Trump Attorneys Haven’t Found Classified Document Mentioned on Recording: Report

June 2, 2023

Trump attorneys did not find a classified document referred to by the former President in an audio recording when they turned over material in March in response to a federal subpoena, CNN reported Friday.

CNN was also first to report that federal prosecutors had obtained the audio recording, from the summer of 2021, which is reportedly of Trump saying he held onto a classified document about a potential attack on Iran. 

The reported claim would undermine Trump’s assertions that he declassified all the documents in his possession before he left office in January 2021. 

According to CNN’s latest reporting, federal prosecutors issued the subpoena in question shortly after asking a Trump aide before a federal grand jury about the audio recording, which reportedly happened during a meeting at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The subpoena was for “any and all” documents and materials related to Iran, including maps and plans, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. A similar subpoena was sent to at least one other person who’d attended the Bedminster meeting, according to CNN’s sources. 

According to New York Times’ reporting, on the tape Trump began complaining about Milley, who has been described in previous media accounts as having guarded against Trump’s striking Iran in the final days of his Administration.

The fact that his legal team has been unable to produce a referenced document highlights the challenges the government has faced in trying to recover materials that Trump took with him—intentionally or otherwise—when he left the White House.

In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed veteran career prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to determine whether criminal charges ought to be brought against Trump.

In recent weeks it’s been reported that Smith is apparently focusing on obstruction of justice surrounding Trump’s handling of the classified documents, including whether the former President took or directed actions to impede government efforts to collect all the sensitive records.

In April, sources told The Washington Post that Smith is trying to determine whether there is enough evidence to ask a grand jury to charge him with obstructing the investigation.

During a Fox News town hall on Thursday, Trump said of the reported audio recording, “I don’t know anything about it. All I know is this: Everything I did was right.”

That was after Trump had lashed out on his Truth Social site on Tuesday, complaining about “Democrat ‘Persecutors'” whom he said were “leaking constantly” about him.

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