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Trump Denies Having Or Showing Iran Attack Plans, Contrary to Indictment

Trump Denies Having Or Showing Iran Attack Plans, Contrary to Indictment

We haven’t heard the tape or seen the entire transcript, but Trump’s claims seem contrary to the partial transcript where he clearly seems to be talking about a specific document “done by the military.”

In my numerous interviews on the subject of the Florida indictment of Donald Trump, I’ve repeatedly highlighted the part of the indictment alleging that Donald Trump, in a tape recorded interview, stated that he had a document that he could have declassified but didn’t, that was highly confidential, and that in some manner he showed it to the interviewers, at least from a distance. From the Indictment (emphasis added):

6. On two occasions in 2021, TRUMP showed classified documents to others, as follows:

a. In July 2021, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey (“The Bedminster Club”), during an audio-recorded meeting with a writer, a publisher, and two members of his staff, none of whom possessed a security clearance, TRUMP showed and described a “plan of attack” that TRUMP said was prepared for him by the Department of Defense and a senior military official. TRUMP told the individuals that the plan was “highly confidential” and “secret.” TRUMP also said, “as president I could have declassified it,” and, “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
b. In August or September 2021, at The Bedminster Club, TRUMP showed a representative of his political action committee who did not possess a security clearance a classified map related to a military operation and told the representative that he should not be showing it to the representative and that the representative should not get too close.

* * *

33. On July 21, 2021, when he was no longer president, TRUMP gave an interview in his office at The Bedminster Club to a writer and a publisher in connection with a then-forthcoming book. Two members of TRUMP’s staff also attended the interview, which was recorded with TRUMP’s knowledge and consent. Before the interview, the media had published reports that, at the end of TRUMP’s term as president, a senior military official (the “Senior Military Official”) purportedly feared that TRUMP might order an attack on Country A and that the Senior Military Official advised TRUMP against doing so.

34. Upon greeting the writer, publisher, and his two staff members, TRUMP stated, “Look what I found, this was [ the Senior Military Official’s] plan of attack, read it and just show … it’s interesting.” Later in the interview, TRUMP engaged in the following exchange:

TRUMP: Well, with [the Senior Military Official]-uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack [Country A]. Isn’t it amazing? 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.
TRUMP: We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him. All sorts of stuff-pages long, look.
TRUMP: Wait a minute, let’s see here.
STAFFER: [Laughter] Yeah.
TRUMP: I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know.
TRUMP: Except it is like, highly confidential.

STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]
TRUMP: Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. You attack, and-
TRUMP: By the way. Isn’t that incredible?
TRUMP: I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, “he wanted to attack [Country A], and what … ”
STAFFER: You did.
TRUMP: This was done by the military and given to me. Uh, I think we can probably, right?
STAFFER: I don’t know, we’ll, we’ll have to see. Yeah, we’ll have to try to-
TRUMP: Declassify it.
STAFFER: -figure out a-yeah.
TRUMP: See as president I could have declassified it.
STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]
TRUMP: Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.
STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter] Now we have a problem.
TRUMP: Isn’t that interesting?

At the time of this exchange, the writer, the publisher, and TRUMP’s two staff members did not have security clearances or any need-to-know any classified information about a plan of attack on Country A.

35. In August or September 2021, when he was no longer president, TRUMP met in his office at The Bedminster Club with a representative of his political action committee (the “PAC Representative”). During the meeting, TRUMP commented that an ongoing military operation in Country B was not going well. TRUMP showed the PAC Representative a classified map of Country B and told the PAC Representative that he should not be showing the map to the PAC Representative and to not get too close. The PAC Representative did not have a security clearance or any need-to-know classified information about the military operation.

I certainly was not alone in pointing to that allegation as potentially the most damaging legally. Speculation is that the document in question was the U.S. battle plan for invading Iran. But I also pointed out that as with all the allegations, we didn’t know the entire picture of what happened:

…. But it’s also true that there are allegations which need to be proven, just cause they’re in an indictment doesn’t make them true, that there are recordings or there’s a recording of him supposedly flashing battle plans in front of some people who are interviewing him. That’s very troubling. You can’t ignore that. If it’s true.

…. And that’s why I say we don’t know, you know, what the full story is here and it’s gotta be proven. If that is a document that was already in the public domain, then I think that should have been disclosed in the indictment. That puts a very different light on it. And that’s why I’m saying the indictment is just the allegations by the prosecutors. It’s not necessarily all the evidence, but if it’s true that that was still a classified document, if that’s true, and if he showed it to people while acknowledging that it had never been declassified, that puts him at significant risk.

