Trump’s legal team claims the former president has no materials matching the description of a classified document he claimed he had in a 2021 recording that has been obtained by the Justice Department.
The document, reportedly classified as “SECRET,” allegedly contains descriptions of an attack plan against Iran proposed by Gen. Mark Milley. CNN reported on Friday that in March, shortly after learning of the existence of the recording, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office issued a subpoena for “any and all” materials regarding Milley and Iran — only to be told by Trump’s legal team that they don’t have anything of the sort.
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According to The New York Times, investigators have been questioning witnesses as to whether the former president showed them or others a map that allegedly contains classified information.
The recorded meeting reportedly took place in July 2021 at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. The former president met with biographers for his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who was not present, and members of his own staff.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the recording told CNN that the president indicated that while he wished he could describe the contents of a document to attendees, but couldn’t because several people present lacked clearance. He reportedly indicated he was both aware he had retained classified materials and that he could not flat-out declassify documents following his departure from the presidency.
The latter acknowledgment blows a hole in Trump’s claims that the trove of hundreds of documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago following his departure from office was perfectly legal because he could declassify documents just by “saying” so or “thinking about it.”
Trump was questioned about the existence of the recording during a Thursday night Fox News town hall event, and claimed he didn’t “know anything about it.”
“All I know is this: everything I did was right,” Trump added.
Hannity: News broke yesterday there might be tape recording, where you acknowledged that you understood that these were classified documents.
Trump: I don't know anything about it. All I know is everything did was right pic.twitter.com/7RMmmmL5HP
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 2, 2023
That Trump’s team denies having the materials will certainly not be enough to convince investigators to drop the search. After all, it took multiple handovers and an FBI search to ascertain exactly how many classified documents Trump was keeping at his estate. Smith has also been investigating former Trump attorney Evan Corcoran, who shortly before the FBI raid drafted an affidavit claiming a “diligent search” had been conducted on the property and no more classified materials remained.
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