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6 Oct, 2023 18:45

Trump accused of leaking submarine secrets – media

The former US president reportedly discussed sensitive information with an Australian billionaire at his Florida country club
Trump accused of leaking submarine secrets – media

Former US President Donald Trump has reportedly been accused of discussing sensitive information about the nation’s nuclear submarines while chatting with an Australian businessman at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Florida.

The conversation with billionaire Anthony Pratt occurred in April 2021, three months after Trump left office, and it allegedly included references to how many warheads US submarines carry and how close they can get to a Russian vessel without being detected, ABC News reported on Thursday. Pratt, who runs packaging company Pratt Industries, allegedly shared the information with more than a dozen Australian officials, as well as journalists and some of his employees, the outlet said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

ABC conceded that it's not clear whether Trump’s comments about US submarines were accurate; nor did the outlet’s anonymous sources specifically claim that the information was classified. However, US prosecutors and FBI agents have interviewed Pratt at least twice this year about his conversation with Trump, and investigators urged the businessman not to spread the information any further because it was potentially sensitive.

The allegations were reported to US special counsel Jack Smith’s team of investigators. Smith is prosecuting Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents and has filed a separate indictment against the ex-president for trying to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election. The indictment on handling of classified documents didn’t include any allegations related to Trump’s conversation with Pratt.

Earlier this year, CNN aired a recording of Trump allegedly discussing US military secrets at his New Jersey country club. The outlet also reported in May that Trump had admitted to retaining a classified document detailing the US military’s plans for a potential attack on Iran.

Pratt, a Mar-a-Lago member, told investigators that he was trying to make conversation with Trump when he brought up US nuclear submarines. The billionaire suggested that Australia should start buying its submarines from the US. Trump responded by making claims about the capabilities of the US vessels. Pratt added that Trump didn’t show him any government documents.

The conversation came at a time when Australia was negotiating with President Joe Biden’s administration to buy US nuclear-powered submarines. The deal was completed earlier this year, with Australia agreeing to purchase three of the subs. Pratt said he told others about the conversation with Trump to show how he was advocating for Australia’s interests in the US.

A Trump spokesperson denied any wrongdoing on the former president’s part, ABC reported. The accusations concerning the conversation with Pratt lack “proper context and relevant information,” the spokesperson said.