Iran memo not among 31 documents underlying Trump’s federal charges

Washington — The note from the Ministry of Defense on Iran — at the heart of the news, now public audio recording who captured a July 2021 meeting with former President Donald Trump – is not among the 31 counts of willful withholding of national defense information charged by Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of former presidenta source familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News.

In the recording of the meeting at Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey, the former president can be heard showing and apparently discussing what he described as “highly classified secret” documents with aides. Sources say the documents were linked to plans for a possible US attack on Iran.

“It’s like very confidential, secret. It’s secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump said in the audio tape obtained by CBS News. “See, as president I could have declassified, but now I can’t, you know… Isn’t that interesting? That’s so cool.”

The document and recording are described in the indictment Smith’s team obtained against Trump earlier this month, recounted as an alleged meeting with “a writer, an editor and two members of Trump’s” staff. , “none of whom had a security clearance”.

But according to a source familiar with the matter, Trump has not been accused of illegally possessing the Iran-related document referred to in the recording.

Smith’s 37 counts against Trump includes 31 charges of willfully withholding national defense information. It generally describes each of the 31 classified files that prosecutors allege Trump kept illegally, without naming the exact subject. The memo on Iran is not among the list of 31 cases in the indictment, the source said.

Throughout the multi-year federal investigation From Trump’s White House archives, investigators collected more than 300 documents bearing classified marks, including 103 seized during the execution of a search warrant at Trump’s Florida residence last year.

Several sources familiar with the investigation previously told CBS News that defense attorneys were uncertain whether the Iranian memo in question was ever recovered and returned to the government. Still, the 2021 incident is one of two instances mentioned in the indictment, in which Smith describes Trump allegedly showing national defense information to people without proper authorization.

Trump can be heard in the audio apparently acknowledging that he had a sensitive file after leaving office and no longer had the authority to declassify it.

On Tuesday, Fox News asked Trump about the recording and he insisted he “did nothing wrong.”

“My voice was good,” Trump told Fox News. “What did I say wrong in those tapes? I haven’t even seen the tape. All I know is that I didn’t do anything wrong. We had a lot papers, lots of papers piled up. In fact, you could hear the rustling of the newspaper. And no one said I had done anything wrong.

And in another interview, Trump told Semafor and ABC News he had no sensitive tapes, calling his captured discussion on the tape “bravado.” “I just held a whole stack of – my desk is full of papers. I have papers of 25 different things,” he said.

The existence of the audio tape and the July 2021 meeting was first reported by CNN, which was also the first to obtain a recording of the discussion.

Sources familiar with the matter said the discussion of the allegedly classified document came as Trump spoke about Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, who was described in a New Yorker article as having fought in the last days of the Trump administration. to prevent the president from attacking Iran.

In the recording of the meeting, the former president tells his interlocutors that the document discredits any criticism against him.

Smith’s office declined to comment.

Earlier this month, Trump pleaded not guilty to a total of 37 counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors allege he and an aide, Waltine Nauta, worked to move boxes containing classified documents throughout Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Nauta had to be arrested in federal court in Miami on Tuesday, but flight issues and difficulties finding a local attorney delayed the hearing until next week.

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