Trump denies knowledge of tape of him allegedly discussing plan to attack Iran

Former president claims he said ‘very bad and very nasty’ things to Putin that ‘had to do with Moscow’ if he invaded Ukraine

Former US president Donald Trump has said he does not know anything about a tape of him discussing a confidential document, reportedly about a plan to attack Iran, with people in his golf club more than a year after he left office.

At a Fox News town hall in Iowa broadcast on Thursday night he insisted that “all I know is that everything I did was right”.

Mr Trump maintained that as president he had said “very bad and very nasty” things to Russian leader Vladimir Putin about what would happen if he invaded Ukraine. He said it “had to do with Moscow”.

“He (Putin) said, you don’t mean that. I said I do. I will never talk about it again but I do. He said you don’t’ mean it. We then went on to talk about other subjects. But I think he believed me 10 per cent but that is all he had to believe me.”


Mr Trump said he had had a similar conversation with Chinese president Xi Jinping about invading Taiwan.

Mr Trump again said he would stop the war in Ukraine within a day if re-elected president.

He also took credit for ending constitutional abortion rights in the United States. He indicated he was in favour of permitting abortion in cases of rape and a threat to the life of the mother.

On Wednesday, US broadcaster CNN reported that federal prosecutors had in their possession a tape recording of Mr Trump making reference in a discussion at his golf club in New Jersey with two authors to a highly confidential document that he had brought from the White House. The document reportedly related to military planning for an attack on Iran.

It is alleged that on the tape he acknowledged that he could not show the document to the authors, who were working on a book with his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, as it was still classified. If that description of the recording proves to be correct, it would undermine one of his key defences about classified documents, which were discovered last year by the FBI at his home in Florida.

Mr Trump’s allies have contended that he had declassified all records when he took them from the White House.

At the Fox News town Hall in Iowa on Thursday the former president said: “I don’t know anything about it. All I know is this, everything I did was right. We had the Presidential Records Act, which I abided by 100 per cent.”

He insisted that as president he had the right to declassify material.

Mr Trump then hit out at US president Joe Biden who, he said, had retained a significant number of documents after he left the post of vice-president.

He said Mr Biden had “seven or eight boxes in Chinatown in Washington, DC, where nobody even speaks English in Chinatown”.

He maintained that Chinatown was “in favour of China”.

“And he has boxes in Chinatown.”

Mr Trump claimed Ron DeSantis, his biggest rival for the Republican Party nomination to run for the White House, was going backwards in his campaign.

He predicted that Mr DeSantis, who is currently in second place in the polls, would end up in third or fourth position.

He said Mr DeSantis, who is governor of Florida, had had a “very bad day” on Thursday and that “he’s not doing well against Biden”.

Mr Trump also warned that Iran was soon going to have a nuclear weapon and “that should never have happened”.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent