An audio clip obtained by CNN shows Trump saying he has a “highly confidential” document.
Trump also says in the 2021 clip that if we were still president he could declassify it.
The clip contradicts Trump’s claims that all the records he had were already declassified.
In leaked audio from 2021, published Monday by CNN, former President Donald Trump is about as direct as he can be in acknowledging that he knows a document he has is “secret,” that it has not been declassified, and that if he were still president he could declassify it.
The audio appears to fly in the face of what has been Trump’s defense since the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence last year: that he had declassified all the documents he had, even though there was no record of him having done so.
The audio, obtained and published by CNN, was initially obtained by federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents. CNN reported on the existence of the audio late last month and that it was a key piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith’s case against Trump. A partial transcript of the audio was in the unsealed indictment against Trump, who pleaded not guilty earlier this month.
The 2-minute recording appears to capture Trump discussing documents that detail a potential attack on Iran.
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said on Twitter Monday the audio clip was “even more damning than it reads in the indictment.”
Adding: “Trump used a document he admits was classified as a prop to brag and make himself feel important.”
In the audio, Trump says “I have a big pile of papers” as it sounds like someone rifling through pages. The details of the conversation are unclear, but Trump says the documents he is holding prove he is right, but that he can’t share them because they are “secret.”
“This totally wins my case, you know,” Trump says, “except it is like highly confidential, secret — this is secret information.”
Another person on the audio, who CNN reported was an aide, jokes that “Hillary” would print the document out, presumably in reference to Hillary Clinton. “No, she’d send it to Anthony Weiner,” Trump jokes back.
Trump and an aide then appear to discuss what they can do with the papers, with the aide saying, “We’ll have to try to —”
“Declassify it,” Trump cuts her off. “See as president I could’ve declassified it, now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
The audio clip shared by CNN ends with Trump saying to someone, “Hey, bring some Cokes in please.”
Trump’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In an interview with Fox News last week, Trump said: “There was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things.”
“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,” Trump continued.
A federal grand jury indicted Trump earlier this month on 37 charges, including violations of the Espionage Act for “willful retention of national defense information.”
As the recording is from 2021, it’s unclear if the specific document Trump is referring to was handed back over to the National Archives before August 2022, or if it was among the thousands the FBI recovered in the raid.
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