(TargetLiberty.org) – In a recent interview with Semafor and ABC News, former President Donald Trump denied physically possessing a classified document he referred to in a 2021 audio recording, which is currently under scrutiny in the federal court case concerning the handling of sensitive and classified materials.
During his conversation with an author and a book publisher who were writing a memoir about Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Trump mentioned documents but claims he didn’t actually possess them.
Trump described his behavior during the conversation as a display of bravado. He explained, “In all honesty, it was a bit of showmanship. I was merely holding up papers and discussing them, but I was not in possession of any documents.”
Earlier this month, the federal indictment that first made public a partial transcript of this July 2021 conversation was filed against Trump. He currently faces 37 charges, 31 of which relate to intentionally keeping national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act at his Mar-a-Lago estate after his term in the White House.
CNN initially procured and broadcasted the conversation’s recording on Monday.
In the audio, Trump is heard talking about a document allegedly containing “highly confidential” and “secret” details of a theoretical plan to attack Iran. Two of his staff members were also involved in the conversation.
The brief two-minute recording seems to suggest that Trump was in possession of classified material and recognized its sensitive nature. However, in his interview, Trump insisted that he didn’t have an actual classified document at the time of the conversation.
“I was just holding up a bunch of papers — my desk is always cluttered with various papers from all sorts of things,” he added.
In a separate interview with Fox News on the same day, Trump clarified that his references to “plans” were about “construction plans” and a golf course project.
Despite the ongoing case, Trump maintains he has no regrets about the incident and denies having a classified document on his desk.
Trump asserted that the released tape vindicates him, despite the apparent acknowledgment of retaining national defense information. He continues to argue that he was entitled to have these documents and had declassified them. However, it should be noted that the classification status doesn’t negate potential culpability under the Espionage Act.
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