Reports revealed on Sunday concerning secret recordings of Mar-a-Lago member and Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt said Trump told him about his private contacts with the presidents of Ukraine and Iraq. Pratt is a key prosecution witness in Trump’s classified materials case.
The New York Times and “60 Minutes Australia” published stories expanding on charges that Trump disclosed classified information to a third party too freely. The stories were based on previously unreleased tapes of Pratt describing their conversations.
Pratt claims that on the tapes, Trump reveals classified information regarding his conversations with foreign leaders while in office. Pratt also provides scathing assessments on Trump’s moral character.
In an interview with special counsel Jack Smith, it was previously reported by AWN that Pratt spoke with Smith about Trump’s alleged mishandling of national security materials by keeping dozens of secret documents in his home at Mar-a-Lago. (Trump has maintained his innocence.) The trial, which is set to begin in May, will also feature Pratt as one of Smith’s witnesses.
There are serious concerns about Trump’s carefree attitude towards national secrets, which is at the heart of that issue. ABC News previously reported that Trump had a potentially embarrassing conversation regarding US nuclear submarines with Pratt. Sunday’s stories add new details about their interactions, expanding what was already known about Pratt’s account to include discussions of global politics.
It hadn’t even been on the news yet, and he said, ‘I just destroyed Iraq today,'” Pratt recalled in one video that was released on Sunday, remembering a discussion he had with Trump.
Following this, Pratt recalled Trump’s depiction of his call with Iraqi President Barham Salih in December 2019. Pratt quotes Trump as saying, “You just levelled my city. The president of Iraq called me up and said, ‘You just levelled my city. What are you going to do about it?” I asked him.
According to the recordings, Trump also discussed with Pratt his now-infamous chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in September 2019, during which Trump reportedly urged Zelensky to help him win the 2020 election by publicly opening false corruption probes against Joe Biden. Trump’s first impeachment was based on that phone call.
Trump is heard on the audio telling Pratt about the Zelensky call, “That was nothing compared to what I usually do.” “That’s peanuts compared to the stuff we normally discuss.”
Trump told The New York Times that Pratt is “from a friendly country in Australia, one of our great allies,” but he did not reject the tapes’ claims of inappropriate comments between him and a female aide. A representative for Trump has said that the recordings “lack proper context.”
The Trump campaign and Pratt’s company, Visy, have been contacted by AWN for comment.
Smith’s prosecutors may use the most recent leaks as evidence that Trump routinely shared classified material with unapproved third parties, such as campaign donors and friends in the business world. It’s not clear if prosecutors had access to the tapes before they were released on Sunday.
The new tapes also reveal Pratt’s unfiltered, personal reflections on Trump’s actions. In one tape, Pratt claims that Trump “says outrageous things nonstop” and that his business practises are similar to “the mafia,” but it is unclear to whom he was addressing.
He is well-versed in what to say and what not to say to stay out of jail. “He doesn’t actually break the law, but he comes so close that it looks that way,” Pratt stated on one tape.