The clip appears to contradict the former US president’s claim that he was not in possession of classified material after leaving office
An audio recording of Donald Trump appearing to disclose what the former US president refers to as “highly confidential” military secrets to guests at his New Jersey golf club has been released online. It is the latest development in the legal battle which has seen Trump deny 37 federal charges related to the mishandling of sensitive documents.
The recording, which was aired on Monday night by US broadcaster CNN, suggests that Trump was in possession of classified Pentagon documents which detailed a secret plan to attack Iran.
“These are the papers,” Trump can be heard saying in the two-minute audio clip allegedly recorded at his Bedminster club on July 21, 2021, while appearing to wave around documents as he spoke. The material is “highly confidential,” he adds.
It has been claimed by US media, as well as in the federal indictment Trump was issued with earlier this month, that the former leader was angered by a magazine article which claimed that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, was concerned that Trump may attempt to start a war before he left office in January 2021.
“[Milley] said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t it amazing?” Trump says in the audio recorded as he gave an interview to a writer and a publisher for a book. Members of Trump’s personal staff were also present.
He continued: “I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this – this is off the record but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”
The phrase “these are the papers” was not included in the transcript of the conversation which was used by federal prosecutors in Trump’s indictment earlier in June.
The recording appears to undercut comments made by Trump in a recent interview with Fox News, in which he denied that he had been in possession of classified material related to a potential assault on Tehran. He told the outlet’s Bret Baier that “there was no document” and that he was merely displaying “newspapers stories, magazine stories and articles.”
Trump pleaded not guilty earlier this month to 37 charges related to the mishandling of classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. His trial is set for August 14. A judge has yet to rule on a motion to delay the court case until December 11.
You can share this story on social media: