Trump Admits to Keeping Classified Document After Leaving Office

According to a person knowledgeable on the situation, former President Donald J. Trump stated during a meeting in July 2021 that a document in front of him was “classified” and “highly confidential,” six months after leaving the White House.

However, new information on Mr. Trump’s precise words appears to suggest explicitly that he was aware that files he had taken with him from the White House included secret information. That meeting, where people were assisting his former chief of staff with a book, has already been revealed.

The special counsel Jack Smith’s case against him, which includes seven counts connected to his possession of reams of sensitive material, is anticipated to rely heavily on the tape.

According to the person briefed on the situation, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, Mr. Trump said, “As president, I could have declassified them, now I can’t,” and added, “I can’t show the document to the people in front of me because many, if not all, don’t have security clearances that would allow them to see sensitive government material.”

A lady in the room reportedly stated, “Now we have a problem,” in response to Mr. Trump saying the document was “classified,” according to the person familiar with the recording.

Many of the specifics of what is stated on the recording have already been covered by CNN, which also broke the news of its existence.

An email regarding the fresh material was not immediately answered by Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman.

The New York Times confirms the news on its official Twitter account:

Trump’s Meeting With Meadows Aides About Classified Records

Officials from the National Archives had already spent at least two months pressuring Mr. Trump’s representatives to surrender records they suspected he had in his possession by the time the meeting took place in July 2021.

The transcript shows that Mr. Trump understood he no longer had the authority to declassify data and was not only aware that he had sensitive information, but also had it with him at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the meeting took place.

Two individuals helping Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff, with a memoir about his time in the White House, were the subject of Mr. Trump’s meeting with them. Also present were Mr. Trump’s assistants.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Mr. Trump had nominated at the time, was the focus of numerous media portrayals at the time that portrayed him as resisting an unstable president in the closing months of his reign.

Regarding General Milley, Mr. Trump became enraged.

Mr. Trump said, “Isn’t it amazing, I have a big pile of papers,” at one point. There was a sound of papers rustling, and Mr. Trump then appeared to point to a particular document and remark, “Look, this was him.” He continued, “This was the Defense Department and him.” at another time.

He insisted that General Milley was the one who wanted to strike Iran (although General Milley had actually advised against doing so) and described something in front of him as “like, highly confidential.”

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A woman in the room was heard on the video mentioning Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state whose email server Mr. Trump used as an attack line during the 2016 presidential campaign when Mr. Trump was interrupted. According to Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton would give documents “to Anthony Weiner, that pervert,” a reference to the former congressman who was married to a Clinton campaign employee.

Although the accusations may not depend on whether anything was classified, Mr. Trump and his associates have frequently claimed that while he was still in office, he had declassified all the information he brought with him from the White House. The recording, though, seemed to refute his claim.

According to the individual acquainted with its contents, Mr. Trump was heard stating, “As president, I could have declassified them, but now I can’t.” Then, according to the individual acquainted with its contents, he repeated that something was “classified” as he and one of the women in the room talked over each other.

That’s fascinating, isn’t it? It’s awesome, Mr. Trump remarked, adding, “You probably almost didn’t believe me, but now you believe me.

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