Former United States President Donald Trump shared classified information about US nuclear submarines with a billionaire Australian businessman shortly after he left office, in a meeting at his Florida private members club, Mar-a-Lago, US media have reported.
The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter on Thursday, identified the Australian businessman as Anthony Pratt, who heads one of the world’s largest packaging companies.
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ABC News, which first revealed the story, said Pratt later shared sensitive details about the US submarines with “scores of others, including more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees, and a handful of journalists”.
Sources told the Times that Trump’s disclosures “potentially endangered the US nuclear fleet”.
Federal prosecutors already investigating Trump for holding classified material at Mar-a-Lago after he left office, have interviewed Pratt twice about the incident, the New York Times reported.
Pratt may now be called by prosecutors to testify against Trump in his classified documents trial, which is due to start next May in Florida.
Pratt met Trump at his Palm Beach club in April 2021, and told the ex-president he thought Australia should start buying its submarines from the US, ABC reported.
In response, Trump allegedly told the businessman exact details about the capabilities of US nuclear submarines.
In his conversation with the Australian, Trump revealed at least two critical pieces of information about the tactical capacities of US submarines, including “how many nuclear warheads the vessels carried and how close they could get to their Russian counterparts without being detected”, the New York Times reported.
Confirming ABC News reporting, Trump is said to have discussed classified nuclear submarine intel with an Australian businessman/member of MAL after leaving office @alanfeuer Ben Protess @jonathanvswan me https://t.co/kcOfRjT2xk
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 5, 2023
Trump has not yet responded to the revelations, according to new reports.
Aside from the classified documents case, Trump faces three other indictments: one federal and one in Georgia over his efforts to overturn his election loss and stay in power, and one in New York stemming from election-eve hush money payments in 2016 to an adult entertainment actress.
Trump is currently on trial in New York on charges of wildly and fraudulently inflating the value of his assets so as to get better terms from banks and insurance companies.