In the audio recording, Trump is heard discussing a classified military document that he acknowledges was not declassified when he was president.
In interviews after his indictment last month, Trump denied that he was showing off a classified document in the recorded exchange, suggesting to Fox News’s Sean Hannity that he was just holding up newspaper articles.
In the audio, which was recorded at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster in 2021, the former president is heard speaking with two staffers and the author and publisher of an upcoming book.
Trump talks about what he describes as a “plan of attack” that was given to him by the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley. Trump is heard telling the group that the document was from the Defense Department and was “highly confidential” and “secret.”
A spokesman for the Trump campaign claimed that Trump was “speaking rhetorically,” and the audio proves that Trump “did nothing wrong at all.”
In response to CNN releasing the recording, Trump took to Truth Social to accuse special counsel Jack Smith of “illegally” leaking the audio to CNN. Trump also claimed that the recording exonerated him, but Smith “spun” the transcript and audio to make people believe otherwise.
But last Tuesday, Trump changed his story somewhat.
In an interview with Semafor, Trump denied showing any classified document during that 2021 meeting, claiming, “It was bravado.” He explained that he was “just holding up papers” and talking big, “but I had no documents.”
When asked about his reference to a “plan of attack,” Trump feigned ignorance, expressing surprise that he used the word “plans.” Trump insisted that if he was talking about plans, then he was referring to “magazines, newspapers,” and “plans of buildings” for a golf course.