‘I could have declassified, but now I can’t’: Trump transcript obtained by CNN

CNN says it has exclusively obtained a transcript in which former President Donald Trump admitted that he kept classified “secret” military information. The recording that the transcript is based on was allegedly made during a 2021 meeting, CNN reported.

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Update 9:45 a.m. EDT June 9: The Washington Post and other media outlets have confirmed the transcript’s existence and its contents.

The Post reported that the recording came from when Trump spoke to a team who was researching a book written by Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff.

In the recording, according to the newspaper, Trump is heard complaining about his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley.

“Well, with Milley — uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers; this thing just came up,” Trump said, according to the Post. “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. … This wasn’t done by me, this was him. All sorts of stuff — pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. … This was done by the military and given to me.”

It was recorded in Bedminster, New Jersey, and happened just after The New Yorker published a story on how Milley told the Joint Chiefs not to allow Trump to issue any orders that could be considered illegal and to inform Milley if they had concerns, CNN reported.

CNN reported that Trump was subpoenaed by prosecutors to produce the document that he was referencing. The former president’s attorneys produced some of the Iran- and Milley-related documents but not that specific one.

Original report: The transcript has not yet been confirmed by other media outlets.

But according to CNN, Trump said, “As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t.” The meeting included talk about a classified document from the Pentagon that discussed attacking Iran.

Trump had said in the past that any documents he had at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified, The New York Times reported. He called the investigation by special counsel Jack Smith a witch hunt and a hoax.

Trump was indicted Thursday on seven counts in connection to the mishandling of classified documents, The Associated Press reported. The Department of Justice has not released the details on exactly what counts Trump is facing, but it is expected to do so before the former president appears in court on Tuesday.

Trump’s lawyer told NBC’s “Today” show that his client had done nothing wrong.

“There’s no criminal statute within the Presidential Records Act that says it’s a violation to possess any of these things — even the most sensitive documents,” Jim Trusty said on Friday, NBC reported.

Trump is currently running for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election.

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