Alina Habba, one of former president Donald Trump’s attorneys, said Tuesday it is “impossible” that the reporter to whom Trump was heard speaking in a recently leaked audio recording was the person who leaked the tape, as Trump stated “off the record” before bragging about possessing a “big pile of papers” that were classified. Instead, Habba implies the U.S. Department of Justice may have played a role in leaking the audio.
“It’s impossible,” Habba said to Newsmax anchor Rob Schmitt on “Rob Schmitt Tonight.” “You heard in the recording, they said ‘off the record.’ He said, ‘off the record.’ They wouldn’t do that. There has to be some evidence that came from the DOJ. Why? Because they’re losing. They’re losing in the polls, they’re losing in the media, and they’re losing this case. That’s what happens.”
Watch the full video below (video courtesy of @Acyn on Twitter).
The tape, which is dated July 2021, was first aired Monday by CNN. In it, Trump indicates he possessed classified documents about a plan to attack Iran. Trump was speaking to a writer and a publisher who were working on a memoir about his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
“See, as president I could have declassified it,” Trump said of the documents on the recording, with the writer, publisher and two of his staffers present. “Now I can’t. … Isn’t that interesting? It’s so cool.”
Habba has been making the right-wing media rounds since the tape was aired, appearing on Fox News the same day she appeared on Newsmax. Speaking to anchor Lawrence Jones, Habba said she didn’t know whether it was the position of the president that the documents were already declassified when he spoke of them on the tape.
“I don’t know, and here’s what I do know,” Habba said. “The clip they put out doesn’t answer that question. All it says is President Trump said ‘Hi, look, if I was president, I can declassify a classified document. And when you’re not president, you can’t.”
Watch the full video below (once again, courtesy of @Acyn on Twitter)
In the tape, Trump calls the documents “highly confidential, secret information,” and later says he could’ve declassified them were he still president, but said he couldn’t do it now that he was no longer in the White House. The recording directly contradicts Trump’s statement to Fox News host Brest Baier last week, at which point only a transcript of the conversation was public. Trump claimed he was not presenting classified documents in the 2021 meeting, but rather speaking of “newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles.”
Trump is facing 37 felony counts for mishandling classified documents.