Audio May Undercut a Trump Claim

CNN, other outlets obtain tape of former president talking about 'secret' Iran documents
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2023 6:57 AM CDT
Audio May Undercut a Trump Claim
Former President Trump speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition Policy Conference in Washington, Saturday, June 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A number of media outlets have obtained the full audio of former President Trump talking about "secret" documents regarding Iran in his possession in 2021. The existence of the audio has been previously reported—it features in the indictment of Trump that accuses him of illegally keeping classified documents. But CNN obtained the actual audio and made it public, and outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post followed. (Click on any of those links to hear the audio, or watch Anderson Cooper's report via YouTube.)

  • "See, as president I could have declassified it, now I can't," Trump says in the conversation at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. "Isn't that interesting? It's so cool."
  • "I have a big pile of papers," says Trump, shuffling through documents. "This is secret information. ... This was done by the military, given to me." He refers to the papers, which describe a hypothetical military plan to attack Iran, as "secret information" and "highly confidential."

None of this would be new to prosecutors, which have long had the full recording. But CNN, the Times, and the Post assert that the audio undercuts a recent claim Trump made in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News. In the interview, Trump said he was referring in the audio not to a specified classified document but to a "massive amount of papers" that included "newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles." However, the newly released audio suggests the former president "was referring not to secondhand accounts, but instead to a specific piece of paper, or papers, in front of him," per the Times.

The other people in the conversation included a Trump aide and a writer working on a memoir of Mark Meadows, Trump's last chief of staff. At one point, the female Trump aide cracked a joke about Hillary Clinton as Trump went through the papers. "Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails," the staffer says. "No, she'd send it to Anthony Weiner," Trump responded to laughter, referring to the disgraced former Democratic congressman. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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