Former President Trump reportedly shared potentially sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with an Australian billionaire at Trump’s Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago, and the billionaire then shared that information with scores of others, including numerous foreign officials, a handful of journalists and some of his own employees.
The potential disclosure was reported to Special Counsel Jack Smith, who’s prosecuting Trump for his handling of more than 100 classified documents post-Presidency.
Trump is facing a total of 40 criminal counts related to his handling of the classified documents, including 31 counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act as well as obstruction and other charges.
Prosecutors and FBI agents have at least twice this year interviewed Australian packaging company mogul and Mar-a-Lago member, Anthony Pratt, who reportedly described to federal U.S. authorities conversations in which Trump brought up the U.S. submarine fleet.
According to sources who described Pratt’s account, he told Trump he believed Australia should start purchasing submarines from the U.S., to which Trump—”leaning” toward Pratt as if to be discreet—then told Pratt about the supposed exact number of nuclear warheads U.S. subs routinely carry, as well as exactly how close they supposedly can get to a Russian submarine without being detected.
Pratt would then go on to describe Trump’s remarks to at least 45 others, according to news sources, though Pratt has told investigators he couldn’t tell if what Trump had disclosed was true or just bluster.
While Trump has falsely stated that when he was President, he had the authority to declassify decedents just “by thinking about it,” not even the President of the United States has the authority—in any capacity—to declassify the country’s nuclear secrets.
Earlier this week attorneys for Trump, who’s running for reelection, filed a request to postpone his classified documents trial until after Election Day 2024, which is November 5 next year.
Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District in Southern Florida has already set a May 20 trial date in the case.