A recording of Donald Trump saying he is holding secret documents he didn’t declassify while he was president has emerged.
The tape was made at the former president’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club in July 2021 and seems to indicate he knew of the proper declassification procedures but did not follow them.
First obtained by CNN, the recording offers new insight into a conversation that is cited in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against Mr Trump over the mishandling classified documents.
The two-minute recording suggests the Republican nominee frontrunner was holding classified information about the Pentagon’s plans to attack Iran.
The recording begins with Mr Trump saying, “these are bad sick people,” while a staffer pointed out General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Like when Milley is talking about, ‘Oh you’re going to try to do a coup’. No, they were trying to do that before you even were sworn in,” the staffer said on the recording.
Most of Mr Trump’s response was largely included in the indictment, but the audio also included the former president and his aides joking about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
According to the indictment, the conversation included the writer, a publisher and two members of Trump’s staff.
Mr Trump can be heard saying: “He said that I wanted to attack Iran, Isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up.
“Look. This was him. They presented me this – this is off the record but – they presented me this.
“This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.”
As the remarks were made, the sound of papers rustling could be heard in the background.
After he pointed out the document was “highly confidential” and had “secret information,” one of his aides said, “Hillary would print that out all the time, you know. Her private emails.”
Mr Trump then quipped, “no, she’d send it to Anthony Weiner. The pervert.” Weiner is a former Democratic member of Congress who was jailed for sexting an underage girl.
“I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, ‘He wanted to attack Iran’, and what…” Mr Trump could be heard saying before adding, “These are the papers.”
Other lines from the conversation, including Mr Trump saying that the document was still classified, but “as president I could have declassified it” were included in the indictment.
In another section of the recording, he could also be heard saying “it’s incredible” before asking someone to “bring some Cokes in please.”
“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,” Trump said.
Mr Trump’s team have yet to comment on the recording.
Mr Trump pleaded not guilty earlier this month to 37 counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.