Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have told the Justice Department that they have been unable to find a classified document related to Iran that investigators are seeking.Two people with knowledge of the case confirmed to CBS News.
The confidential document in question came to the attention of the Department of Justice through an audio file it obtained in the course of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the former president’s retention of sensitive records and alleged obstruction of the investigation. The audio recording, recorded by a Trump aide, included remarks Trump made to two ghostwriters about the last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, relating to Iran and how to confront it militarily, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to do so. . speak out on the matter.
It was not clear if the document existed, one of the people said, or if Trump misidentified something of the group compiled during the recording. They added that the tape was in the possession of the prosecutors.
CNN reported it for the first time The existence of the recording and that Trump’s attorneys told the Justice Department that they could not find the classified document referred to.
The recording — from a July 2021 meeting at Trump Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. — is significant evidence that prosecutors have obtained in recent months and presented in grand jury proceedings examining the former president’s actions related to sensitive records, CBS News previously reported.
That, according to two people familiar with the matter, Trump can be heard in the recording acknowledging there were national security limitations to the classified memo because it described in detail a potential attack on Iran. The people said it was not clear from the recording whether Trump had the document at the time or was merely describing its contents to at least three people who were present during the meeting. CBS News did not listen to the audio.
CBS News previously reported that Trump aide Margo Martin, who recorded the meeting, and other individuals who were working on a biography about Meadows were present at the meeting. In the audio recording, the sources said, the former president mentioned the classified document when he was talking about General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who According to The New Yorker, They fought in the final days of the Trump administration to prevent the president from attacking Iran.
Witnesses who appeared before the grand jury were asked, according to people with knowledge, about that exchange and any other references by Trump to any classified documents, maps, or talk about Milley.
A person familiar with the matter said the subpoena for the document was issued in or around March. The subpoena was first reported by CNN.
Trump’s representatives were not available for comment.
Robert Costa, Catherine Herridge, and Robert Legere contributed to this report.