After he left the White House, former President Donald Trump allegedly shared sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with an Australian billionaire who is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club, according to a pair of reports published on Thursday.
Trump shared the information with Anthony Pratt during an April 2021 conversation at the Palm Beach, Fla., golf club, according to ABC News, which first reported the development. citing sources familiar with the matter. The New York Times also confirmed the former president shared the information with Pratt, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The revelation was reported to special counsel Jack Smith’s office, which charged Trump this year with mishandling classified documents, and prosecutors and FBI agents have twice interviewed Pratt this year about the discussion, ABC reported.
Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said in response to questions about the report, “These illegal leaks are coming from sources which totally lack proper context and relevant information. The Department of Justice should investigate the criminal leaking, instead of perpetrating their baseless witch-hunts while knowing that President Trump did nothing wrong, has always insisted on truth and transparency, and acted in a proper manner, according to the law.”
NBC News has also reached out to Pratt’s company for comment.
Pratt recounted that he told Trump during their conversation that Australia should buy submarines from the U.S., and an excited Trump “leaning” toward Pratt as if to be discreet, told him two pieces of information about American submarines, ABC reported, citing the anonymous sources. Trump shared the number of warheads that U.S. submarines typically carry and how close they can get to Russian submarines without being detected, according to both ABC and the New York Times.
Trump didn’t show any government documents to him during the meeting or any other time at Mar-a-Lago, sources told ABC News.
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Pratt, executive global chairman of cardboard company Pratt Industries, then shared Trump’s remarks with at least 45 other people through emails and conversations, reported ABC, including journalists, Australian officials, three former Australian prime ministers and employees at his company.
According to the Times, Pratt is among more than 80 people whom prosecutors from Smith’s office have identified as potential witnesses who could testify at Trump’s trial that’s slated to begin in May in Fort Pierce, Fla.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the reports.
In late July, the Department of Justice filed a superseding indictment, adding new charges to those originally brought by Smith’s office in June regarding Trump’s mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House. Prosecutors allege that Trump was part of a scheme to try to delete security video showing an effort to cover up the boxes of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Pratt’s account was not included in the indictments, which described other instances in which Trump, after he left office, shared classified information and documents with people unauthorized to view them.