Federal prosecutors say they have obtained a recording of former President Donald Trump acknowledging that he kept a classified document after he left the White House in January of 2021, several media outlets are reporting.
The document is said to be a sensitive military document, according to two people who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. The document is believed to be a Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran, CNN reported.
In the recording which has been heard by prosecutors investigating Trump’s role in the handling of classified documents found in his Florida home, Trump suggests that he knew the secret document had not been declassified, according to CNN.
Trump said he took the classified document with him when he left office, contradicting his claim that the material he kept after the end of his presidency had already been declassified.
Special counsel Jack Smith is looking into whether Trump violated federal laws on how classified government material is handled, and whether he obstructed federal officials who were trying to retrieve documents he took with him after his presidency ended.
According to the Washington Post, the recording was made during a meeting Trump held in July 2021 with several people who were helping, Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, to write a memoir about his time in the White House.
The meeting where the recording was made was held at Trump’s club at Bedminster, N.J. Meadows was not at the meeting. Those in attendance at the meeting did not have security clearances to access the classified information, sources told CNN.
According to the Times, it was common for Trump to record meetings with someone who is writing a book about something he is involved with.
It is not clear if Trump had the document when the recording was made, or if he was describing it to the people at the meeting, according to CBS News.
The sources who spoke to the Post say they are not able to recount the entire audio tape and neither the tape nor a transcript of the tape has been released by prosecutors.
His lawyers had suggested that Trump did not know he had classified documents after leaving the White House or if he could have declassified the materials before leaving, the Post reported.