(WASHINGTON) — Federal investigators have in their possession an audio recording of former President Donald Trump from July 2021, on which he acknowledges he held onto a sensitive military document after leaving office, sources confirm to ABC News.
The recording was made during a meeting at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, that Trump held with people who were helping former chief of staff Mark Meadows with his memoir, according to sources.
Trump indicated during the recording that he knew the document in question was secret, the sources said.
Meadows was not present for the meeting, the sources said, but other Trump aides, including Margot Martin, were there.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office, has questioned witnesses about the recording, sources familiar with the matter said.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment to ABC News.
A Trump spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News, “Leaks from radical partisans behind this political persecution are designed to inflame tensions and continue the media’s harassment of President Trump and his supporters. It’s just more proof that when it comes to President Trump, there are absolutely no depths to which they will not sink as they pursue their witch hunts.”
“The DOJ’s continued interference in the presidential election is shameful and this meritless investigation should cease wasting the American taxpayer’s money on Democrat political objectives,” the Trump spokesperson said.
News of the recording was first reported by CNN.
On the recording, which ABC News has not listened to nor obtained, Trump is heard attacking Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and referencing one document in particular that Trump claimed Milley had compiled, according to sources. Trump, who said on the recording that he still had the document in his possession, said the document was about attacking Iran, sources said.
The specific nature of the document described in the recording is not known.
The July 2021 conversation took place several months before representatives for Trump handed over to the National Archives 15 boxes of presidential records that included documents with classified markings, and more than a year before Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was searched by the FBI last August.
During the August search, investigators uncovered more than 100 classified documents after Trump’s team failed to comply with a June 2022 subpoena seeking all such records that remained in his possession.
It’s unclear whether the document allegedly referenced in the recording was among those documents initially handed over to the Archives or those seized by the FBI in the August 2022 search.
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