CNN claims that it has obtained the audio recording of the 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where former president Donald Trump allegedly discussed holding classified documents. The recording is considered to be a crucial piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of the former president over the mishandling of classified information.
“These are the papers,” Trump says in the recording while he’s discussing Pentagon plans regarding Iran; he then refers to something else as “highly confidential.”
FEMALE TRUMP STAFFER: Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails.
TRUMP: No, she’d send it to Anthony Weiner. Pervert.
The audio comes from a 2021 meeting:
The audio recording comes from a July 2021 interview Trump gave at his Bedminster resort for people working on the memoir of Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff. The special counsel’s indictment alleges that those in attendance – a writer, publisher and two of Trump’s staff members – were shown classified information about the plan of attack on Iran.Advertisement
Trump claimed in an interview last week with Fox News’s Brett Baier that he did not have any documents with him at the time of the meeting:
There was no document. 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 a document. I didn’t have a document, per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles.
Trump pleaded not guilty earlier this month to 37 counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
It remains to be seen whether a jury will find this to be “smoking gun” evidence. Trump could argue that he was just boasting or cracking jokes since there was frequent laughter in the room. He would also presumably maintain that “these were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles,” as he did in the Baier interview.
CNN did not explain where they got this recording—is the Department of Justice continuing its leaky ways? So far, CNN has not said.