CONCORD, NH – Former President Donald Trump insists he did “nothing wrong” when he responded to a leaked recording of him apparently discussing what he described as “highly confidential” documents in his possession after his presidency.
Trump, the leading front-runner in the latest GOP presidential nomination polls while running for the White House for a third straight, argued in a Fox News Digital interview Tuesday that “this is just another hoax.”
“I would say more than election interference. It’s a shame they can do it,” Trump said. “Everything was fine. We didn’t do anything wrong and everyone knows that.”
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Trump was indicted and charged earlier this month for his alleged unauthorized retention of classified documents. He pleaded not guilty in federal court to criminal charges that he had illegally retained national security records at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach after the end of his tenure, and that he obstructed federal efforts to recover the documents. In total, Trump faces 37 felonies.
TRUMP HAS HEARD ON TAPE APPEARINGLY DISCUSSING CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
Former President Donald Trump gestures before speaking at the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women Lilac Luncheon, Tuesday, June 27, 2023, in Concord, NH (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (AP)
In an exclusive interview last week with Fox News’ Bret Baier, the former president said that “there was no document” and that he was only discussing news clips.
But an audio recording obtained by CNN appears to show Trump discussing classified materials at a July 2021 meeting at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The former president is heard to say, “These are the papers,” as he discusses apparently top-secret US military strike plans against Iran. Trump claimed on tape that the plan came from Pentagon officials.
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Trump is also heard on the recording saying “it’s so cool”, and that the information was classified and “highly confidential”. The conversation is considered a key piece of evidence in the Special Prosecutor’s indictment against the former president.
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When asked by Fox Digital how the audio recording matches what he told Baier last week, Trump replied: “I said it very clearly – I had a whole desk full of papers, mostly newspaper articles, copies of magazines, copies of various plans. , copies of stories, which dealt with a great many subjects, and what was said was absolutely fine and very perfect. We did nothing wrong. This is a whole hoax.”
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Fox Digital followed up by asking the former president if he was concerned about the audio recording.
“My voice was fine. What did I say wrong on those recordings. I didn’t even see the recording. I just know I didn’t do anything wrong.” said Trump. “We had a lot of papers, a lot of papers piled up. You even hear the rustling of the newspaper. And nobody said I did anything wrong, except the fake news which is also Fox.”
Asked if there are any other recordings that might become reality, Trump said, “I don’t know of any recordings that we should be concerned about because I’m not doing things wrong. I’m doing things right. I’m a legitimate person.”
And while taking aim at President Biden, Trump charged, “I’m not like Biden who gets hundreds of millions of dollars from people and countries.”
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“We’re doing things right, so I don’t care about withdrawals,” Trump added.
The former president was interviewed in Concord, New Hampshire ahead of his keynote address at the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women’s annual fundraising gala.
Paul Steinhauser is a political reporter from New Hampshire.