Reports that former president Donald Trump’s political action committee shared nuclear codes in a fundraising email have been debunked.
An image purporting to show a fundraising appeal under Mr Trump’s name on Thursday was found to have been fake, according to a fact check by the Associated Press.
The email in the altered image – which was never actually sent by the Save America Pac – stated “The nuke codes are 15-25-50-80” and asked if Mr Trump could count on recipients to donate an amount ranging from $15 to $80 .
“Trump’s team did not send that email, a representative confirmed. An actual email with the same subject line and banner image contained different body text,” AP said after its assessment.
The image spread on social media in the hours after Washington Post and New York Times reported that the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach, Florida mansion turned private social club where Mr Trump maintains his primary residence, was brought on by his alleged retention of documents pertaining to some of America’s most closely guarded nuclear secrets.
Mr Trump has said he will not oppose a Department of Justice request for the Florida magistrate judge who approved the search of his property to unseal the warrant, which was made public on Friday.
If the ex-president is found to have had highly classified material dealing with nuclear weapons or similar capabilities at his home, he could face criminal charges for unauthorized possession of classified information.
Although a sitting president has broad authorization to view and distribute classified materials, Mr Trump lost that ability at the moment President Joe Biden was sworn in on 20 January 2021.
The original version of this article published 12 August incorrectly suggested that the fundraising email in the image was real. The article was updated on 13 August to clarify that the image was altered and the email it purported to show was not real.