The former president has been accused of sharing politically sensitive information with Australian businessman and billionaire Anthony Pratt. This adds to a long list of Trump-related controversies – including an ongoing New York fraud case – against the backdrop of the 2024 US presidential elections.
Reports have emerged that Donald Trump may have discussed “sensitive” details concerning the US nuclear submarine program with Anthony Pratt, an Australian billionaire and executive chairman of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries. So how did this come about?
Digging Into the Details
The conversation itself was said to refer to US submarines and the number of nuclear warheads they contained, as well as other details, such as how close US submarines can get to enemy territory without detection.
If true, this could present issues around confidentiality if Trump is re-elected.
This was reported recently by the US ABC news outlet (not affiliated with ABC Australia). They believe the alleged conversation took place back in April 2021 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. But apparently, that conversation did not remain inside the resort walls.
A Game of Telephone
According to the ABC report, Pratt later shared this sensitive information with several people. These included up to 45 alleged individuals, including several journalists, his own employees, and various Australian government officials, including three former prime ministers.
Loose Lips Sink Submarines
ABC’s source believes that these conversations were carried out both in person and via email. However, Pratt has told investigators that he was unsure if Trump’s words were “real or just bluster.”
An Investigation Starts
This situation was reported to special counsel Jack Smith, who at the time was carrying out an investigation based on reports of “classified document hoarding” by Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort.
Probing for Information
Since these allegations have been reported, Pratt has been interviewed at least twice by prosecutors and FBI investigators in the last year.
He admitted to prompting the conversation by asking Trump if he believed that Australia should be buying subs from the US government. This then led to their controversial discussion.
While sources are unsure if the information discussed was accurate, we do know that Pratt has been asked by Smith’s team to keep the conversation a secret from now on. In particular, he has been asked not to relay any specific numbers or details that Trump shared.
Not So Classified
However, many are skeptical of Pratt’s ability to keep quiet on the subject. One witness at the Mar-a-Lago resort said they overheard Pratt sharing details of his conversation with Trump mere minutes after his meeting.
No Documents, No Problem
Pratt has since defended himself, claiming that he only shared the conversation initially to show Australian officials that he was advocating for his home country while meeting with US leaders. He also insisted that Trump did not show him any government documents at the time.
What About Trump?
But what about the former president and real estate mogul himself? Well, Trump has not personally addressed the situation, but a spokesman has given an official response to the media.
Response From the Team
Trump’s spokesman has referred to the Pratt situation as “illegal leaks” that sorely lack “proper context and relevant information.” They went further, stating that “President Trump did nothing wrong, […]and acted in a proper manner, according to the law.”
The two businessmen have enjoyed a convivial relationship in recent years, with Trump describing Pratt as a “friend” and “perhaps Australia’s most successful man.” However, it is uncertain where their friendship stands in the wake of these controversial allegations.
Amid an ongoing investigation and a New York fraud case, this is just another in a long list of controversies involving the former US president.
Despite this, Trump is still leading in the presidential polling as the Republican nominee, and we’ll likely see him face off against President Joe Biden once again in the 2024 elections.
Will This Jeopardize His Shot at Presidency?
But what are the odds? Will Trump’s past dealings catch up with him before voting begins next year, or is 2024 looking to be Trump’s big leap from ‘former president’ to ‘current president’ for a second time?
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