Former President Donald Trump’s discussion of a classified document regarding Iran has been revealed in an audio recording, according to US media reports.
The recording, which lasted nearly two minutes, was initially aired by CNN. In the conversation, which took place at Trump’s Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in 2021, he admitted that he did not declassify the document before leaving office.
During the meeting, Trump was allegedly discussing a secret Pentagon document detailing plans to attack Iran, referring to Mark Milley, who was then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the recording, Trump can be heard saying, “Well, with Milley – let me see that. I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran – isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers. This thing just came up, look. This was him. They presented me this,” as he shuffles through the papers. He further mentions the confidential and secret nature of the information, indicating the potential for an attack.
While Trump acknowledges that as president he could have declassified the document, he states that he is unable to do so now. He describes the situation as “classic” and expresses his fascination with it. At one point, Trump exclaims, “You probably didn’t believe me, but now you believe me. It’s incredible.”
The audio recording has been referenced as evidence in the indictment of Trump and his aide, Walt Nauta, by special counsel Jack Smith. Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to the alleged retention of classified government records after leaving office.
On June 19, Trump denied the presence of any classified documents during the time of the recording. Following the release of the audio, Trump criticized Jack Smith on social media, accusing him of illegally leaking and distorting the tape and transcript. Trump referred to the recording as an exoneration and labeled the ongoing investigation as another instance of election interference by “cheaters and thugs.”