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ABC: Trump allegedly discussed sensitive nuclear submarine information with a Mar-a-Lago member


By Kaanita Iyer, CNN

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump allegedly discussed potentially sensitive information about US nuclear submarines with a member of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, following his presidency, ABC reported Thursday.

The member is Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt, sources told ABC. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that Pratt, who had a close relationship with Trump when he occupied the Oval Office, was interviewed by the special counsel probing Trump’s retention of classified documents after leaving office. Another source told CNN’s Kristen Holmes that Pratt is on the list of potential witnesses for when the trial begins.

Sources told ABC that Pratt allegedly went on to share the information he received from the former president during an April 2021 meeting with “more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees, and a handful of journalists.”

ABC also reported that according to sources, a former Mar-a-Lago employee told investigations that he was “bothered” by the former president disclosing such information to someone who is not a US citizen. He added that he heard Pratt sharing potentially sensitive information minutes after his meeting with the former president, sources told ABC.

These allegations were not included in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump over his handling of classified documents. But the incident was reported to and investigated by Smith’s team, according to ABC.

A Trump spokesperson slammed ABC’s report, telling CNN that the claims “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,” the spokesperson said.

CNN has reached out to Pratt, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokesperson for Smith declined to comment.

Pratt allegedly told investigators that after he told Trump that Australia should buy submarines from the US, the former president went on to share how many nuclear warheads US submarines carry and “how close they can get to a Russian submarine without being detected,” sources told ABC. But Pratt told investigators that he was not shown any government documents, the sources said.

Joe Hockey, the former Australian ambassador to the US, downplayed the claims, telling CNN late Thursday that if the conversation between Trump and Pratt went as reported, “There has been nothing said that we all did not know.”

“Australian submariners have been serving on US submarines for years,” Hockey told CNN. “Similarly, US naval personnel have been on our ships. It’s a fully integrated partnership. The combat system on the US subs and Australian subs is a joint program. Similarly, we share weapons technology.”

However, even if submariners in Australia knew the information Trump relayed to Pratt, if the information was classified, then it was illegal to share publicly.

Pratt maintained close ties with Trump while he was president. When his company, Pratt Industries, opened a plant in Ohio, then-President Trump attended the opening and praised the businessman in his remarks.

Another source told CNN’s Collins that during that visit, Pratt planned to unveil two plaques, an official one celebrating the plant’s opening in the US and a second one that he had told Trump about beforehand. The second plaque, which Pratt kept a secret until the day of the visit, read, “Make America and Australia Great Again.” But officials attending the plant’s opening quickly pulled it down and advised Pratt against the move, that source said.

CNN previously obtained an audio of a July 2021 meeting Trump had in his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, during which the former president acknowledged that he held on to a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran. The audio, exclusively reported by CNN, was a critical piece of evidence in the special counsel’s indictment.

Trump is facing 40 counts in the classified documents case, including willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice. It is one of four cases in which the former president has been indicted.

Trump, who is seeking to return to the White House and remains the GOP front-runner, asked the judge presiding over the case late Wednesday to delay the trial until after the 2024 elections. A similar request was previously denied.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Kristen Holmes and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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