Listen: Trump discusses classified documents in audio recordings
US media have uncovered an audio tape in which Donald Trump appears to admit to keeping top-secret documents after leaving the White House.
In the audio, the former president can be heard leafing through documents and muttering, "This is top secret."
Trump has entered a not guilty plea to federal accusations of improper management of private information.
The two-minute recording, which according to CNN, was made during a meeting between Trump and several writers for his former chief of staff Mark Meadows' memoir in July 2021 at Trump's Bedminster, a golf club in New Jersey.
Trump is heard referring to Iran-related documents as "top secret" and saying, "These are the letters."
"This was done by the military and given to me," he claimed. "See, I could have declassified that as president. Now that I can't, it's still a secret, you know.
It appears to be the same audio clip that federal prosecutors used as evidence against Trump in their indictment.
It is not clear from the indictment, however, if the documents referenced in the recording were ever recovered by investigators.
The former president allegedly showed classified documents to two people who did not have security clearance, including a writer and two staff employees.
Trump is accused of illegally storing sensitive material and thwarting government efforts to recover it on 37 counts.
He has a history of denying wrongdoing.
He claims that every document he removed from the White House was declassified, but published audio recordings appear to contradict this.
The former president denied giving unauthorized people access to private materials during the Bedminster meeting in a recent interview with Fox News.
"No documents exist. It's a ton of stuff, and it all has to do with Iran and other things," Trump remarked, adding that he was giving "newspaper news, magazine pieces and articles."
But it appears from the recording that Trump was referring to a specific file.
He was accused with an assistant, Walt Nauta, who is anticipated to enter a not guilty plea at the hearing on Tuesday. But because of terrible weather, his travel was cancelled, and the hearing was moved to July 6.
The former president's trial was supposed to start on August 14, but it will probably be delayed. Prosecutors have filed a motion to adjourn it until December 11; the judge has not yet made a decision on it.
Government prosecutors sought to keep the list of potential witnesses confidential, but the federal judge presiding over the case rejected their motion on Monday.