Donald Trump was caught on tape bragging about keeping top secret information after leaving the White House, according to reports.
According to CNN, Justice Department investigators found an audio recording of the former president boasting about having a classified Pentagon material related to a potential assault on Iran.
Mr. Trump stated on the audio that he intended to share information from the paper with others but was aware that his authority to declassify materials would be limited once he left office.
According to Mirror News, the remarks on the audio, recorded in July 2021 at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, appear to call into question the former president’s repeated assertions that he declassified the records he brought with him from the White House to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
According to CNN, the tape was recorded at a meeting at Bedminster with Trump advisers and two persons working on Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows’, autobiography.
Meadows’ autobiography is claimed to contain an account of what looks to be the same meeting.
According to CNN, witnesses, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, have been questioned about the episode.
Mr. Milley’s spokesperson declined to comment on allegations that he had been interrogated.
The recording might also help prosecutors looking Mr. Trump was aware of his limited ability to hold secret documents.
The video was sent to special counsel Jack Smith, whose team of prosecutors has spent months examining any mishandling of secret information at Mar-a-Lago and if Trump or anyone else attempted to obstruct the investigation criminally.
The probe appears to be nearing completion, with prosecutors interviewing a diverse range of witnesses before the grand jury.
No one has been charged criminally.
The criminal inquiry began last year, after the National Archives and Records Administration notified the FBI of the presence of secret papers in 15 boxes of records returned to Trump and his representatives from Mar-a-Lago.
Investigators originally issued a subpoena for remaining classified data, but after receiving just about three dozen on a June 2022 visit to Mar-a-Lago, they returned two months later with a search warrant and obtained roughly 100 more classified documents.
Mr. Smith, the special counsel, is also looking into Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which is being investigated by prosecutors in Atlanta.
Earlier this year, New York authorities accused Mr Trump with falsifying company documents.
In a statement, a Trump spokesman claimed the inquiry was “meritless” and amounted to “continued interference in the presidential election.”