Trump following Mar-a-Lago raid
Trump following Mar-a-Lago raidReuters

CNN on Monday published an audio recording of the 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, in which former US President Donald Trump discusses holding secret documents he did not declassify.

The recording, which aired on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” includes new details from the conversation that is considered a critical piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump over the mishandling of classified information, including a moment when Trump seems to indicate he was holding a secret Pentagon document with plans to attack Iran.

“These are the papers,” Trump says in the audio recording, as he is discussing the Pentagon attack plans, a quote that was not included in the indictment.

In the two-minute audio recording, Trump and his aides also joke about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails after the former President says that the document was “secret information.”

“Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails,” Trump’s staffer said in the recording.

“No, she’d send it to Anthony Weiner,” Trump responded, referring to the former Democratic congressman, prompting laughter in the room.

Trump’s statements on the audio recording, saying “these are the papers” and referring to something he calls “highly confidential” and seems to be showing others in the room, could undercut the former president’s claims in an interview last week with Fox News’ Bret Baier that he did not have any documents with him.

The audio recording published on Monday comes from a July 2021 interview Trump gave at his Bedminster resort for people working on the memoir of Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff. The special counsel’s indictment alleges that those in attendance – a writer, publisher and two of Trump’s staff members – were shown classified information about the plan of attack on Iran.

The indictment against Trump 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, adding, “This was done by the military and given to me,” 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.

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.”

Trump recently pleaded not guilty to charges on 37 counts in the classified documents case. The former President has denounced the indictment against him, calling it "ridiculous and baseless" during a recent speech in Georgia.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the recording. CNN also reached out to Trump’s attorneys for comment.