Mar-a-Lago member and Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt said then-President Donald Trump told him about his private calls with the leaders of Ukraine and Iraq, according to reports published Sunday about private recordings of Pratt, a key prosecution witness in Trump’s classified documents case.
The reports from The New York Times and “60 Minutes Australia” revealed previously unknown recordings of Pratt candidly recalling his conversations with Trump – and build on existing allegations that Trump overshared sensitive government material.
In the tapes, Pratt says Trump shared insider details about his phone calls with world leaders during his presidency. Pratt also offers searing critiques of Trump’s personal ethics.
CNN previously reported that Pratt gave an interview to special counsel Jack Smith, who charged Trump with mishandling national security materials by hoarding dozens of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. (Trump pleaded not guilty.) Pratt is also on Smith’s witness list for the trial, which is scheduled for May.
Concerns about Trump’s freewheeling approach to state secrets are at the center of that case. Past reports from ABC News said Trump discussed potentially sensitive information with Pratt about US nuclear submarines. The new reports Sunday expand what is known about Pratt’s recounting of their conversations to include foreign policy matters.
“It hadn’t even been on the news yet, and he said, ‘I just bombed Iraq today,’” Pratt said in one recording that was made public Sunday, recalling a conversation with Trump.
Pratt then recalled Trump’s description of his December 2019 call with Iraqi President Barham Salih. According to Pratt, Trump said, “The president of Iraq called me up and said, ‘You just leveled my city. … I said to him, ‘OK, what are you going to do about it?’”
The recordings also indicate that Trump spoke with Pratt about his now-infamous September 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pressured Zelensky to help him win the 2020 election by publicly launching unfounded corruption probes into Joe Biden. That phone call formed the basis of Trump’s first impeachment.
“That was nothing compared to what I usually do,” Trump told Pratt about the Zelensky call, according to the tape. “That’s nothing compared to what we usually talk about.”
In statements to The New York Times, Trump pointed out that Pratt is “from a friendly country in Australia, one of our great allies,” though he didn’t deny the conversations described in the tapes. A Trump spokesperson said the tapes “lack proper context.”
CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign and Pratt’s company, Visy, for comment.
These latest disclosures could be used by Smith’s prosecutors as evidence that Trump had a pattern of sharing sensitive government information with unauthorized people, including political donors and well-connected businessmen in his orbit. It’s unclear whether prosecutors already had possession of the tapes that were made public on Sunday.
The new recordings also shed light on Pratt’s candid, private thoughts about Trump’s behavior. It’s unclear who Pratt was speaking to, but Pratt said in one tape that Trump “says outrageous things nonstop,” and compared his business practices to “the mafia.”
“He knows exactly what to say — and what not to say — so that he avoids jail. But gets so close to it that it looks to everyone like he’s breaking the law,” Pratt said in one tape.