In a newly obtained audio recording that’s now in the hands of Federal prosecutors, former President Trump is heard weighing the dangers of making use of classified information pertaining to a potential attack on Iran.
According to CNN, the audio was recorded during a meeting in 2021 and serves as proof that Trump sat on classified Pentagon documents post presidency — which he has previously and consistently denied doing, “assert[ing] he could retain presidential records and ‘automatically’ declassify documents.”
As the outlet makes clear, with help from information received from several sources as reporters had yet to hear the audio themselves, “Trump’s comments suggest he would like to share the information but he’s aware of limitations on his ability post-presidency to declassify records.”
On Tuesday, Salon published an update on Trump’s possible “Espionage Act” charges for mishandling of classified documents after news broke from The Washington Post that he made a habit out of showing off sensitive government information.
“The news report suggests an escalation in the seriousness of the charges Trump faces,” former federal prosecutor Kevin O’Brien told Salon. “Evidence that he showed highly sensitive documents to third parties implicates the Espionage Act, which forbids willfully conveying such a document ‘to any person not entitled to receive it,’ or willfully failing to deliver the same on demand to a government officer or employee entitled to receive it. Trump appears to fall under both prongs of the statute, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison per violation.”
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In a reaction to the news of this further damning evidence against Trump, Los Angeles Times Sr Legal Affairs Columnist, Harry Litman, tweeted, “Trump saying that he’s limited in his ability to show classified documents is game, set and match as far as intent and guilty knowledge go. Blows the various ‘I am entitled’ claims out of the water.”
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