In the audio recording, Trump is heard discussing a sensitive Iran document

The Washington Post has obtained a 2021 audio recording in which former President Donald Trump appears to brag about having a classified Iran-related document he admits he did not declassify before leaving office.

The recording, made at a meeting at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, NJ, was a critical piece of evidence obtained by special counsel Jack Smith. It appears to undercut Trump’s claims that he had declassified documents before leaving office or that he was unaware of his possession of restricted documents after leaving the White House.

The tape, which was cited in the federal indictment against Trump, began airing Monday CNNTrump details aspects of the multi-page document that he alleges could attack Iran.

“Look, as president I could have classified it, now I can’t. … Isn’t that impressive? It’s pretty cool,” Trump said in the recording.

Trump faces 37 criminal charges related to the mishandling of classified documents. In a recent interview, Trump said he did not know the Iran dossier was among the items in boxes recovered by the FBI and Justice Department at Mar-a-Lago — his private club and Florida home. He went on to say that everything he took with him was classified. He pleaded not guilty earlier this month during a trial in federal court in Miami.

Prosecutors’ 49-page indictment outlines two instances in which Trump disclosed sensitive documents in unsecured environments to individuals who did not have the necessary security clearances to access classified post-presidential information. The second event detailed in the indictment is an August or September 2021 meeting where Trump showed an unnamed representative of his political action team a classified map of “Country B” and told the individual he should not share the map.

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An audio recording is cited in the indictment that describes a July 2021 meeting Trump had at his Bedminster golf club with two employees, as well as the publisher and author of an upcoming book. People familiar with the matter said the book is an upcoming memoir by Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff.

Meadows recounted the scene in his book, “The Chief’s Chief,” in which he described a four-page document that he said was Trump’s plan for an invasion of Iran, and which the Defense Department and General Mark A. He said it was written by Millie. of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the time, Milley was a frequent target of Trump’s ire, and the former president was hoping to push back against articles and books that Milley described as trying to dissuade Trump from reckless military action in Iran.

Former military officials previously told The Post that Milley did not recommend attacking Iran. But it was routine for the Pentagon to prepare memos outlining various military options for responding to a foreign adversary, people familiar with Milley’s briefings to the president said. The Pentagon had a memo calling for a military strike on Iran, but it was not written by Milley, they said.

During the nearly two-minute recording, Trump describes a document as “highly classified” before saying, “This is classified information.” At one point he says, “You didn’t believe me, but now you do. It’s incredible. “

The audio also contradicts what Trump told Fox News anchor Bret Baier in an interview that aired last week. In the interview, Trump denied referring to an actual document during the conversation in Bedminster; Instead, he said he was discussing “newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles.”

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Judge Eileen M. Cannon is scheduled to hold a preliminary hearing in the case on July 14.

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