When Donald Trump was charged with 37 counts ranging from willful withholding of national defense information to conspiracy to obstruct justice, this indictment contained devastating excerpts from a conversation in which Trump provided prosecutors with a near-perfect admission of guilt. NOW CNN got the full conversation and it turns out to be… even more devastating than it looked.
In the indictment, Trump was transcribed as referring to the “papers”. Afterwards, Trump claimed that he was in fact only showing press clippings to an author ghostwriting for his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. “There were no documents,” Trump insisted during an appearance on Fox News. “I didn’t have a document to speak of. There was nothing to downgrade. These were newspaper articles, magazine articles and articles.
But just as the original part of the conversation ripped into Trump’s claims of having declassified everything, the full conversation hashed out the idea that Trump was just flipping through newspaper clippings. And Trump is not happy with his exit.
The recorded conversation begins immediately with Trump proclaiming that America’s military leadership, and in particular former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, are “bad and sick people.” But then he immediately jumps audibly rummaging through papers.
Trump: “Well with Milley, let me see that. I’ll show you an example. He said I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing, I have a big stack of papers, this Something just happened. Look. It was him.
Trump stops flipping through the papers at this point and there’s a high-pitched sound, like he’s stabbing the page with a finger.
Trump: “It was him. He introduced me to this. It’s unofficial, but they introduced me to this. It was him. It was the Ministry of Defense and him. We looked at a few of them, I didn’t. It was him.
The sound of pages turning resumes.
Trump: “Besides, it’s a long page. Look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. It’s incredible ? That totally wins my case, you know. Except it’s like very controversial, secret…”
Laughter in the background.
Trump: “This is secret information. Look at this! The attack …”
At this point someone comments that “Hillary would print it all the time”. Trump then comments, “She would send it to Anthony Weiner.”
But the joke is on Trump, because even the comments about Hillary Clinton demonstrate that what he was looking through were not newspapers or magazine clippings, but the actual classified documents, as he put it. And as Trump clarifies, this is not a single document. It is a “big pile of papers” that he has with him at the Bedminster club.
The argument that when he said “papers” Trump meant the newspapers is as completely shredded by the conversation as the idea that Trump had somehow declassified this material before he left office. . Not only does he brag repeatedly that the material is “secret,” but the conversation continues, as it did in the indictment, to make things absolutely, abundantly clear.
Trump: “It was done by the military and given to me. Um, I think we can probably print? »
Staff member: “Well, we’ll have to see, yeah. We’ll have to try to–”
Trump: “Declassify it.”
Trump: “See, as president I could have declassified it, now I can’t, you know, but it’s classified.”
Employee: “We have a problem.”
Trump: “Isn’t that interesting? This is so cool. And look, we heard I had a… and you probably didn’t believe me, but now you believe me.
This is material straight out of a prosecutor’s dream. Trump confirms the origin of the classified document, he not only shows it to staff members and the writer, who have no security clearances, while saying “look” and “it’s secret”, he then continues explaining that he knows the material remains classified and that he cannot declassify it…although he seems to think there is a way around it.
The partial conversation was already indefensible, but the full audio only drives nails into Trump’s coffin. That’s why he reacts to it so well.