Trump says leaked recording is exonerating

June 30, 2023
Robert Ayers

Former President Donald Trump says that the recently leaked audio recording of himself is "actually an exoneration." 

The recording - and its transcript - was recently published by CNN. It is reportedly "a critical piece of evidence" in the criminal classified documents case that special counsel Jack Smith - on behalf of President Joe Biden's Department of Justice (DOJ) - has brought against Trump.


In the recording, which is from July 2021, Trump could be heard accusing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley of wanting Trump - back when Trump was still president - to attack Iran. Trump, in the recording, also claims that he has the documentation to prove it.

That is when Trump, while allegedly holding up some kind of documents, could be heard saying, "As president, I could have declassified it. Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret."

This could be an important piece of evidence for Smith because it appears to show that Trump had classified documents and knew that he had classified documents.

Legal experts, however, are undecided on just how damning this recording actually is - from the perspective of the law. There are several questions, for example, regarding the documents that Trump was apparently holding, including whether they were really classified.

Trump and his allies, however, seem to believe that the recording is not a problem at all.

"An exoneration"

Trump responded to CNN's leak of the recording with a statement on Truth Social.

Trump wrote:

The Deranged Special Prosecutor, Jack Smith, working in conjunction with the DOJ & FBI, illegally leaked and “spun” a tape and transcript of me which is actually an exoneration, rather than what they would have you believe. This continuing Witch Hunt is another ELECTION INTERFERENCE Scam. They are cheaters and thugs!

A similar statement was released by a Trump campaign spokesman.

The spokesman said:

The audio tape provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all. The President is speaking rhetorically and also quite humorously about a very perverted individual, Anthony Weiner, who was deep inside the corrupt Clinton campaign. The media and the Trump-haters once again were all too willing to take the bait, falling for another Democrat-DOJ hoax, hook, line, and sinker.

It is not exactly clear how the audio recording is "an exoneration." Neither Trump nor his allies have really explained this. But, the recording could get Trump off the hook in a different way.

Is a dismissal forthcoming?

If it can be shown that there is good reason to believe that the leak came from Smith or the government, Trump and his legal team could argue that Smith's case against Trump ought to be dismissed. This is a strong basis for dismissal.

We could anticipate that this will be one of several motions to dismiss that Trump's legal team will file as the case progresses.

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