Donald Trump accused of sharing nuclear submarine details with Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt

Donald Trump accused of sharing nuclear submarine details with Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt
  • PublishedOctober 6, 2023

The American ABC news outlet reported that Mr Trump told Anthony Pratt the supposed number of nuclear warheads on US subs, and how close they could get to a Russian submarine without being detected. 

The conversation is said to have taken place at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, several months after he left office.

ABC — which is not affiliated with ABC in Australia — also reported that Mr Pratt allegedly then shared the information with at least 45 people, including journalists and employees, as well as 10 Australian officials and three former prime ministers. 

The alleged conversation with Mr Pratt was not mentioned by federal prosecutors when they charged Mr Trump with mishandling classified documents this year.

However, ABC reported that Mr Pratt had been interviewed on the matter at least twice, and that he told investigators he was not sure if the information was accurate.

The New York Times said the businessman was among dozens of people identified as possible witnesses who could testify against the former president at trial.

A spokesman for Mr Trump criticised what they described as “illegal leaks” that lacked “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 spokesman said.

A response has been sought from Mr Pratt, and the ABC is not suggesting he has done anything wrong.

The office of special counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting Mr Trump, declined to comment.

AUKUS deal not part of conversation, shadow foreign minister says

Anthony Pratt runs Pratt Industries/Visy, which its website says is the “world’s largest privately owned packaging, paper and recycling company”.

He was praised by Donald Trump as “the most successful man in Australia” during a visit to a Pratt Industries plant in Ohio in 2019.

“He [Mr Pratt] said I’m going to come here and I’m going to spend $10 billion if you win the election,” Mr Trump said at the time.

ABC News reported that Mr Trump’s comments in the April 2021 conversation came after Mr Pratt suggested Australia should start buying submarines from the US.

Donald Trump standing next to Anthony Pratt.
Mr Trump praised Mr Pratt at the opening of the Pratt Paper Plant in Wapakoneta, Ohio in 2019. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

The AUKUS deal, under which Australia will obtain nuclear-powered — but not nuclear-armed subs — was announced by Mr Trump’s successor Joe Biden about five months later.

But Shadow Foreign Minister Simon Birmingham said Mr Trump would not have been aware of the discussions taking place behind the scenes.

“It’s important we keep a clear distinction between AUKUS and these investigations by US authorities,” he said.

“Ultimately AUKUS was an agreement struck with the Biden administration, through discussions between Scott Morrison and Joe Biden, as well as [former UK prime minister] Boris Johnson.

“They were discussions had with the utmost of secrecy applied to them, and those confidences were kept.”

He said these were the “most sensitive of US defence technologies and capabilities”.

“Therefore it is critically important that the sensitivities and secrecy associated with these capabilities be maintained and respected at all times.”

“Therefore it is critically important that the sensitivities and secrecy associated with these capabilities be maintained and respected at all times.”

Former Australian ambassador to the US Joe Hockey played down the significance of the alleged conversation.

“Australian submariners have been serving on US submarines for years,” he said in a statement.

“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.

“If the conversation between Trump and Pratt is as reported there has been nothing said that we all did not know.”

SOURCE: ABCNEWS

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