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‘I Could Have Declassified It, But Now I Can’t’: Trump Discusses Iran-Related Docs on Tape

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Updated: | Originally published:

Former President Donald Trump is heard discussing what he calls “secret information” that he says he doesn’t have the power to declassify in an audio recording of a 2021 meeting in New Jersey, after he had left the White House.

The recording, broadcast on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and posted by outlets including the New York Times, includes a moment when Trump appears to indicate he was holding a document regarding possible military action against Iran, according to the reports.

“This was done by the military and given to me,” Trump is heard saying on the tape, which Bloomberg has not been able to independently verify. “It’s so cool,” he later says.

In the federal indictment against Trump handed up earlier this month, prosecutors said the former president had been recorded during a July 2021 meeting at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, talking about a military “plan of attack” document that was “highly confidential” and “secret.” The government accused him of showing it to other attendees who lacked the required security clearance to see it.

“See, as president I could have declassified it, but now I can’t,” Trump said in the recorded remarks that could undercut his defense that documents he kept after leaving the White House had been declassified.

The former president, in a post on his Truth Social platform late Monday night, said the tape had been “illegally leaked” and was “actually an exoneration, rather than what they would have you believe.”

It wasn’t clear what Trump meant by his comments about the tape being an exoneration.

—With assistance from Mario Parker and Jon Herskovitz.

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