Trump admitted in a 2021 recording that he had confidential documents: “Look. It is secret information” | International

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All eyes woke up this Friday on the Wilkie D. Ferguson federal courthouse, a glass building in the downtown from Miami, where next Tuesday they have summoned Donald Trump to testify. He is accused, according to his lawyers, of seven federal crimes for the handling of classified documents that he allegedly took without permission when he left the White House in 2021 to his Mar-a-Lago mansion.

The content of these charges is still secret, despite calls from some prominent voices in the Republican Party, led by former Vice President Mike Pence, who believe that transparency is the only possible tool to dispel suspicions that this, his second indictment in three months and the first for federal crimes against a former president, hides a political persecution. After all, the prosecution comes from Justice Department-appointed special counsel Jack Smith, who is part of the Joe Biden Administration. And at this point, everything indicates that Biden and Trump will face each other again in the 2024 presidential elections.

Aileen Cannon, the judge (appointed by the former president) initially assigned to oversee a case to be heard by a grand jury of 12 citizens, has yet to make a decision on whether or not to make public the most-sought legal document in the United States. Joined. Meanwhile, this Friday the transcript of a 2021 recording came to light in which the tycoon admitted that he had “secret” military information in his private residence. Also, that he had not declassified it while he was president. “[Entonces] I could have done it, but now I can't," he said during a meeting, the content of which was revealed by CNN.

In the conversation, Trump, who has always defended that the boxes he took from the White House contained declassified papers, talks about a Pentagon document with a plan to attack Iran. The transcript suggests that the former president is showing his interlocutor or interlocutors that file. "Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this," Trump says. “The military wrote it up and gave it to me.”

The context of the talk concerns the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Shortly before the meeting, the magazine The New Yorker had published a story that in the final days of Trump's presidency, Milley warned his aides to be vigilant, lest Trump issue illegal orders. And that if he did, they would report it immediately.

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The transcript continues: "Well, [hablando de] Milley. Give me a second. I'll show you an example. She said that [yo] wanted to attack Iran. Isn't it amazing? I have a stack of papers. (...) They introduced me to this [los mandos militares]this is off the record, but, this is what I was presented with. Him. This was from the Department of Defense and him. we studied some [documentos]. Was the. I didn't do it, he did it [Milley]”. Later, Trump adds: “[Aquí hay] all kinds of things. Many pages, see. Wait a minute, let's see here. I just found this, isn't it amazing? This makes me absolutely right. With the caveat that it's highly confidential. Secret. Secret information. Look, look at this."

Another novelty in the case was the indictment, released late in the morning, of Walt Nauta, who worked as a military driver at the White House, before following the boss to Mar-a-Lago. Nauta had been in the crosshairs of special counsel Jack Smith for some time, after he was seen on a security recording moving boxes at the former president's residence after he received a request in May 2022 to return all sensitive documents in his power.

A wonderful man

To the announcement, Trump reacted on his Truth social network with one of his characteristic messages, which read: “I just found out that the 'thugs' of the Department of Injustice will accuse a wonderful man, Walt Nauta, a member of the United States Navy United States, who proudly served with me in the White House, retired and went into civilian life as my personal assistant. He has done a fantastic job!”.

The former president took advantage of this forum to share news about his defense strategy, which he is now in charge of in this process (he has others more pending; a list that includes everything from the illegal use of campaign funds to his role in the assault on the Capitol or his attempts to alter the result of the 2020 election that declared Joe Biden the winner) the lawyer “Todd Blanche, and a law firm that,” he said, he will release “later.” In the message he also thanked the previous legal team for their services.

Until Nauta's indictment was learned, the morning after the bombing of seeing for the first time in history a president accused of federal crimes, she was entertained by the news of the still provisional appointment of Judge Cannon, an old acquaintance Of the investigation. Elected to the position during the Trump Administration, she will be in charge of directing the case and deciding what sentence is applied to Trump in the event that the members of the grand jury find him guilty. Cannon drew criticism in September when she agreed to a request by Trump's lawyers, who asked, as part of a ploy to delay the process, that a special expert be appointed to review the documents. That meant stopping the FBI agents from doing it. The order was overturned by an appeals court.

The former president is preparing the defense at his golf club in Bedminster (New Jersey), and it is expected that in the next few hours, perhaps days, he will head towards his residence in Mar-A-Lago, located about 110 kilometers from court. There they will wait for him, as usual, a few of his staunchest sympathizers.

This Friday, the cascade of reactions also continued. Some of his most conspicuous party mates, as well as rivals in the crowded Republican race for the 2024 nomination, a race Trump easily dominates, came out to defend or attack him.

Among the first, Kevin McCarthy, Speaker of the House of Representatives and third authority in the country, stood out, who tweeted: “Today is undoubtedly a dark day for the United States of America. It is inconceivable that a president would prosecute the main candidate who opposes him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and all Americans who believe in the rule of law, stand with President Trump in the face of this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this blatant political instrumentalization of justice accountable."

Among the latter, Asha Hutchinson, former Republican governor of Arkansas and opponent of the former president in the race for the White House, argued in a statement: "While Donald Trump has the right to the presumption of innocence, the ongoing criminal process will be a great distraction . Which reaffirms the need for him to drop his presidential aspirations."

Nothing indicates that it will. The law does not forbid it, not even if he ended up behind bars. In addition, after the indictment became known, he launched another of his successful fundraising campaigns. The last time he went through a process like the one that awaits him next Tuesday in Miami helped him stand out in the polls among Republican voters as the favorite candidate for his party's nomination, with two-digit percentage differences over his most direct competitor, Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida.

It was last April in New York. Then they charged him with 34 charges of falsehood derived from three payments to hide two scandals (above all, for an extramarital affair with the porn actress Stormy Daniels) in the 2016 campaign. A New York judge has set for March 25, 2014 the start of that trial. Something similar is expected to happen this time, and the process will take months, perhaps more than a year.

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