Democrats and the media have been up in arms about an apparent leaked audio recording of former President Donald Trump allegedly discussing in 2021 his possession of a classified document outlining U.S. military invasion plans against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The audio recording is mentioned in Special Counsel Jack Smith's criminal indictment against the former president, but the purportedly classified Iran attack plans document is not one of the 37 charges pressed against Trump, according to the Daily Wire.
In fact, it is unclear if such a document even exists, much less was in Trump's possession, as there is no record anywhere of such a document and Trump himself said that he was only referencing news reports and article clippings.
CNN was the first among many media outlets to initially report on and then later share the brief snippet of audio that was recorded during a 2021 meeting at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida.
In the recording, Trump and others made reference to an article published days earlier by The New Yorker in which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley asserted that he had to talk then-President Trump out of a desire to launch a surprise attack against Iran shortly before he left office after the 2020 election.
Amid the sound of papers rustling, Trump indicated that the situation was reversed and it was Milley who had drawn up and presented him with detailed plans for a U.S. invasion of Iran.
After suggesting that he had "just found" the papers he was looking for, Trump said, "This totally wins my case, you know," but then added, "Except it is, like, highly confidential" and "secret information."
A moment later, Trump stated, "See, as president, I could have declassified it," but "Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret."
CBS News reported that while that particular incident caught on the audio recording is mentioned in Special Counsel Smith's criminal indictment of Trump, the alleged classified document itself is not included as the basis of any of the charges in that indictment, according to an unnamed source said to be "familiar with the matter."
Per the source, the outlet reported that "Trump was not charged with unlawfully holding onto the Iran-related document discussed in the recording."
In the 37-count indictment, Trump faces 31 counts of unlawful and willful retention of national defense information, each of which includes a vague description of the document in question that sheds little light on the actual subject matter. That said, the source told CBS News, "The Iran memo is not part of the list of the 31 records in the indictment."
Furthermore, the outlet noted that "multiple sources" all asserted that Trump's defense attorneys "were not certain the Iran memo in question was ever recovered and returned to the government," meaning it either doesn't exist, was never turned over to the National Archives or found during the unprecedented FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago, or has otherwise been lost in the shuffle by federal prosecutors.
Interestingly enough, CBS News correspondent Catherine Herridge reported that according to an unnamed "former senior DOJ official," the uproar over the missing -- and potentially non-existent -- classified Iran attack plans document is "analogous to try to prove a murder case without a body."
As for the former president, he has insisted in multiple interviews that he "did nothing wrong" and did not show an unlawfully possessed classified document to others who lacked a security clearance but instead was merely rummaging through a stack of papers of article clippings in search of the report about Gen. Milley.