But on the supposed Iran document, we now know Trump’s defense: There was no such document, he was just posturing regarding reporting about Iran. During his interview with Brett Baier, Trump said (via Mediaite):

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.”

Jonathan Turley found this the most legally significant part of the interview:

Digesting the extraordinary interview with Trump, the most significant legal element is the stating of his defense to the audiotape. Trump will argue that there was never a document with the Iranian attack plan and that he was referring to material referencing the plan…

…On the tape, Trump says “As president I could have declassified, but now I can’t…Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. This was done by the military and given to me.”…

…So he will argue that this was a reference to a document that he did not have and could not now declassify it. The DOJ will push back on the language and could call the two individuals in the meeting on their own impressions…

..They may also have a specific document in mind, but they have not indicated that they have proof of its removal. That could be part of the case to come. However, we now know Trump’s account of the audiotape.

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.


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JohnSmith100 | June 19, 2023 at 9:52 pm

I have 50years of diverse business experience, 30 of which I was involved in grass root lobbying. Much of which involved intense, bitter conflict.

All that was minor in comparison to what was unleashed on Trump,

Today we have a family syndicate whom I am pretty sure has been selling classified documents and certainly has many other criminal enterprises out of the Whitehouse.

All I am interested in at this point is seeing a special prosecutor assigned to look into Jack Smith.

retiredcantbefired | June 19, 2023 at 9:59 pm

With all due respect, is it helpful to parse this indictment as though it’s a “normal” thing? As though there is a thing legitimate about it? As though any portion of it is a legal and not a purely political instrument?

As far as anyone can see, the author or authors of this indictment want Donald Trump convicted of something or other and sent to Federal prison. If they obtain the results they desire, they’ll be satisfied. Whether Trump is facing genuine legal liability is no concern of theirs.

    Trump is being held to a standard to which no president has ever or will ever held. All the years and millions spent digging through his businesses and personal life and this nicknack inflated bs is all they can come up with.
    But you’re right – it’s good enough for them. All that matters is that it works. They want Trump destroyed and they want him destroyed publicly. They’re sending a message to any future “Trumps”; This is what happens.

      Othniel in reply to JohnC. | June 20, 2023 at 5:07 pm

      “Trump is being held to a standard to which no president has ever or will ever held.”

      I have to think this will set the standard for Republican presidents going forward, assuming we ever have one again.

Suburban Farm Guy | June 19, 2023 at 10:00 pm

51 members of the ‘intelligence’ community getting up and LYING is some kind of badge of honor

My starting assumption is that anything involving some “tape” is another hoax. While he was president, the permanent government/Democrats/Media ran hoax after hoax this way. When you get the full context or uncut video, you can then see it was a hoax. A few examples:
1. Fine people hoax
2. Drink bleach hoax
3. Overfeeding Koi fish in Japan hoax
4. Trump mocked a reporter’s disability hoax

I think there were so many more, but who can remember all of them. In general, the government will hide all the evidence to back this claim by saying it’s confidential, we’ll probably never know the real story here.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to james h. | June 19, 2023 at 11:02 pm

    I object to calling any of these things a hoax, they are bald faced lies, a conspiracy to subvert civil liberties. When will there be payback, the kind of which Comey is so worried about?

    Flatworm in reply to james h. | June 20, 2023 at 6:17 am

    It’s easy for the media to take quotes out of context and manufacture a hoax, but it’s quite another to pull the wool over the eyes of a jury in court. In court, there are rules of evidence, set definitions, and cross-examination.

    Maybe the prosecution is bluffing with that transcript. Somehow. Maybe they’ll fall flat on their faces and look like fools at trial – but I doubt it. I fully expect them to trot out the full audiotape, followed by the actual document in question, with a search warrant return showing when it was seized and from where, followed by eyewitnesses to the event.

      alohahola in reply to Flatworm. | June 20, 2023 at 8:24 am

      “I fully expect them to trot out . . . ”

      Wish they would put up or shut up already.

      james h in reply to Flatworm. | June 20, 2023 at 11:02 am

      Nobody is going to see any of the documents – they’re allegedly national defense secrets! The government will instruct the jury to take their word about the documents at face value. Note also this from the professor in his post: “But the only way Trump gets into evidence his side of the story as told in the interview is to testify”

      The prosecution will probably pull all sorts of tricks like this, knowing that Trump (probably?) won’t testify.

      retiredcantbefired in reply to Flatworm. | June 20, 2023 at 11:09 am

      The prosecutors are going to show the jury a document they’ve insisted is top secret.

