Prosecutors have an audio recording of Trump discussing keeping classified documents

2023-06-09 19:56:38, Kosova & Bota CNA

Prosecutors have an audio recording of Trump discussing keeping classified

According to US media reports, Justice Department prosecutors have an audio recording of former President Donald Trump from a meeting held after he left office, in which he says he was in possession of a classified Pentagon document about with a possible attack on Iran.

CNN, which first reported on the recording, reports that in it, Trump suggests that he wanted to share the information with others, but could not because he could not declassify the document because he was not president.

The comments on the recording, made in July 2021 at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, appear to contradict the former president's repeated claims that he had declassified documents he took with him from The White House at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, after leaving office. The recording could also be key evidence for prosecutors seeking to prove that Trump knew his ability to retain classified documents was limited.

A Trump spokesman said in a statement that the investigation was "baseless" and amounted to "continued interference in the presidential election."

The recording was given to the office of special counsel Jack Smith, which has been investigating for months the possible misuse of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and whether Trump, or anyone else, tried to criminally obstruct the investigation.

The criminal investigation began last year after the National Archives and Records Administration notified the FBI of the presence of classified documents in 15 boxes found at Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and belatedly delivered to the Archives.

Investigators initially demanded that the former president turn over all remaining classified documents, but after taking only about 36 boxes during a June 2022 visit to Mar-a-Lago, they returned with a search warrant two months later and found about 100 other documents marked as classified.

Special Prosecutor Smith is also investigating efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. A parallel investigation into this issue is also being conducted by prosecutors in Atlanta, Georgia. New York prosecutors charged Mr. Trump earlier this year, meanwhile, with falsifying business records.

According to CNN, the recording was made during a meeting in Bedminster between Trump aides and two people who were working on the autobiography of Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

According to CNN, Mr. Meadows' autobiography includes a description of what appears to be the same meeting. A lawyer for Mr. Meadows declined to comment Wednesday when contacted by The Associated Press.

CNN said witnesses, including Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been questioned about the episode. A spokesman for General Milley declined to comment on reports that he had been interviewed./ VOA

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