Former President Trump acknowledged on tape that he had retained “secret” military information that he had not declassified, CNN reported Friday, citing a transcript of the recording.
“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump says, according to the transcript which CNN reported is a portion of a meeting where Trump discusses a classified Pentagon document about attacking Iran.
The transcript reportedly reveals Trump saying that he had not declassified the document he’s referencing.
“Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump says at one point, according to the transcript. “This was done by the military and given to me.”
The new transcript would appear to back reports that surfaced in late May that federal prosecutors had obtained an 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. In the recording, Trump reportedly suggests that he knew the document was secret and that he had not declassified it.
Trump was indicted Thursday evening by a federal grand jury in Florida and informed that he must appear in a federal court in Miami Tuesday afternoon to be processed on federal charges.
Trump is reportedly facing seven criminal counts, including: unauthorized retention of national security documents, conspiracy charges, obstruction, making a false statement to a law enforcement officer about a fact material to the officer’s investigation, mishandling official documents, and contempt of court for willfully disobeying a court order to hand over subpoenaed documents to the federal government.
The charges stem from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into whether Trump broke the law in his mishandling of classified documents after an FBI raid had discovered hundreds of federal documents—many of them classified—at his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago. Smith, a veteran career prosecutor, had received his appointment as special counsel from Attorney General Merrick Garland in November.
The former President has denied any wrongdoing, posting on his Truth Social media site in all caps Thursday evening, “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!”
Trump is already facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy related to his role in hush money payments during the 2016 campaign season—a first in U.S. history. That indictment came down in New York State court.
The new indictment is another historic first—charging a former U.S. President with federal crimes.