According to Smith’s indictment, Trump allegedly showed classified materials to individuals who did not possess the required government security clearances on at least two occasions. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), both incidents occurred at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
Details regarding one of the alleged instances were leaked to CNN.
On June 2, CNN reported that federal prosecutors had obtained an audio recording of a meeting that Trump took part in during the summer of 2021. In this recording, Trump reportedly acknowledges that he kept a classified Pentagon document related to a potential attack on Iran, an allegation that seems to undermine the 45th president’s previous claim that he moved to declassify all relevant information he kept in his possession before he left office, under provisions of the Presidential Records Act.
The charges “include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations,” ABC News reported.
In a subsequent wide-ranging Fox News interview with Bret Baier, Trump said that he never showed anyone the classified U.S. military plan referred to in the audio recording to anyone.
Trump vehemently maintained that he never revealed any classified military strategy for attacking Iran, which U.S. Army General Mark Milley, the now-former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly prepared. He also told Baier that he never ordered the military to formulate such an attack plan.
On July 21, 2021, the meeting took place at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, around six months after Trump’s presidency came to an end. In attendance were a writer, publisher, and two aides of the former president, and the main focus of the meeting revolved around a forthcoming book authored by Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff.
“I never ordered that to happen, no,” Trump told Baier.
Former Trump administration officials have since gone public to say the “secret plan” of attack against Iran that Trump allegedly showed off in the summer of 2021 never actually existed.
Last month, Smith’s team admitted to the federal judge overseeing Trump’s classified documents case that they incorrectly stated they turned over evidence as required by law.
Prosecutors discovered that the video used as evidence “had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view” when they were getting ready to indict Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira for allegedly conspiring with Trump to delete surveillance footage from the estate, Smith’s team wrote in a filing.
“The Government’s representation at the July 18 hearing that all surveillance footage the Government had obtained pre-indictment had been produced was therefore incorrect,” the prosecutors added.
All CCTV footage obtained by the government has now been given to the defendants, according to Smith’s team. The so-called Brady rule requires prosecutors to disclose all evidence and information favorable to the defendant.