Reports alleging that former President Donald Trump shared U.S. nuclear submarine secrets with an Australian billionaire did not surprise former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who told CNN that Trump “has no filter between his brain and his mouth” and that “he is not one”. “fit for the job” of the president.
Bolton was responding to news that emerged on Thursday in which sources claimed that Trump had passed classified information about America’s nuclear fleet to Anthony Pratt, CEO of US packaging company Pratt Industries. According to the report first published by ABC News, Trump discussed the sensitive information with Pratt during a conversation at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in April 2021.
The report could play a key role in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal case against Trump, in which he is accused of mishandling classified documents after he left the White House. The former president has pleaded not guilty to 40 charges of federal crimes.
While speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday, Bolton said the ABC News report “unfortunately” sounded like something Trump would do, adding that the former president “has no filter between his brain and his mouth.” have.
“I think that’s a big part of the problem here, but it shows up in a lot of different ways,” added Bolton — who was Trump’s third of four national security advisers from April 2018 to September 2019. Trump duly sidelined Bolton on philosophical differences.
The former intelligence official referred to the “famous story” that Trump shared a sensitive photo of a failed Iranian missile launch on his Twitter account in August 2019. Bolton said that the photo at the time may have given “forensics experts and our enemies real evidence” about the U.S.’s photographic capabilities.
“I think it’s something that foreign leaders need to be concerned about,” Bolton continued. “They may trust the president’s advisers, they may trust others with whom they deal regularly, but they would always have to fear that information reaching Trump could slip out at an unwary moment.”
Bolton added during his appearance on CNN that Trump’s conversation with Pratt, if true, could be “very serious” and said it would set a bad example for others working in national security if the former president Secrets can “get away” with sharing.
“I think the main argument that Republicans in particular should make about Trump is that he’s not fit for the job,” Bolton continued when Blitzer asked him whether Trump’s opponents in the 2024 election “should make the case “that he poses a national security threat.
“He doesn’t understand the full nature of his national security responsibilities,” Bolton said. “He didn’t know much about government when he took office in 2017, and he’s learned very little since then.”
“And I think it’s a real problem when you have someone who is more interested in talking about themselves, their own self-aggrandizement and seeing everything through the prism of whether it benefits Donald Trump. “Those are the characteristics of someone who shouldn’t be in the Oval Office,” Bolton added.
Former intelligence officials have also expressed concern about reports that Trump allegedly shared information about the nuclear fleet. James Clapper, director of national intelligence under former President Barack Obama’s administration, previously told CNN that the allegations against Trump “unfortunately represent another in a long litany of violations of our national security through the failure to adequately protect such sensitive information.” “, be.
“When this involved sea-launched ballistic missiles and the submarines that carry them, this is a part of our national strategic arsenal that gets to the heart of the nation’s survival,” Clapper added. “If this is true, it is difficult to overstate the seriousness of confirming knowledge of these submarines to foreigners.”
It is unknown what information Trump allegedly shared with Pratt, although ABC News reported that Pratt “described Trump’s comments” to at least 45 other people after their conversation. Sources familiar with the matter also told ABC News that Pratt was interviewed by the DOJ at least twice as part of its investigation into Trump.
Bolton has previously spoken out against his former boss amid investigations into secret documents. In August, the former national security adviser told CNN that Trump was “constantly focused on preserving documents” while in the Oval Office.
Newsweek sent a request for comment on ABC News’ report to Trump’s press team, but it was not returned.
Trump was the overwhelming frontrunner in the run-up to the 2024 Republican presidential election. After skipping the first two debates, the former president has a lead of more than 40 points over his Republican rivals, according to a recent ABC News poll.Washington Post and FiveThirtyEight.