Prosecutors have tape of him discussing holding onto it after leaving office
Former President Donald Trump, Greg Norman, LIV Golf CEO, (right), and Paul Myler, deputy head of mission for the Australian Embassy in Washington, at Trump National Golf Club Saturday in Sterling. Pic/AP
Justice Department prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of former President Donald Trump from after he left office in which he talks about holding onto a classified Pentagon document related to a potential attack on Iran, according to media reports. CNN, which first reported on the tape, said Trump suggested on the recording that he wanted to share information from the document with others but that he knew there were limitations about his ability to declassify records after he left office.
The comments on the recording, made in July 2021 at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, would seem to undercut the former president’s repeated claims that he declassified the documents he took with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, after leaving office. The recording could also be a key aid for prosecutors looking to prove Trump knew his ability to possess classified documents was limited.
The recording has been provided to special counsel Jack Smith, whose team of prosecutors have spent months investigating the potential mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and whether Trump or anyone else sought to criminally obstruct the probe. The investigation shows signs of being in its final stages, with prosecutors having interviewed a broad cross-section of witnesses before the grand jury.
No one has been criminally charged. CNN said witnesses including Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been questioned about the episode. A spokesman for Milley declined to comment on reports that he had been interviewed. A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment. A Trump spokesman said in a statement that the investigation was “meritless” and amounted to “continued interference in the presidential election.”
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