Amid Donald Trump's legal issues, CNN has exclusively obtained audio of the former president discussing alleged classified documents
In the wake of Donald Trump's recent federal indictment, CNN has exclusively obtained audio of the former president discussing alleged classified documents — a conversation that plays a crucial role in the special counsel's ongoing case against him.
The audio reportedly comes from a 2021 interview that Trump gave to two people working on a biography of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
In the recording, Trump, while going through a "big pile of papers," can be heard talking about former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, saying "he said that I wanted to attack Iran."
"Isn't this amazing I have a big pile of papers and this thing just came up," says Trump, 77, as the sound of shuffling papers can be heard in the background.
"Highly confidential, secret — secret information," he says as the others in the room — who have been identified as two Trump staffers and the two people working on the Meadows' memoir — can be heard laughing.
"These are the papers," Trump then says. "This was done by the military, given to me."
He then adds: "See, as president I could have declassified it. Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
“Now we have a problem,” one of the staffers responds.
“Isn’t that interesting,” Trump says.
Elsewhere in the two-minute recording, Trump and the others can be heard joking about "Hillary's emails," a reference to Hillary Clinton's controversial use of a personal email server during the time she served as Secretary of State, which led Republicans to allege she was sharing classified information.
"Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails," one of the women says.
"No, she'd send it to Anthony Weiner," Trump cracked of the Democratic congressman (who was previously married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin) as laughter continued.
The recording ends with Trump imploring an aide, “Hey, bring some, uh, bring some Cokes in please.”
A transcript of the recording published by CNN was also included in the special counsel's indictment of Trump, which charges the former president with 37 criminal offenses: 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information (a violation of the Espionage Act); one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice; one count of withholding a document or record; one count of corruptly concealing a document or record; one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation; one count of scheme to conceal; and one count of false statements and representations.
Earlier this month, Trump pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
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In a statement, Trump's spokesman said the newly-published audio "provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all.”
Last week, Trump explained to Fox Nation's Bret Baier that his "these are the papers" comment was just a "massive amount of papers."
"There was no document," Trump said. "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 the document. I didn't have a document, per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles."
On June 20, a Florida federal judge scheduled the jury trial — which will be held in U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce — "during the two-week period commencing August 14, 2023, or as soon thereafter as the case may be called."
It's unclear, however, if the trial will actually begin on Aug. 14, as prosecutors and/or defense lawyers may still seek to file motions prior to that time which could delay the proceedings.
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