Former President Donald Trump likes to confess to crimes on tape. This time, he outdid himself.
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Former President Donald Trump loves himself, golf, junk food, and, apparently, confessing to crimes on tape.
That is the inevitable conclusion one must come to after listening to a two-minute audio recording of the former president in which he appears to show a classified document to people who, very likely, were not authorized to view such material.
In the audio clip, which was obtained by CNN, Trump can be heard showing paper(s) to multiple unidentified people (two aides as well as a writer and a publisher, according to the indictment of the former president). Trump indicates that the documents in question involve a Pentagon plan to attack Iran.
This, in case you are wondering, is not something you usually share with individuals who don’t have the proper security clearance.
While it may seem hard to imagine, things get worse for Trump from there.
The former president not only says on the recording that the information he is showing to the people is “highly confidential,” but also clearly states that the documents were classified at that time. According to the indictment, this meeting took place at Trump’s Bedminster resort in July 2021.
The reason why this is particularly damaging — apart from the fact that he is essentially committing a crime on tape — is that Trump has suggested that all of those classified documents he stole were not actually classified because, by the sheer power of his imagination, they had been declassified when he was still in office.
“See, as president I could have declassified it,” Trump is heard saying. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
The recording also contradicts something the former president said in another incriminating interview just last week, in which he was asked about this very meeting but denied that he held up a classified document.
It seems likely that Trump’s defense lawyers, whoever they are right now, are currently banging their heads against a wall.
If you are unfamiliar with cases like this, it’s not ideal for defendants to commit crimes on tape. When they do so, it generally makes the job of their attorneys more difficult.
Even Trump’s reason for showing the documents to the other people in the room is dumb. According to CNN, this meeting was held at a time when Trump was upset about an article describing the final days of his presidency.
In it, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley expressed concern that Trump was going to attack Iran to somehow stay in power after losing the election to Joe Biden.
In the recording, the former president tries to disprove this by presenting the classified document in an effort to show that it came from the Pentagon.
Once again, if you don’t know how these things work, it is usually not the president himself who draws up plans to attack other countries. As a rule of thumb, this is done on his behalf by experts in these things.
In Trump’s defense, he did say that “this is off the record” at some point, and he also made a joke about Hillary Clinton and Anthony Weiner, so it’s not as though he incriminated himself nonstop for two minutes.
Before he sends an aide to “bring some Cokes” (because he loves not only confessing to stuff on tape but also junk food), Trump says something his prosecutors probably wholeheartedly agree with.
“Isn’t that interesting?” the former president utters. “It’s so cool.”