Donald Trump has stated that he was able to release the secret government documents discovered on him at his whim. An audio recording of a meeting almost two years ago now suggests that he knew better.
In the affair of former US President Donald Trump’s handling of secret government documents, the investigators have apparently gathered new details. CNN and other media outlets are reporting that federal prosecutors unearthed a recording from the summer of 2021 in which Trump admitted possession of a classified Defense Department document. In doing so, he made it clear that he was aware that he had taken confidential material with him after leaving the White House. “On the recording, Trump’s comments indicate that he would like to share the information but is aware of post-presidency limitations on his ability to release recordings,” CNN wrote, citing two sources familiar with the investigation.
Trump’s defense strategy in the case has included claims that as president he was not required to follow any specific document release process. The 76-year-old has repeatedly said he could automatically release all classified documents and even had the power to do so with his mere mind. Just last month, in a CNN-sponsored New Hampshire poll, the Republican announced that “if I take them with me, they’ll be automatically released.” The recording that has now come into play could undermine Trump’s argument and show that he was aware of the required clearance process.
Recording could be important evidence against Donald Trump
According to the reports, Trump’s comments referred to a Pentagon document on Iran. The New York Times writes that the audio recording came from a meeting Trump held in July 2021 with several people who helped his former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, write his memoirs. The conversation took place at Trump’s property in New Jersey. The ex-president had the secret paper with him during the appointment.
Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump, focused his investigation on the meeting, reports CNN. His team heard witnesses about the recording and the document before a federal jury. The meeting sparked so much interest that investigators questioned General Mark Milley, one of the top national security officials of the Trump era. Sources familiar with the investigation have described the recording as “important” evidence in a possible trial against Trump.
Ty Cobb, who worked as a White House attorney under Trump, agrees. The audio “dissects” Trump’s defense, specifically the notion that “just by taking possession of documents, he declassifies them, or has the authority to declassify them in his own mind while he’s in the hot tub with the ducks.” plays,” Cobb sneered at CNN. This argument is “unfounded” as the audio recording shows that Trump knows he has limitations on what he can do with these documents. “I think they have their foot on his neck,” Cobb said. The new revelation “makes the allegation of obstruction of justice even more convincing”.
Ex-President under pressure
Trump convicted of sexual abuse – he still has these legal problems to deal with
The FBI federal police searched Trump’s property in Florida in August 2022 and found around 100 documents, some of which were top secret, that the ex-president and his team had not returned to the national archives despite being asked to do so. Special Counsel Smith, appointed by the US Department of Justice, is trying to determine how these papers came to be in Mar-a-Lago. He is investigating whether Trump took or ordered action to undermine government efforts to secure all sensitive records and whether there is enough evidence to charge him with obstruction of justice.
Trump has criticized the investigation against him as politically motivated and has long complained that it was just an attempt by his opponents to prevent him from returning to the White House. Last November, the 76-year-old officially announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the November 2024 presidential election. Despite his legal problems, he is clearly ahead of his Republican competitors in the polls.
Sources: , , DPA
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.