October 9, 2023
Former President Donald Trump reportedly shared details about America’s nuclear submarine program with an Australian billionaire, who then went on to tell journalists, foreign officials, and others about the sensitive information, HuffPost reports.
ABC News first reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith had learned about Trump’s disclosure to the billionaire—a cardboard magnate named Anthony Pratt —as part of his investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents. Trump allegedly told Pratt several government secrets about the submarines during an event at his Mar-a-Lago Club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida, where the billionaire is a member.
Pratt reportedly told prosecutors and FBI agents that Trump brought up the submarine fleet in April 2021, after he had left the White House. The former president then revealed the supposed number of nuclear warheads that are on board U.S. submarines at any time and how close the vessels can get to a Russian submarine without detection.
The billionaire, ABC News added, shared that information with at least 45 people, including three former Australian prime ministers, a half dozen journalists and other foreign officials. Australia recently inked a deal with the United States to spend up to $245 billion over the next three decades to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
It’s unclear if the details were accurate, or if they were bluster or exaggerations, but ABC News reported that Pratt was informed by investigators not to share the numbers he was reportedly given.
The New York Times, which confirmed the report with people familiar with the matter, said the details would be highly protected information and could endanger the U.S. nuclear fleet if made public.
A former Australian ambassador to the United States told the paper the information wasn’t new to his country, saying: “If that’s all that was discussed, we already know all that.
“We have had Australians serving with Americans on U.S. submarines for years, and we share the same technology and the same weapons as the U.S. Navy,” the former ambassador, Joe Hockey, said.
The reported information was not included in Smith’s federal indictment of Trump earlier this year related to his handling of classified documents after he left the White House. Trump was charged with 40 counts related to willful retention of documents and obstruction of justice. But it could be used as part of the ultimate case against him to bolster any pattern of Trump’s handling of sensitive material.
“President Trump did nothing wrong, has always insisted on truth and transparency, and acted in a proper manner, according to the law,” the spokesperson told ABC News.
Research contact: @HuffPost