In an audio recording recently obtained by NBC News, Donald Trump appears to discuss a sensitive military document and acknowledges he did not declassify it while president, consistent with a partial transcript included in his indictment by federal prosecutors this month.

Trump has claimed in media interviews after his indictment that he was not in possession of the document when he was talking. The indictment of Trump and his aide Walt Nauta included a partial transcript that redacted some specific names.

In the 2021 recording, which was first reported by CNN and then obtained by NBC News, Trump is heard talking with an author, a publisher and two Trump staffers at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

In the recording, Trump discusses a document he describes as a “plan of attack” given to him by Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to attack Iran. Trump then says the document contains “secret information.”

“I have a big pile of papers,” Trump says in the recording while discussing the plan amid the sound of shuffling papers. “They presented me this. This is off the record. But they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”

“Isn’t that amazing?” Trump says, adding that the information at hand was “highly confidential.”

The special counsel’s office declined to comment when asked about the recording.

In an interview last week, Trump told Fox News’ Bret Baier: “I didn’t have a document, per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.”

A spokesperson for the campaign insisted the recording proved Trump did nothing wrong.

“The audio tape provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the president was “speaking rhetorically” and also “humorously” about former Rep. Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton.

“The media and the Trump-haters once again were all too willing to take the bait, falling for another Democrat-DOJ hoax, hook, line, and sinker.”

In the recording, Trump says the document is “secret information” and the unidentified woman replies, “Hillary would print that out all the time, you know?” It appeared to be a reference to charges that Clinton had classified information on a private email server while secretary of state.

Trump then responds on the recording, “She’d send it to Anthony Weiner,” a reference that some of her emails were on a laptop owned by the former congressman, who had been married to one of her top aides.

Trump, on his social media platform Truth Social, made unsupported claims late Monday that the tape had been “leaked” by investigators. CNN has not said how it obtained the audio.

On Tuesday, Trump took a different approach by saying in an interview that “it was bravado” when he was showing papers to people in the room in Bedminster.

“I would say it was bravado, if you want to know the truth. It was bravado,” he told Semafor and ABC News about his plane.

“I was talking and just holding up papers and talking about them, but I had no documents,” Trump added.

Asked about his earlier reference to “plans” in the papers, Trump insisted he was talking about other materials.

“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.”

Trump in early June was indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on charges that he kept classified documents he was not entitled to have and that he misled investigators to hold on to sensitive materials that he knew were still classified.

Read the full indictment.

He is charged with 37 counts, which include 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, as well as other counts that include conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The former president pleaded not guilty on June 13.

Trump was also charged in state court in New York City in connection to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty in that case as well.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *