- Federal prosecutors have obtained audio of Trump admitting he held onto classified material after leaving office, CNN reported.
- The audio notes that Trump held onto information regarding a potential attack on Iran.
- A recent report said special counsel Jack Smith is nearing a decision to bring charges against Trump.
Federal prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of former President Donald Trump acknowledging he kept classified documents after his time in the White House, according to CNN.
Reporters for CNN had not listened to the recording, but the outlet cited multiple sources who said the it shows Trump knowingly kept confidential information beyond his time as president. The classified documents detail a “potential attack on Iran,” per CNN’s sources.
The Department of Justice’s investigation into Trump’s mishandling of documents publicly began in August 2022, when FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home in Florida to uncover a trove of documents, many of which were classified.
The former president has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and insisted he could hold onto sensitive documents from his time in office because the presidency granted him the power to “automatically” declassify the information.
In a statement shared with Insider, a spokesperson for Trump said: “Leaks from radical partisans behind this political persecution are designed to inflame tensions and continue the media’s harassment of President Trump and his supporters.”
“It’s just more proof that when it comes to President Trump, there are absolutely no depths to which they will not sink as they pursue their witch hunts,” the spokesperson said. “The DOJ’s continued interference in the presidential election is shameful and this meritless investigation should cease wasting the American taxpayer’s money on dEmocrat political objectives.”
One source told CNN that discussion about the classified document was part of a longer meeting that took place in July 2021 at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The meeting has been a focal point in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal investigation thus far, according to the outlet, and federal investigators have already asked high-level witnesses about the Iran document in front of a federal grand jury.
Sources told the outlet that several attendees at the July meeting would not have had the necessary security clearance to be privy to discussions about the classified material.
The audio recording includes comments by Trump discussing his desire to publicly share information about the potential Iran attack, but acknowledging that he could not declassify the information at that point since he was no longer president, according to CNN’s sources.
A recent Wall Street Journal report noted that Smith is nearing the end of his testimony and evidence-gathering phase into Trump’s handling of classified documents and is nearing a decision on whether or not to bring criminal charges against the 45th president.
Soon after the Wall Street Journal’s report, Trump’s attorneys sent US Attorney General Merrick Garland a letter requesting a meeting to discuss Smith’s investigation.
Evidence indicating the former president was knowingly discussing his possession of classified documents after his presidency could escalate Trump’s long list of legal troubles as he makes another bid for the presidency.
May 31, 2023: This story has been updated to include a statement from a Trump spokesman.