Trump Again Denies Holding Classified Documents After Leaked Audio Recording

June 28, 2023

Former President Trump again insisted Tuesday that he was not holding any classified documents during a 2021 meeting at his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey.

CNN released an obtained audio recording of the conversation Monday night, after earlier referring to a transcript of the meeting back in May.

The 2-minute audio clip can be heard here. It begins with him complaining about his handpicked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, who has been described in previous media accounts as having guarded against Trump’s striking Iran in the final days of his Administration.

In the recording, reportedly of a conversation Trump is having with people who were helping his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, with his memoir, a rustling of papers can clearly be heard. Trump himself refers to a “big pile of papers,” which he refers to as “highly confidential, secret. This is secret information.”

He later references the paper and wanting to “declassify it,” adding, “See, as President I could have declassified it, but now I can’t .”

“I would say it was bravado, if you want to know the truth, it was bravado,” Trump said in an interview aboard his plane Tuesday with Semafor and ABC News. 

Then, repeating a claim he’d made last week, he added, “I was talking and just holding up papers and talking about them, but I had no documents. I didn’t have any documents.”

In last week’s interview with Fox News when only the transcript, not the audio, was public, Trump suggested the papers in the discussion were “copies of newspaper articles, I had copies of magazines.” According to Semafor, in Tuesday’s interview Trump pointed to newspapers, copies of his campaign speech and printouts of articles while again saying he had “a whole pile of papers,” and adding that he kept news articles about topics like Iran at hand.

In a new interview with Fox News Tuesday afternoon, Trump was asked about using the word “plans” in the audio recording.

He responded, “What I’m referring to is magazines, newspapers, plans of buildings. I had plans of buildings. You know, building plans? I had plans of a golf course.”

And he again said he had “no classified document on my desk.”

In Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal indictment on 37 criminal counts, the 2021 incident at Bedminster is one of two referenced where prosecutors allege that Trump showed classified information to others who did not have security clearances.

However, CBS News reported Tuesday evening that the Bedminster recording is not part of the Department of Justice’s 31 counts against Trump for willful retention of national defense information.

Multiple CBS sources have previously said that defense attorneys were not certain the Iran memo in question was ever recovered and returned to the government.

When asked if the audio recording would affect his decision whether or not to consider a plea deal, Trump said he was confident the government’s use of the Espionage Act to prosecute him would fail.

PHOTO: @realDonaldTrump on Truth Social

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