Former U.S. Assistant Attorney and current Director of Litigation for the Southeastern Legal Foundation Braden Boucek joined The Tennessee Star Report’s Michael Patrick Leahy in studio Tuesday to discuss the how the widely-broadcast recording of former President Donald Trump made it’s way from Mar-a-Lago into the hands of the Department of Justice and then CNN.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Now here’s Michael Patrick Leahy, 6:06 a.m. broadcasting live from our studios on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ll be joined in studio at 6:30 a.m. by official guest host of the program, Aaron Gulbransen, the Tennessee state director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
But right now we are delighted and privileged to have in our studio former assistant U.S. attorney, now director of litigation for the Southeastern Legal Foundation, Braden Boucek.
Good morning, Braden.
Braden Boucek: Good morning.
I am sitting in Crom’s chair, but I’m not filling Crom’s chair.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Braden, I gotta say, the timing of your arrival here this morning is perfect because I have a whole series of questions for you. As a former assistant U.S. attorney,
Braden Boucek: Well, I’m known for perfect timing and having excellent rhythm.
Michael Patrick Leahy: So here we go.
Yesterday, and you didn’t even know this this broke late last night – there is an audio tape apparently obtained by the Department of Justice of former President Trump talking in his office in which – this is the whole crux of the indictment of Donald Trump – for allegedly of violating the Espionage Act.
And somehow they obtained this audio tape of, Trump talking with some aids at his offices in Mar-a-Lago in which he references some documents. Now, just miraculously this audio tape, which was obtained somehow by the Department of Justice as evidence, and now somehow has been leaked to CNN.
I’m gonna play for you just the beginning of it so we can have the context of it.
And then Braden, I’m gonna ask you, how on earth does this happen in America?
I see you’re going, “Hmm.”
I’ll ask you a question. Would you have U.S. Assistant Attorney sought to leak such a document such a audio file?
Here it is. Here’s the beginning of this tape.
(Leaked recording featuring the voice of former President Donald Trump and others)
TRUMP: These are bad, sick people.
WOMAN 01: That that was your coup, you know, against you.
TRUMP: That’s, well, it started right at the–
WOMAN 01: Like when Millie’s talking about, oh, you were gonna try to do a coup No, they were trying to do that before you even were sworn in.
TRUMP: That’s right.
WOMAN 01: Trying to overthrow your election.
TRUMP: Well, with Millie let me see that. I’ll show you an example.
He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers. This thing just came up. Look, this was him. They presented me this. This is off the record, but they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him
Michael Patrick Leahy: So, there you go. This is, that’s the beginning of it.
Another minute of it or so, but I’m just asking you, when you were prosecuting somebody first would you surreptitiously obtained a private recording? How would you have obtained it? And then would you have leaked it to CNN?
Braden Boucek: Well as to the first question, would I have sur surreptitiously obtained it?
We certainly would’ve made every effort to obtain what we thought was relevant criminal evidence but we would’ve done so through an entirely lawful process. I mean, either a subpoena or search warrant, something like that. As for leaking, it absolutely not in a criminal jury trial, it’s absolutely essential to protect a defendant’s right to a fair trial.
And you do not want to litigate a criminal jury trial in the press. So, no. I mean, we would’ve been faced with very severe sanctions had we taken criminal evidence that we intended to use in a case and presented it to the media if indeed that’s what happened here.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, CNN got this audio tape they’ve played, it’s everywhere now in the past 24 hours.
And it seems to me it it that this is an attempt. By the Department of Justice to influence public opinion about this prosecution now.
Your thoughts on this?
Braden Boucek: It’s hard to say. I mean, certainly if that’s what happened that would be reprehensible and it would not only be grounds for professional sanctions against any attorneys who’d committed that misconduct, but it would also be potentially grounds for sanctions against the case itself up to and including dismissal if there’s prosecutor prosecutorial misconduct it’s gonna be challenging to prove where CNN got those documents.
But I mean, the way to, the way to figure it out is just to figure out who had possession of those items and could have disclosed them, and then start going about it that way.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Would this audio tape have been released to the Trump Defense Attorneys by the Department of Justice?
Braden Boucek: Perhaps.
I mean, they would have gotten it through criminal discovery, although I’m not sure the criminal discovery process has begun yet, since or so early in the proceedings. They may have had it independently. I don’t know how many recordings of this were floating around.
Michael Patrick Leahy: How do you, I mean, who recorded it? It’s one of the aids there.
Braden Boucek: I don’t know the answer to that question. And how did it come into the possession of the Department of Justice, was there a warrant for it?
The first thing I’d want to know is who recorded it and yeah – where it was kept and maintained?
Now as far as how DOJ got it, I’m sure they got it through a search warrant or a subpoena. How they knew about it is maybe even the better question.
Michael Patrick Leahy: See to me, who records a conversation without the permission of of, of the former president. I mean, would you. It seems to me like it’s almost like they sent in a spy.
Braden Boucek: I don’t wanna speculate. I mean, it’s entirely possible that the Trump team wanted it recorded. I mean, a lot of times high profile people, especially high profile people who feel like they’ve been mistreated by the press want to record those interviews so they’ve got a copy of them for their own sake.
I don’t know if that’s what happened here, though.
Michael Patrick Leahy: A lot of unknowns and it’s to me, we’ll come back with this a little bit, but I wanna talk to you about election interference. Oh boy. And, and what statutes say about this and why, and why the public thinks this is election interference, but our judicial system apparently does not have a remedy.
I’ll be back with more after this.
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Photo “Braden Boucek” by The Federalist Society. Background Photo “U.S. Department of Justice” by Coolcaesar. CC BY-SA 3.0.