Former President Donald Trump reacted furiously Monday after CNN released an audio file in which he spoke about a sensitive military document he kept after leaving the White House, saying the recording actually exonerated him and reflected an ongoing witch hunt reflected in the Ministry of Justice.
“The deranged Special Attorney Jack Smith, in cooperation with the Justice Department and the FBI, illegally leaked and ‘spun’ a tape and transcript of me, which is actually exoneration and not what they want you to believe,” Trump said wrote on his Truth Social platform. “This ongoing witch hunt is another electoral fraud. They are cheats and thugs!”
CNN was the first to publish it 2 minute tone Earlier in the day, a key piece of evidence in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against the former President. In the clip, Trump references a document he says was compiled by General Mark Milley, who chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he was president, on possible attacks against Iran.
“They presented this to me – it’s confidential, but – they presented this to me.” He was. It was him and the Department of Defense,” Trump says in audio over Milley, while papers can be heard shuffling in the background.
He then tells his guests that the documents are confidential and that the documents are “strictly confidential” and “secret”.
“Look, as President, I could have declassified it,” Trump added. “Now I can’t, you know, but that’s still a secret.”
Trump was indicted earlier this month on 37 criminal charges relating to his handling of classified files after he left the White House and his alleged efforts to obstruct government efforts to get those documents back.
The former president has denied the charges and pleaded not guilty to all counts earlier this month. He has repeatedly asserted that he had the right to take anything he wanted from the White House and that he had standing orders to declassify anything that left the Oval Office.
But the latest audio recordings appear to back up these claims, as he acknowledges the classified nature of the files he was carrying.