Former President Donald Trump has responded to a leaked audio recording that some argue proves he was aware he was in possession of classified documents after leaving the White House.
Critics argue the recordings, obtained by CNN and ABC News, substantiate claims made in his recent Florida court indictment led by special counsel Jack Smith.
The audio files originate from an interview for Mark Meadows’ memoir. The clips reportedly note Trump referencing “highly confidential” documents and making light of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
Critics believe the audio proves Trump disclosed classified information to individuals without appropriate security clearances.
This leak comes as Trump recently voiced frustration over a New Yorker article profiling General Mark Milley. In the audio recording, Trump specifically mentions a sensitive military document attributed to Milley.
The former president had claimed to have declassified all documents before leaving office, a stance contradicted by the contents of the recently leaked audio. Trump openly acknowledges retaining a classified document after his tenure in the White House.
“It’s highly confidential. … I could’ve declassified it,” Trump can be heard saying in the leaked audio.
In a separate statement, Trump also admitted he could no longer declassify the document as he was no longer in office. This was at odds with his earlier assertion of having declassified all sensitive materials before stepping down.
The audio recording, taken at a meeting at Trump’s Bedminster golf club in July 2021, is a significant component of the Justice Department’s indictment rel ated to Trump’s handling of classified materials. The department alleges that Trump mishandled classified documents, a charge the former president has pleaded not guilty to.
Attorneys representing Trump have yet to locate the material mentioned in the recording.
Trump vehemently denies any wrongdoing. The trial, currently slated for August 14, is subject to delay, awaiting a judge’s ruling.
Fox News reports Trump responded by saying:
I said it very clearly – I had a whole desk full of lots of papers, mostly newspaper articles, copies of magazines, copies of different plans, copies of stories, having to do with many, many subjects, and what was said was absolutely fine. … We did nothing wrong. This is a whole hoax.
My voice was fine. What did I say wrong on those recordings? I didn’t even see the recording. All I know is I did nothing wrong.
We had a lot of papers, a lot of papers stacked up. In fact, you hear the rustle of the paper. And nobody said that I did anything wrong other than the fake news, which is Fox, too.
I don’t know of any recordings that we should be concerned with because I don’t do things wrong. I do things right. I’m a legitimate person.
And taking aim at President Joe Biden, Trump said, “I’m not like Biden, that gets hundreds of millions of dollars from people and countries. We do things right, so I don’t care about any recordings.”