Purported audio tape from 2021 is a crucial piece of evidence in the federal case against the former US president, reports say.
Media outlets in the United States have released an audio recording in which former President Donald Trump purportedly boasts about having a classified document during a 2021 meeting.
In the nearly two-minute recording, first aired by CNN on Monday, Trump admitted he did not declassify it before his departure from office.The conversation occurred at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey with two staffers, a publisher and a writer of his upcoming book, the reports said.
Trump was purportedly talking about holding a secret Pentagon document with plans to attack Iran, citing Mark Milley, the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Well, with Milley – let me see that. I’ll show you an example,” Trump is heard saying, according to the media reports.
“He said that I wanted to attack Iran – isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers. This thing just came up, look. This was him. They presented me this,” he says, reshuffling the papers.
“It is like highly confidential, secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. You attack and …” said Trump, according to the transcript.“See, as president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t, you know. But this is classic,” Trump was heard saying. “Isn’t that interesting? It’s so cool.”
At one point in the recording, Trump is heard saying, “You probably didn’t believe me, but now you believe me. It’s incredible.”
In the indictment of Trump and his aide, Walt Nauta, special counsel Jack Smith referenced the recording of a meeting as evidence.
Trump claims recording ‘illegally leaked’
Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 counts brought by federal prosecutors on June 14 in connection with his alleged retention of classified government records after he left office.
On June 19, he said no classified documents were present at the time the recording was made.
Following the release of the recording, Trump took to his social media platform to blast Smith.
“The Deranged Special Prosecutor, Jack Smith, working in conjunction with the DOJ & FBI, illegally leaked and ‘spun’ a tape and transcript of me which is actually an exoneration, rather than what they would have you believe,” he said.
“This continuing Witch Hunt is another ELECTION INTERFERENCE Scam. They are cheaters and thugs!” he wrote.