NYT: Donald Trump told the Australian billionaire the details of the conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky

Anhelina Sheremet

Former US President Donald Trump told Australian billionaire and Mar-a-Lago club member Anthony Pratt about his private conversations with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and Iraqi leader Barham Salih.

The American newspaper "The New York Times" (NYT) and the Australian television channel "60 Minutes Australia" published private records of Pratt, who is a key witness in the case of Trumpʼs handling of classified documents.

In the tapes, Pratt says Trump shared insider information about his phone conversations with world leaders during his presidency. Yes, Trump discussed with Pratt his "infamous conversation" with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in September 2019, in which Trump allegedly pressured Zelensky to help him win the 2020 election — such as publicly opening a "corruption investigation" into Joeʼs family Biden. This call formed the basis of Trumpʼs first impeachment.

"That phone call to Ukraine is nothing compared to what I usually do," Trump said.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky with then US President Donald Trump at a meeting in New York, on September 25, 2019.

Pratt then recalled how Trump described his December 2019 conversation with Iraqi President Barham Salih. At the time, Trump said: "The president of Iraq called me and said, ʼYou just leveled my city.ʼ And I said to him, ʼOK, what are you going to do about it?ʼ"

The case of Donald Trump

On July 27, 2023, prosecutors of the US Ministry of Justice filed new charges against Donald Trump in the case of handling classified documents. He is accused of attempting to "change, destroy, distort or conceal evidence."

The special counsel alleged that Trump mishandled classified documents brought to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Billionaire Pratt is one of 84 potential witnesses federal prosecutors have identified as part of a trial in the case, which is set to begin in Florida in May.

Trumpʼs conversation with Zelensky

In September 2019, American journalists reported that the then US President Donald Trump, during a telephone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky, may have tried to pressure him and force him to start an investigation against the family of Joe Biden, his main potential competitor in the next US presidential election. According to the American intelligence officer, who processed the recording of the call (here is the stenograph) and complained to his management, Trump allegedly asked to investigate the possible abuse of power by Biden himself. Trump admitted that he spoke with Zelensky about Biden and allowed the transcript of the conversation to be published. Zelensky denied any pressure. Because of this scandal, the US House of Representatives began the official impeachment process against Trump. On February 5, 2020, after the conclusion of the Senate impeachment proceedings, Trump was fully acquitted.