Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is contradicting former President Donald Trump’s defense in the classified documents case, according to sources.
Meadows has told special counsel Jack Smith’s investigators he never saw nor ordered declassifying classified materials before leaving the White House. He added Trump did not recall authorizing the automatic declassification of materials.
Trump has insisted he declassified the over 100 classified documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago home after he left the White House. Trump faces 40 separate criminal charges related to his mishandling of classified documents, including unlawful retention of national defense information and various obstruction-related offenses.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has denied any wrongdoing.
Meadows also said he was not involved in packing the boxes that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago and did not see Trump himself packing boxes.
A Trump spokesperson said, without any evidence, that the Justice Department is “selectively leaking incomplete information” to impact the 2024 election.
“This witch-hunt is nothing more than a desperate attempt to interfere in the 2024 election as President Trump dominates the polls and is the only person who will take back the White House,” the spokesperson added.
Audio was obtained by CNN earlier this year, which featured Trump saying he did not declassify documents.
“Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing?” Trump says in the recording, later obtained by CNN. “This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. This was done by the military and given to me. As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t.”
The news comes just days before the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, which Trump will not be attending.
On Truth Social, Trump confirmed he will not be going to the debate on Wednesday and teased he may skip more.
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” he wrote. “WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”