According to the New York Times, President Donald Trump asked Australian prime minister Scott Morrison to help Attorney General William Barr look into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Though that investigation showed the supposed collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia was nothing but a conspiracy theory, the NYT’s report seems to suggest the President went over the line.
According to the NYT, the request was pushed by Barr, who asked Trump to seek Morrison’s help in obtaining any information about what prompted Mueller’s probe. The telephone conversation supposedly occurred weeks after Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke regarding U.S. military aid and what kind of business dealings the son of former Vice President and 2020 White House candidate Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, had undertaken.
According to top Democrats, the Trump-Zelensky call in July is supposed to be proof, based on secondhand information, that the president wanted Zelensky to look into the Biden family. Both Trump and Zelensky have denied this. Trump even released a transcript of his call with the Ukraine leader in the name of transparency.
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Australian officials told the FBI during the 2016 U.S. presidential election that Trump campaign associates and members of the Russian government were in contact regarding Hillary Clinton’s controversial emails. This caused the FBI to investigate alleged Russian election interference.
One-time Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos allegedly told Alexander Downer, then-Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, in May 2016 that Russia was in possession of emails related to the Hillary Clinton campaign. When the hacking of the Democrat National Committee became known in July 2016, Australian officials disclosed Papadopoulos’s remark to U.S. authorities, which sparked the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos served 14 days in prison after pleading guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI…
In May of 2019, Barr assigned John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Operation Crossfire Hurricane — the FBI’s Russia investigation — to determine whether intelligence collected on the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate.” Durham has received briefings concerning the “four corners” of the bureau’s use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants as part of its counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign. “Durham is specifically reviewing the FISA warrant obtained by the FBI to surveil former Trump aide Carter Page, as well as general issues relating to surveillance during the 2016 campaign and matters flowing from the FISA process. Fox News is told Durham would handle the prosecution of any criminal action he might uncover,” Fox News reported in June.
The New York Times reports that Trump went on to ask Morrison to examine his country’s tips to the FBI to see if they were influenced by political bias.
Morrison’s office, responding to the NYT report, confirmed its commitment to assist the Trump administration with its request for information about the Mueller probe. “The Australian government has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation,” their statement read. “The PM confirmed this readiness once again in conversation with the president.”