In a recent interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, former President Donald Trump denied having a classified document during a meeting with a book publisher in July 2021. He referred to ‘secret’ information, which he allegedly possessed, however, the transcript of the recording did not explicitly reveal what document the former president was holding.
Trump and the other attendees did not mention any document by name or number. It is clear from the transcript that Trump referred to a pile of papers and described the contents as ‘secret’ and ‘like, highly confidential’. However, he insisted that there was no actual document, but rather newspaper stories, magazine articles and pieces of information on Iran.
This indicates that the recording does not support the accusation that Trump had illegally held on to 31 sensitive government documents, although some were highly classified and included information on U.S. nuclear and military capabilities.
Further, Trump affirmed that he did not have a classified document from General Mark Milley. Earlier this month, the Justice Department appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, who filed an indictment in the U.S. District Court in Miami.
The indictment accused Trump of conspiring with one of his aides, Walt Nauta, to avoid a grand jury subpoena issued last year. Trump faced charges of withholding classified government material. The audio recording of the July 2021 conversation formed part of the evidence.
Trump’s remarks in the interview appeared to be his most extensive comments about the nearly two years spent by federal officials trying to retrieve government material from his presidency. The recording shows Trump talking to a book publisher and writer working on a book by his final White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Two people familiar with its contents revealed that Trump could be heard flipping through papers while pointing to a pile of papers, which he purportedly said were from the Defense Department and General Milley.
While the recording does not contain an explicit mention of the documents’ number or any other specific data, it provides evidence that a note describing highly confidential information blessed Trump’s shelves. The former president’s opponents used this evidence to indict him on the charges of illegally possessing classified material.
Generally, criminal defendants do not speak publicly about the specifics of the cases against them. Trump’s Fox News interview on the subject went public on the same day a federal magistrate judge issued a protective order, instructing him not to reveal any evidence that had been turned over to his legal team. Even though his remarks did not violate that order, they still represented another in his various stories since the National Archives recovered 15 boxes of information from his presidency in January 2022.
During the interview, Trump admitted that he did not comply with an earlier request to return government records to the archives. He claimed to have given them some of the boxes, insisting that he was very busy with other obligations. Trump explained that his administration packed these boxes over there and that he needed to sort through them before giving them to the National Archives.
In February 2022, after it became public that he had returned classified material to the archives, Trump directed his aides to issue a statement saying that he had given everything back to the government. However, the draft version of that statement became the center of prosecutors’ attention in Florida, according to two people familiar with the matter. Trump has insisted that all documents belonged to him as personal records, and that he has declassified everything before leaving the Oval Office, but former senior White House officials rebutted this claim.
During his interview with Baier, the former president indicated that he sorted through some of the boxes after they were sent from Washington to Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida. When asked why he won’t just hand over the documents, Trump acknowledged that he wanted to go through them and get his personal things out, and that he did not wish to hand that over to NARA yet.
Trump faced a series of accusations, ranging from withholding classified government information to tampering with Exhibit 1 documents. For example, the indictment alleges that, following the grand jury’s subpoena, a document to be disclosed in compliance with the subpoena was altered, the watermark and lines were removed.
Unsurprisingly, the former president is under the radar of the Biden administration and is being investigated for a variety of incidents, including inciting insurrections and threatening national security. If convicted, Trump will never run for president gain.
The Department of Justice has filed a reply brief in response to Trump’s appeal over executive privilege on the day his interview with Bret Baier was aired. The former president wants to protect himself from a congressional inquiry targeting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
On Sunday, the former president delivered a speech in Texas, calling for action against Big Tech and the media.
Furthermore, people who have been following Trump’s journey believe he still has a remarkable following among voters who admire his strength and his unfiltered, independent, anti-politician approach. His appeal, they say, lies in his desire to put America first. Some people argue that he is the only politician capable of steering the nation away from political correctness and the progressive philosophy.
While the Democrats seem intent on prosecuting Trump, the Republicans have welcomed him with open arms. Many conservatives believe the former president is the only person who can fix the crises the Democrats have created, especially illegal immigration and inflation.
It remains to be seen how the legal tussle between Trump’s camp and Democrats will shape his political future. But one thing is clear – Trump’s base is growing.
In any case, as conservatives eagerly await his next move, they will undoubtedly remain anxious as they wait for the result of the ongoing investigations, hoping for a favorable outcome in their favor.
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