Reported classified document on Iran war plans referenced in alleged audio recording of Trump is supposedly missing

 June 3, 2023

Recent reports claimed that Special Counsel Jack Smith has obtained an audio recording of a 2021 meeting in which former President Donald Trump essentially admitted that he was still in possession of a classified military document pertaining to war plans against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The problem is, nobody knows for sure where that document is, who currently has possession of it, or if it even actually exists, according to an exclusive report from CNN.

A secret audio recording and a missing classified document

Per the report, Special Counsel Smith, who is investigating former President Trump's alleged unlawful retention of classified documents after leaving the White House, quietly issued a subpoena to Trump's attorneys in March that demanded "any and all" documents and materials related to Iran, including invasion plans and target maps, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

The subpoena stemmed from a purported audio recording of a July 2021 meeting at Trump's Bedford golf resort in New Jersey in which the former president allegedly discussed with others a classified document in his possession, supposedly drafted by Gen. Milley himself prior to becoming the Joint Chiefs chairman, that outlined plans for an attack and invasion against Iran.

Trump's team turned over some materials in response to the subpoena later in March, but the specific purported classified document was not included in those materials, as Trump's attorneys were unable to find it.

The question now becomes, is Trump still in possession of some classified documents, as federal prosecutors reportedly suggest, or is the particular document dealing with Iran war plans already in the federal government's possession -- either with materials turned over to the National Archives at various points in early 2022 or seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid of the former president's Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida in August 2022.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the matter, and Trump's attorneys have made it clear that they did not conduct an advance review or inventory of materials previously returned to the Archives, nor has the DOJ disclosed to them exactly what it seized during the FBI raid, and therefore have no idea what the government may or may not possess at this time.

Conflicting accounts of who was pushing for war against Iran

As for the alleged audio recording in Special Counsel Smith's possession, CNN reported separately that it captured former President Trump speaking about the purported classified military document on Iran during a July 2021 meeting at his Bedford golf resort with a couple of aides and two others who were working on a book about former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

CNN acknowledged that it hasn't listened to the supposed recording but cited unnamed sources as saying that it briefly featured a moment in which Trump discussed a "four-page report typed up by" Gen. Milley himself that "contained the general’s own plan to attack Iran, deploying massive numbers of troops, something he urged President Trump to do more than once during his presidency."

Yet, while Trump is said to have credited Milley with drafting the Iran war plans he supposedly still possessed, CNN noted that it was informed that Milley didn't actually write the Iran document and answered questions to that effect from investigators on the special counsel team.

Trump allegedly referenced that document during the conversation due to being "outraged" and "infuriated" by a report from The New Yorker at that time in July 2021 which asserted that Gen. Milley had been seriously concerned following the 2020 election that Trump would launch an unprovoked war against Iran, ostensibly as a means to remain in office, and that the general had to repeatedly try to talk the outgoing president out of taking such drastic and unnecessary actions.

In the alleged recording, Trump was reported to have said that the classified document in his possession -- which he may actually have been holding at that time -- would completely contradict and undermine Milley's claims in the New Yorker article if only he were able to share it more broadly with others.

Are the reports true or not?

To be sure, these anonymously sourced reports from CNN about a classified document that nobody knows the whereabouts of and an audio recording that only the special counsel team is privy to should be taken with more than just a few grains of salt.

That said, if the reports are true and Special Counsel Smith really does possess an audio recording of Trump admitting to his possession of a classified military document on Iran and Trump is secretly still in possession of that document, the former president's potential legal exposure over the classified documents matter likely just grew worse and more complicated.

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