The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, pushed back on the claims made by the former president in an audio recording made in July 2021.
“I can assure you that not one time have I ever recommended to attack Iran,” Gen Milley told CNN.
Mr Trump made the claim during a conversation at his Bedminster golf club with biographers of his White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, which emerged during the Mar-a-Lago documents probe.
A transcript of the recording is now part of the investigation into the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.
“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Mr Trump says of the document, that he claimed Gen Milley prepared for him.
During the July 2021 meeting, Mr Trump was reportedly complaining about Gen Milley in the wake of a story in The New Yorker detailing how the Army general instructed the Joint Chiefs to ensure that the outgoing president gave no illegal orders in the final days of his administration.
“I don’t know the document they’re talking about. I’ve never seen – no one’s presented me with what it is they’re talking about. So, I really still can’t comment on it,” Gen Milley told the news network.
“But I can assure you that, you know, a military attack on Iran is a very, very serious undertaking. We have capabilities. We have plans – that’s not particularly unusual – to comment on that. But I am not going to go further and discuss any of the details.”
Mark Meadows in his book The Chief’s Chief wrote that Gen Milley urged Mr Trump to order an attack on Iran “more than once during his presidency.”
Gen Milley told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that he had never recommended an attack on Iran. “I can tell you with certainty that this chairman never recommended a wholesale attack on Iran,” Gen Milley said.
“And to do that, I think would require a significant degree of risk that we may or may not want to take given the circumstances, but that that part of it didn’t happen.
“And I’m not sure I don’t know the exact quotes that Mr Meadows said, but I can assure you I know what I’ve done and it’s not to recommend an attack on Iran.”