Former president Donald Trump reportedly shared apparently classified information about US nuclear submarines with an Australian businessman shortly after he left office, in a meeting at his Florida private members' club Mar-a-Lago.
ABC News reported Mr Trump allegedly told billionaire Anthony Pratt the exact number of nuclear warheads US submarines routinely carry, and precisely how close they can get to Russian submarines without being detected.
The information was purportedly revealed during a conversation between the pair in April 2021. Mr Trump has denied sharing any sensitive information.
ABC said during the conversation, Mr Pratt told the ex-president he thought Australia should start buying its submarines from the US.
Citing unnamed sources, The New York Times also identified the businessman as Mr Pratt, who heads one of the world's largest packaging companies.
ABC said Mr Pratt later shared details of the US submarines with “scores of others, including more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees and a handful of journalists”.
Sources told the newspaper that Mr Trump's disclosure “potentially endangered the US nuclear fleet”.
Federal prosecutors already investigating Mr Trump for holding classified material at Mar-a-Lago after he left office, interviewed Mr Pratt twice about the incident, the reports said.
“The ridiculous story put out today about me talking to a Mar-a-Lago member about US submarines is false and ridiculous,” Mr Trump claimed in a post on his Truth Social platform.
The billionaire may be called by prosecutors to testify against Mr Trump in his classified documents trial, due to start in May in Florida.
Aside from the classified documents case, Mr Trump faces three other criminal indictments: one federal, one in Georgia over his efforts to overturn his election loss and stay in power and another in New York stemming from alleged election-eve hush money payments in 2016 to an adult film star.
Mr Trump is currently on trial in a New York civil case on charges of wildly and fraudulently inflating the value of his assets to get better terms from banks and insurance companies.