Listen to Trump show 'secret' Iran document to aides, guests at Bedminster club

The federal indictments charging former President Donald Trump with 37 felonies tied to his retention of U.S. national security secrets includes a transcript of Trump discussing a Pentagon "plan of attack" against Iran and apparently showing it to two staff members and two people working on a biography of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. CNN obtained the audio of that conversation and broadcast it Monday night.

In the audio — also obtained and released by The New York Times and The Washington Post — Trump is heard pulling out what he described as "highly confidential, secret" papers at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club in July 2021. "This is secret information," he added. "This was done by the military and given to me." Trump made clear he was trying to rebut a claim by Gen. Mark Milley that Trump had favored invading Iran, and he appeared to want the Meadows biographers to include the papers in their book.

"I think we can probably, right?" Trump said. A female aide replied, "I don't know, we'll have to see, you know, we'll have to try to figure out a —" "Declassify it," Trump jumped in. "See, as president I could have declassified it, but now I can't." The woman laughed, saying, "Now we have a problem."

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There are some parts in the 2-minute audio clip not included in the indictment, including Trump and an aide joking that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have printed out or emailed the documents. The indictment also left out Trump saying, "These are the papers."

Trump told Fox News earlier in June that he "didn't have a document, per se," at his Bedminster chat. "There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles." The audio appears to strongly undercut that version of events. Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told CNN "the audio tape provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all."

The audio is expected to be a key piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith's prosecution of Trump, along with an incident a month or two later in which Trump allegedly showed a classified map of "Country B" to a representative of his political action committee, the Post noted. The federal government has evidently not recovered the Iran attack document from Trump, nor have federal agents searched Bedminster for classified documents.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.