      Sure they will. /s

    Dimsdale in reply to james h. | June 20, 2023 at 6:47 am

    Considering that the FIB has faked evidence about Pres. Trump before, why should this be any more reliable?

Smith has shown he is a dirty cop among dirty cops. The Jan 6 presentation shows how the Trump deranged see truth. After all, making it up and playing dirty is justified when you’re delivering salvation. That’s all the more reason not to trust the indictment. Trump has a much better record for veracity than his inquisitors.

JohnSmith100 | June 19, 2023 at 11:08 pm

I can be one really nasty SOB, hard nosed. That came from tough experiences.

I see trump as being forged by the same kind of forces. Trump is the only person who is tough enough to take on the forces who control Deep State. He cannot be bribed.

So he is alleged to have “flashed” a document (do they have the specific document?) to a non cleared person. Can they describe it? Somehow I doubt it if “flashed.” Secondly, Pres. Trump says they weren’t what the persecutors are claiming. Again, do they have the specific document?

If the person allegedly shown or flashed the document can’t describe it with any clarity or precision, is it any worse than seeing a folder marked “classified” and tossed on the floor to look like Pres. Trump was careless with classified material.

Now for the equal protection “whataboutism:” it is claimed that there are at least two classified documents that Hunter Biden emailed to a foreign entity and is on the laptop from hell. Clearly, emailing far surpasses “flashing” in the category of viewing by non cleared individuals. What is Hunter’s classification status?

So many questions, so many lies, too many Democrat socialists…

    randian in reply to Dimsdale. | June 20, 2023 at 5:15 am

    Oh, you can be certain that the “witnesses” all have 5/20 vision and could read the exact words of the document, without motion blur, even though it is completely unreadable on the video.

With witnesses of the taping… two options come to mind…. threats and bribery to have someone play along with Team FJoe Biden. There is one story of attempted bribe and then we have J6er’s and Seth Rich option….of Chateau D’if or pushing daisies. “Get Trump” is all the icing on the cake to remind all others that their life and liberty are fleeting in their “precious democracy”.

From what I’ve seen elsewhere, the “military official” was General Milley and the country is Iran. The occasion of the dispute was the attack on the US Embassy in Iraq by Iranian militia (several of which are, to this day, operating in Iran – having been let in by Obama to drive out ISIS, whom Obama let in and was then unwilling to step up and drive out).

Trump wanted to destroy those militias, not invade Iran. Milley conflated the two, as if it were the same thing and advised against. Trump settled for the drone strike that took out Iran’s terror leader Soleimani, who was in Iraq personally directing the Iranian militias (one of those militias leaders was in the car with him and was killed also).

Trump remembered Milley blocking him on this when he discovered the plan by Milley to invade Iran itself – which Trump had never advocated for to begin with.

And, yes, contrary to the indictment, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he let anyone actually read any of it. Merely that he waved it around, in their presence.

Anyway, the Presidential Records Act gives POTUS broad authority to determine, on their own authority as the sole authority classifying anything to begin with, what is a “personal record” that they are then allowed to keep with them when they leave office (Obama has an entire warehouse of stuff like this, Trump had a mere handful of documents – literally, you can easily hold them in one hand. 99% of what was taken in the Mar a Lago raid was newspaper and magazine clippings).

Note that Iran has been at war with the United States, officially, since 1979.

Oh yeah, and Trump started precisely ZERO new wars as POTUS. Managed to end most of the conflicts he inherited from Obama as well.

Meanwhile, Biden had enough classified documents at the Biden Center at UPenn, an office in NY City’s Chinatown, and his unsecured house in Delaware (where Hunter regularly brought prostitutes and met with his crack dealers) to fill a fleet of 18 wheelers. Biden had zero authority as Senator or VP to take any of them. No raid. No indictment.

    Dimsdale in reply to Aarradin. | June 20, 2023 at 6:51 am

    A million thumbs up!

    Romynomask in reply to Aarradin. | June 20, 2023 at 8:36 am

    Exactly! No evidence he actually showed any document.

    Also, isn’t it illegal to target someone or even call them a target?

    Fishing around for crimes – isn’t this considered a civil issue? DOJ couldn’t make that work, so they bumped it up to that 1917 espionage act! How desperate could they possibly be?

RepublicanRJL | June 20, 2023 at 5:36 am

The Feds are like blind squirrels hoping they’ll stumble on an acorn.

Trump is a showman. I find it highly likely that he was boasting about something that he didn’t really have.

