After the newly surfaced July 2021 recording, in which the former president allegedly claimed to have had classified documents about a possible attack on Iran after leaving the White House, legal experts predicted serious consequences for Donald Trump.
CNN’s report Wednesday that federal prosecutors obtained the audio recording during Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the confidential documents scandal would, if true, mean another indictment against Trump, they said.
Former civil prosecutor Maya Wiley, who appeared on MSNBC’s The Beat, described the sound as “explosive” and “the last nail in a coffin that already has a lot of nails in it.”
On the same show, former federal prosecutor Paul Butler said it was “devastating for Donald Trump.”
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who investigated Trump’s role in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace it “could be”game over” for Trump.
“There’s no way he won’t be charged,” Weissmann said.
The audio recording differentiated the case of Trump’s classified documents from those of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, who were both found to also have classified material in their possession but, unlike Trump, turned it over when asked, Weissmann said .
If the reporting is accurate, he said, “There will be an indictment and it’s hard to imagine with all the evidence we’ve talked about that there won’t be a conviction here.” I mean, that’s a tape.”
Former US Attorney Joyce Vance said on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour that it would be “incredibly effective to play a tape to a jury and hear the defendants essentially confess that he knew he didn’t have information.” “right now,” which was one of Trump’s defenses amid the scandal.
Former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that “there’s no such thing as smoking evidence in the real world.”
But the reported record would be “an incredibly valuable piece of evidence because it shows intent, knowledge and what he knew he had.” So it’s very, very powerful in terms of evidence,” he said .
Former Defense Department special adviser Ryan Goodman, meanwhile, said the audio recording and what Trump allegedly said in it increased the former president’s “criminal exposure”.
“War plans are among the top-secret documents,” Goodman wrote on Twitter. “Put pressure on the DOJ to bring indictments and on a jury to convict.”
“Make no mistake. This is clearly an Espionage Act case. It is not simply a ‘disability,'” Goodman added USC 793(e) of the Espionage Act, which goes hand-in-hand with his reported conduct.”