Former President Donald Trump has previously said the documents were released at Mar-a-Lago.Brandon Bell/Getty Images
CNN reported that Trump was audio-captured in 2021, admitting he brought a secret document.
Federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s handling of documents have the recording, CNN said.
- Advertisement -
Trump has previously said that all the documents he had with him when he left office had been released.
Following a new CNN report on a sound recording that suggests former President Donald Trump knowingly brought a secret document, legal experts say it could be the damning evidence needed to incriminate him under the Espionage Act.
CNN reported Wednesday that several sources told the outlet about a recording obtained by federal prosecutors in which Trump acknowledged bringing a classified document detailing a possible attack on Iran. In the recording, Trump said he was unsure if he would be able to release records after leaving the presidency, two sources said. The New York Times And CBS news have also confirmed the existence of the recording.
CNN said it did not listen to the recording, but was informed about it by sources who called it an “important” piece of evidence. The sources said Jack Smiththe special counsel leading the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump has focused on the summer 2021 meeting in which the audio recording was made.
Trump, whose Resort and Residence Mar-A-Lago was searched by the FBI in August, has repeatedly denied any allegations and insisted that any documents recovered be “automatically” released. According to court documents, the raid yielded many documents that have survived classified marks, including some that were labeled “top secret.” CNN reported that the recording undermines Trump’s claim that he believed the documents had been released.
- Advertisement -
The Ministry of Justice is investigating if Trump broke several lawsincluding the spy law, which prohibits the sharing of information that could harm the US or benefit foreign countries. The law covers the “collection, transmission, or loss of defense information,” including any national defense document that has been “illegally removed from its proper place of custody … to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed.”
In a statement to Insidera Trump spokesperson accused the Justice Department of interfering in the 2024 election, saying: “Leaks from radical partisans behind this political prosecution are designed to fuel tensions and continue media harassment of President Trump and his supporters .”
- Advertisement -
Legal experts are responding to reports of the audio recording
“This is absolute blockbuster proof,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, wrote on Twitter about the reported audio. “It proves that Trump *knew* he kept highly classified documents after he left office, that he shared the classified information with people who did not have permission, and ‘suggests…that he was aware of limitations’ on his assets to release.”
Peter Strzoka former FBI agent, also said the audio described would be “huge” to justify an espionage charge by filling in essential gaps, including that the alleged audio could potentially show that Trump was aware of declassification proceedings , knew he hadn’t, and possibly told an unauthorized person about the document.
“Make no mistake. This is a straight-up espionage law case. It’s not just any ‘obstruction’ case,” Ryan Goodmana New York University law professor with expertise in national security wrote on Twitter, adding, “There is now every reason to expect that former President Trump will be charged” under the Espionage Act.
“The law fits his reported behavior like a glove,” Goodman said.
Richard W. Painterwho served as the chief White House ethics attorney under President George W. Bush, also said it was a “clear violation of the Espionage Act,” adding that “DOJ has no choice but to sue Trump.”
Read the original article Business Insider