Former president Donald Trump is claiming that he never disclosed highly classified information about American nuclear-powered submarines and their weaponry to a wealthy Australian who pays for a membership at the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago social club.
Mr Trump, who in June was charged with multiple counts of unlawful retention of national defence information, conspiracy and obstruction of justice for allegedly hoarding highly classified documents at his Palm Beach, Florida property, allegedly shared the information about US nuclear-powered submarines — typically considered among the US Navy’s most highly-guarded secrets, with an Aussie billionaire called Anthony Pratt.
According to ABC News, Mr Pratt reportedly shared the same information with “scores” of other people not authorised to have it, including “more than a dozen foreign officials” and journalists of unknown nationality.
But in a Truth Social post on Friday, the ex-president angrily denied having disclosed such important secrets to anyone unauthorised to know them, calling the derogatory reporting about him “false and ridiculous” while conceding that he “often” brags about how the US produces “the best Submarines and Military Equipment anywhere in the World”.
He also falsely claimed that the story was “put out by corrupt prosecutors” to “interfere” with next year’s presidential election.
The disgraced former chief executive has a long history of denying the truth of derogatory news stories which later turn out to be true.
According to the ABC News report, Department of Justice investigators working under the supervision of Special Counsel Jack Smith learned of the potential breach as they were investigating Mr Trump’s alleged unlawful retention of national defence information.
Both prosecutors and special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have reportedly spoken to Mr Pratt, on at least two occasions this year.
Mr Pratt reportedly told investigators that the ex-president told him two pieces of information about the submarines: How many nuclear warheads are carried by American Ohio class ballistic missile submarines, and how close to such vessels a Russian submarine must get to detect them.
Both of those figures are among the US Navy’s most closely guarded secrets. But sources reportedly told ABC that Mr Pratt described what Mr Trump had said to at least 45 other people, including 10 Australian officials and a trio of former prime ministers.
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