    Romynomask in reply to MTED. | June 20, 2023 at 8:37 am

    Yes, but he didn’t do it in front of millions of people like Biden did when he was trying to get the Ukrainian prosecutor of Burisma. Call Obama! Lol

E Howard Hunt | June 20, 2023 at 9:09 am

What sickens me is that in every instance of unfair attack, Trump took the bait, ignored wise counsel, and acted as an idiot. He could have thwarted and turned to his advantage the Russian Collusion Hoax, the Hunter laptop suppression and the COVID response had he been a disciplined and clever man. I voted for him twice, but Barr is right about him. He is an immature, narcissistic, disloyal jerk with no principles other than self-aggrandizement.

    diver64 in reply to E Howard Hunt. | June 20, 2023 at 9:27 am

    When you have been under such attack for years don’t cover yourself in honey and throw yourself onto a fire ant hill.

    Sultan in reply to E Howard Hunt. | June 20, 2023 at 9:30 am

    100% correct

    Trump was taken out of a fancy prep school and sent to a military academy at age 13 for many years. It may not have “worked”.

    He not only did not drain the swamp while in office but arguably made it worse. Biden is horrible. But, this election should be a choice of the next generation.

    retiredcantbefired in reply to E Howard Hunt. | June 20, 2023 at 11:18 am

    The only way Trump could have avoided this indictment was by not bringing a single document home from the White House.

    Then, of course, there’d have been an indictment for something else.

    Such as the Reichstagsbrand/ January 6 indictment that’s probably still coming.

    We can fault the guy for various bad decisions, but these prosecutions have nothing to do with bad decisions. They were (and are) coming because he is Donald Trump and some way must be found to eliminate him.

      E Howard Hunt in reply to retiredcantbefired. | June 20, 2023 at 12:02 pm

      The deep state is out to get Trump, but if he had followed his lawyers’ advice and acted sensibly he would not have been indicted. Both things can be true. Trump is so bad he hired (according to one of his attorneys) a young, attractive, know-nothing female attorney to be on his team so he could stare at her and make juvenile remarks about her body to other men. She was a disruptive presence. That demonstrates what a stupid, vulgar, disgrace this man is.

    Azathoth in reply to E Howard Hunt. | June 20, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    ” He could have thwarted and turned to his advantage the Russian Collusion Hoax,”

    And if he had managed to do that he would have gotten elected preside…… oh. wait. he DID.

    They tried to use the Russian collusion hoax to keep him out of office in 2016. It didn’t work.

    The laptop suppression happened right before the 2020 election. And he announced the vaccine almost at the same time (and the dems said that they wouldn’t be taking a vaccine pushed through by Trump–and they kept saying it…….until they could claim it.

Most seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Exactly what is in those files that caused such panic in the deep state to the extent they took such extraordinary actions to get the back under lock and key? It seems the “nuclear codes” and “attack plans” angle has all disappeared.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to diver64. | June 20, 2023 at 10:30 am

    It doesn’t matter what might or might not be in those documents. The democrat party is out to get Trump no matter what they have to do. They want Trump gone. They want Trump gone now. And Trump handed them a fiat accompli with this whole classified documents fiasco. As long as democrats can pin the “classified document” description it’s fair game and it doesn’t really matter what the document actually is in the end.

diver64: It seems the “nuclear codes” and “attack plans” angle has all disappeared.

That is incorrect. They are right there in the indictment:

The classified documents TRUMP stored in his boxes included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.

Lucifer Morningstar: As long as democrats can pin the “classified document” description it’s fair game and it doesn’t really matter what the document actually is in the end.

That is also incorrect. It will matter very much in court. The primary allegation is for “Willful Retention of National Defense Information.” While classification is an important marking to alert the person as to the sensitivity of the information, the government will have to show that the documents were, indeed, relating to the national defense.

Trump was also charged with obstructing a court order related to documents marked classified. For this crime, it is only sufficient to show the documents were marked classified regardless of content, but the government will be prepared to prove the documents are relating to the national defense.

This isn’t new law. It’s governed by the Classified Information Procedures Act. As with other such prosecutions, the government is in a difficult place. They can’t show the most secure documents in open court. Generally, the government will look for a plea deal to avoid disclosure. However, as a plea deal is unlikely in this case, the government will choose documents that are sufficiently sensitive and relating to the national defense so as to convince a jury.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to Zachriel. | June 20, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    No, you don’t understand. It’s all about Getting Trump. democrats have tried for over seven years and gotten nowhere until now. They are not going to be worried about the niceties of the law. democrats want Trump in prison. democrats want Trump in prison well before Biden (or whomever they eventually end up nominating) has to go out speechifying and stumping the country for the presidency. So democrats are going to use every trick both fair and foul to accomplish that.