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US: Trump accused of revealing information about nuclear submarines to Australian tycoon

The businessperson, Anthony Pratt, a billionaire member of Mar-a-Lago who runs one of the world’s largest cardboard companies, went on to share the sensitive details about the submarines with several others

Our Bureau And Agencies New York Published 07.10.23, 07:01 AM
Donald Trump

Donald Trump file image

Shortly after he left office, former President Donald Trump shared apparently classified information about US nuclear submarines with an Australian businessperson during an evening of conversation at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The businessperson, Anthony Pratt, a billionaire member of Mar-a-Lago who runs one of the world’s largest cardboard companies, went on to share the sensitive details about the submarines with several others, the people said. Trump’s disclosures, they said, potentially endangered the US nuclear fleet.

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Federal prosecutors working for the special counsel, Jack Smith, learned about Trump’s disclosures of the secrets to Pratt, which were first revealed by ABC News, and interviewed him as part of their investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents, the people said.

According to another person familiar with the matter, Pratt is now among more than 80 people whom prosecutors have identified as possible witnesses who could testify against Trump at the classified documents trial, which is scheduled to start in May in US district court in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Pratt’s name does not appear in the indictment accusing Trump of illegally holding on to nearly three dozen classified documents after he left office and then conspiring with two of his aides at Mar-a-Lago to obstruct the government’s attempts to get them back.

But the account that Trump discussed some of the country’s most sensitive nuclear secrets with him in a cavalier fashion could help prosecutors establish that the former President had a long habit of recklessly handling classified information.

The existence of the testimony about the conversation underscores how much additional information the special prosecutor’s office may have amassed out of the public’s view.

During his talk with Pratt, Trump revealed at least two pieces of critical information about the US submarines’ tactical capacities, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Those included how many nuclear warheads the vessels carried and how close they could get to their Russian counterparts without being detected.

It does not appear that Trump showed Pratt any of the classified documents that he had been keeping at Mar-a-Lago. In August last year, the FBI carried out a court-approved search warrant at the property and hauled away more than 100 documents containing national security secrets, including some that bore the country’s most sensitive classification markings.

Trump had earlier returned hundreds of other documents he had taken with him from the White House, some in response to a subpoena.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Smith declined to comment.

Even though Pratt has been interviewed by prosecutors, the people familiar with the matter said, it remained unclear whether Trump was merely blustering or exaggerating in his conversation with him.

New York Times News Service

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