Donald Trump heard on tape about classified documents he kept after leaving the White House

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on Wednesday - GC Images

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on Wednesday – GC Images

Federal prosecutors obtained a tape from Donald Trump acknowledging he kept a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran after he left the White House, according to CNN.

The recording from the summer of 2021 indicates that Mr. Trump realized he kept classified documents after he left the White House, the cable network said.

The former president’s recorded remarks suggest he would like to share the information, but he is aware of the limits of his ability to declassify records after leaving office.

CNN did not listen to the recording but cited several unidentified sources describing it.

Such a recording could potentially heighten Mr. Trump’s legal danger in the federal investigation into his handling of dozens of classified documents as he seeks to retake the presidency in 2024.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Mr. Trump, 76, broke the law by deleting government records, including several marked as top secrets, and taking them to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after he left office.

The recording is of a July 2021 meeting held at Mr. Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey, according to CNN. It involved two people working on an autobiography of Mr Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as well as several Trump aides.

Mr Meadows’ autobiography includes an account of what appears to be the same meeting, in which Mr Trump described a four-page report by America’s top general, Mark Milley.

The autobiography describes a potential plan by General Milley to attack Iran, including the deployment of large numbers of American troops.

The document Mr. Trump is referring to on the recording was not produced by Gen. Milley, CNN said. A source told the network that Mr. Trump was referring to the document as if it were in front of him.

The recording suggests prosecutors are investigating Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents further than previously known.

The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago last August and recovered at least 300 classified documents, including US secrets that may have come from human spies.

It was later reported that classified details of Iran’s missile program were among the files uncovered by the FBI.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing, saying he has declassified all documents in his possession. Mr Trump said a president can declassify information “even on second thought”.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, declined to comment on reports of a tape recording, but said the “leaks” from the federal investigation were intended to “inflame tensions.”

“The leaks from the radical supporters behind this political persecution are intended to inflame tensions and continue media harassment of President Trump and his supporters.”

Peter Carr, spokesman for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office at the Justice Department, declined to comment.

Mr. Smith’s investigation includes whether Mr. Trump or his associates obstructed the Justice Department’s investigation into his retention of thousands of government documents, about 300 of which were marked classified.

The special counsel is also investigating efforts to reverse Mr. Trump’s 2020 election defeat, which culminated in the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

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