The audio makes clear that Trump had a specific document in his hand prepared by the Defense Department that was still secret and had not been declassified by him, contrary to his denial in an Bret Baier interview that he just had a stack of news clippings.
One of the most important charges against Donald Trump in the Florida case is that he showed secret U.S. Military plan to attack Iran during an audio recorded interview, and on the tape admitted that he never declassified the document.
During an interview with Bret Baier from Fox News, Trump asserted that there was no document, that he merely was referencing a stack of news clippings and similar such documents. I covered the indictment allegations and Trump’s denial in Trump Denies Having Or Showing Iran Attack Plans, Contrary to Indictment.
Trump said (via Mediaite)(emphasis added):
Baier noted that the indictment alleges that at “Bedminster on July 21st, 2021 after you’re no longer president, you were recorded saying that you had a document detailing a planned attack on another country that was prepared by the U.S. military for you when you were president. The Iran attack plan.”
“You remember that?” Baier asked.
“It wasn’t a document. I had lots of paper. I had copies of newspaper articles. I had copies of magazines,” Trump said, denying the contents of the tape as Baier read him the exact quote from the indictment.
“This is specifically a quote, you’re quoted on the recording saying the document was ‘secret,’ adding that you could have declassified it while you were president, but, quote, ‘Now I can’t you know, this is still secret, highly confidential.’ And the indictment cites the recording and the testimony from people in the room saying you showed it to people there that day,” Baier clarified.
“It was just the opposite,” Trump shot back.
“You say on tape you can’t declassify. So why have it?” Baier pushed.
“When I said that, I couldn’t declassify it now because I wasn’t president, I never made any bones about that. When I’m not president, I can’t declassify,” Trump replied.
Bret shot back noting again what Trump said on the tape, to which Trump replied, “No, no.”
“Bret, there was no document,” Trump repeated, adding:
That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things. And it may have been held up or made up, but that was not a document. I didn’t have a document per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories. Magazine stories and articles.
“I’m just saying what the indictment says. According to the recording and the people in the room,” Baier clarified.
Trump then pivoted to attacking the prosecutors, calling them “very dishonest people, they’re thugs. They’re thugs.”
I noted in that post, that Trump’s explanation did not comport with the partial transcript released by the prosecution:
We haven’t heard the tape or seen the entire transcript, but Trump’s claims seem contrary to the partial transcript (highlighted above) where he clearly seems to be talking about a specific document “done by the military.” We don’t know the testimony of the persons present as to what they did or didn’t see. The feds have the information, and presumably will call those people as witnesses.
The feds can play the tape at trial. But the only way Trump gets into evidence his side of the story as told in the interview is to testify, which it’s extremely unlikely he will do. He can’t show the Bret Baier interview, but the feds can if they think it helps them.
Whether this interview helps or hurts Trump legally remains to be seen, when we find out what else the feds have about the incident to prove what the document was.
We now have a better idea of what was said on the tape, as it was aired tonight by CNN (emphasis added):
The recording obtained by CNN begins with Trump claiming “these are bad sick people,” while his staffer claims there had been a “coup” against Trump.
“Like when Milley is talking about, ‘Oh you’re going to try to do a coup.’ No, they were trying to do that before you even were sworn in,” the staffer says, according to the audio.
The next part of the conversation is mostly included in the indictment, though the audio makes clear there are papers shuffling as Trump tells those in attendance he has an example to show.
“He said that I wanted to attack Iran, Isn’t it amazing?” Trump says as the sound of papers shuffling can be heard. “I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this – this is off the record but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”
The indictment includes ellipses where the recording obtained by CNN shows where Trump and his aide begin talking about Clinton’s emails and Weiner, whose laptop caused the FBI to briefly re-open its investigation into her handling of classified information in the days before the 2016 election she lost to Trump.
Trump then returns to the Iran document, according to the audio recording and indictment transcript.
“I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, ‘He wanted to attack Iran, and what…,’ ” Trump says.
“These are the papers,” Trump continues, according to the audio file.
“This was done by the military and given to me,” Trump continues, before noting that the document remained classified.
“See as president I could have declassified it,” Trump says. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
“Now we have a problem,” his staffer responds.
“Isn’t that interesting,” Trump says.
While that’s the last line included in the indictment, the audio recording obtained by CNN includes several additional lines from the conversation:
Trump: “It’s so cool. I mean, it’s so, look, her and I, and you probably almost didn’t believe me, but now you believe me.”
Writer: “No, I believed you.”
Trump: “It’s incredible, right?”
Writer: “No, they never met a war they didn’t want.”
Trump: “Hey, bring some, uh, bring some Cokes in please.”
Presumably the prosecution already has grand jury testimony from the people present as to what the document looked like. They will testify at trial. The prosecution will then play the Bret Baier interview in which Trump contradicts the audio and other witnesses.
That’s one of many reasons why talking about it in an interview just made things worse.
CNN now has the Trump recording where he was showing secret documents related to Iran. I don’t think it actually effects the case much, but why would you go on Baier and lie about this when you know the recording is going to come out?https://t.co/HwtF0K1F3U
— AG (@AGHamilton29) June 27, 2023
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