An audio tape, featuring Donald Trump seemingly admitting to the possession of a confidential document after his presidency, has been recently secured by American news outlets.
Originally acquired by CNN, the recording reveals the ex-president shuffling papers as he emphatically declares, “This is highly confidential.”
Mr Trump has asserted his innocence in response to federal accusations of mishandling sensitive materials.
CNN took the initiative in airing this roughly two-minute clip, which they reported to be from a meeting in July 2021 at Mr Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The meeting, between Trump and several individuals assisting with his former chief of staff Mark Meadows’s memoir, produced the recording.
The former president can be heard declaring “these are the papers” and identifying a certain document as “highly confidential”.
“This was done by the military and given to me,” he elaborates. “See as president, I could have declassified it. Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
It seems this is the same audio recording federal prosecutors have cited in their case against Mr Trump.
However, it remains unclear from the indictment whether the documents mentioned in the recording were ever procured by investigators.
The indictment claims that Mr Trump exposed classified materials to individuals lacking security clearance on two instances, including one author and two staff members.
The ex-president is confronted with 37 charges of unauthorized retention of confidential documents and interference with the government’s attempts to reclaim them. He has consistently denied any misconduct.
Mr Trump has claimed that all the materials he removed from the White House were declassified, though this assertion seems to be contradicted by the publicized audio recording.
Last week, in a Fox News interview, the former president refuted any accusations of revealing confidential documents to unauthorized individuals during the Bedminster meeting.
“There was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things,” Mr Trump stated, emphasizing that he presented “newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles”.
However, the tape implies that Mr Trump may have been referring to specific documents.
He was charged together with an assistant, Walt Nauta, who is predicted to declare his innocence in a Tuesday hearing.
The court proceedings for the former president are set for 14 August, although it could be a postpone. A judge’s decision is pending regarding a prosecutor’s request to delay the trial until 11 December.