Donald Trump talks about ‘secret state documents’ in released audio

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Former US president Donald Trump acknowledged having secret documents after leaving the White House and acknowledging that they had not been declassified in an audio that leaked earlier this week.

The two-minute audio recording gained attention after being broadcast by the US news organization CNN on Monday night.

The interview, which was later obtained by ABC and CBS, was conducted in July 2021 at the former American president’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf club for writers of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows’ memoir.

In special counsel Jack Smith’s 49-page indictment of Trump on allegations that he handled classified documents improperly after leaving office, portions of the recording’s transcript were used as evidence.

The audio recording contains a passage where Trump appears to be clutching a top-secret Pentagon document that contains plans to strike Iran.

Trump is heard in the recording saying, “These are the papers,” which was left out of the indictment.

As he appears to be displaying something to the other people in the room, he also uses terms like “highly confidential” and “this is secret information” to describe it.

Trump continues, “This was done by the military and given to me,” before pointing out that in order to utilise it in the book, it would need to be “declassified.”

“You see, I had the option to declassify it as president. Now, you know, I can’t,” he says.

Trump became the first US president to face federal criminal charges earlier this month after denying 37 counts of deliberately mishandling US national secrets and conspiring to impede their return.

Trump reacted angrily to the tape’s release on his website Truth Social, labelling Smith “deranged” and falsely accused the prosecutor of working with the FBI and Justice Department to “illegally” leak and misrepresent the footage.

According to him, the tape is “actually an exoneration, rather than what they would have you believe.”

The 77-year-old Trump is accused by the government of knowingly keeping several sensitive documents that he illegally brought to his Florida seaside property, refusing to release them, and collaborating to obstruct investigators looking to collect them. Trump is aiming to win back the White House next year.