and also quite humorously about a very perverted individual, Anthony Weiner, who was deep inside the corrupt Clinton campaign,” the spokesperson told the Daily Caller, per Fox News. “The media and the Trump-haters once again were all too willing to take the bait, falling for another Democrat-DOJ hoax, hook, line, and sinker.”
It will be up to a jury to decide who they actually believe.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.