Trump sought Australia's help on Russia probe origins

Wednesday, 02 Oct, 2019

"The Prime Minister confirmed this readiness again", the statement said.

A spokesman for Australia's foreign minister, Marise Payne, said at the time the Australian government would not comment because it "could prejudice any ongoing investigation". Then-CIA Director John Brennan later presented the conclusions of the FBI, CIA, NSA and several other USA intelligence agencies in a January 2017 report, but Mueller's probe only began in May 2017 at Trump's direction.

An official briefed on the matter said the attorney general has asked the President to request the help of several countries, including Australia, with the Durham review.

Mr Trump is now facing impeachment proceedings over a call he made to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, asking him to investigate the USA president's political rival Joe Biden, a whistleblower revealed last week.

While Donald Trump is likely to be impeached over his efforts to coerce a foreign government to help with his 2020 campaign, Barr has been focused on an investigate-the-investigators scheme, overseen in part by John Durham, a USA attorney.

Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday focusing on the call flagged in this complaint, where Mr Trump spoke with the Ukrainian leader about the Biden allegations.

Barr is now heading a Justice Department investigation into the origins of the now-dismissed allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation. Barr also traveled to Italy last week, where he reportedly pressed Italian officials to help his probe.

I note that the President referred to Australia, the United Kingdom and the Ukraine as potential stakeholders.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Mr Trump was trying to facilitate access for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the Australian Government.

If you're wondering what Morrison has to do with all of this: Australia just so happens to have played a pivotal role in the 2016 investigation. There is no evidence to support this, but the conspiracy has been advanced by some of the president's allies in congress, by some Fox News commentators, and in frequent tweets by Mr. Papadopoulos. "If he's not doing that, he's not doing his job, so I'm going to write a letter to all three countries and ask them to cooperate with Barr".

White House officials were particularly distressed by Trump's election remarks because it appeared the president was forgiving Russian Federation for an attack that had been created to help elect him, the three former officials said. That has fueled concerns that Mr. Trump has personally directed his attorney general to micromanage a law enforcement inquiry to advance the president's political agenda.

"There's a lot of disquiet already that the PM is too close to President Trump", he said. "There's just nothing more to it", Downer said on October 1, according to AAP.