Updated Oct 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump denies reports he shared sensitive details with Mar-a-Lago member

President Donald Trump, Australian businessman Anthony Pratt and Australian Prime Minister Scott open Pratt Industries Wapakoneta, a recycling and paper plant owned by Anthony Pratt in Wapakoneta, Ohio, September 22, 2019.

Then-President Trump, Australian businessman Anthony Pratt and then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Pratt's recycling and paper plant in Wapakoneta, Ohio, in 2019. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/The Sydney Morning Herald via Getty Images

Former President Trump allegedly shared sensitive information with Mar-a-Lago member Anthony Pratt on calls he had with the leaders of Iraq and Ukraine, according to audio leaked to Australian media.

Why it matters: Australian billionaire Pratt is one of 84 potential witnesses whom federal prosecutors have identified in Trump's classified documents trial, which is scheduled to begin in Florida in May. Trump denied the reports late Sunday.

Driving the news: Pratt described Trump's business practices of being "like the mafia," according to audio from the joint investigation by the Australian "60 Minutes," The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, which the NYT also obtained.

  • "It hadn't even been on the news yet and he [Trump] said, 'So I just bombed Iraq today,'" claimed the global executive chair of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries, of one conversation in 2019, per the leaked audio.
  • "'And the president of Iraq called me up and said, you just levelled my city'. And he said, 'And I said to him, OK, what are you going to do about it?'"
  • Pratt allegedly described Trump in other audio excerpts as "outrageous" with a love of shocking people and knowing "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."

Of note: The audio also appears to show Pratt recounting Trump describing to him the 2019 call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that helped lead to his first impeachment in which Trump urged Zelensky to investigate the Biden family for unsubstantiated claims of corruption in the country.

  • "Trump said, 'You know that Ukraine phone call? That was nothing compared to what I usually do'. He said, 'that Ukraine phone call, that's nothing compared to what we usually talk about,'" recounted Pratt, according to the audio.

What they're saying: Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton called the former president's reported comments on Iraq potentially dangerous due to possible operational reasons.

  • "Trump doesn't have a filter between his brain and his mouth," Bolton told the Australian "60 Minutes."
  • "And so the concern that he would reveal classified information to a foreigner or even an ally but a private citizen struck many people as entirely believable."

The other side: While not directly addressing the Australian media reports, Trump said in a statement to the New York Times earlier Sunday that Pratt is "from a friendly country in Australia, one of our great allies," adding: "I don't know him well but he seemed like a nice person. He built a factory in Ohio and created American jobs."

  • In a Truth Social post late Sunday that did not address the Australian media reports, Trump said the NYT had not called him for comment.
  • He described the NYT story "about a red haired weirdo from Australia, named Anthony Pratt" that he said was "leaked" by special counsel Jack Smith and the DOJ as "fake news."
  • Trump added that he did not speak to Pratt about submarines, but they did discuss "creating jobs in Ohio and Pennsylvania, because that's what I'm all about."
  • Representatives for Pratt did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Trump's shifting public defenses in classified documents case

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Trump, former national security adviser John Bolton and with further context.

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