President Trump pressed the Australian prime minister to assist Attorney General William Barr obtain information about the Russia probe’s origins in a recent phone call, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The White House has limited access to the transcript of the call between the two world leaders to a small group of presidential aids, sources told the Times.
Echoing another call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked an impeachment inquiry in the House last week, the conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly involves the president pressuring a foreign leader to look into domestic political matters. According to the Times, the president sought out Morrison’s help upon request from Barr.
Australian officials told the FBI that the Russian government and Trump campaign had been in communication about releasing information about Hillary Clinton, which provoked an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Australian government passed along the tip once George Papadopoulos – Trump’s campaign foreign policy adviser – told an Australian official about Russia having access to damaging information on Clinton and “thousands” of her emails.
Trump is requesting Australia examine their tips to the FBI to see if they were sent for partisan or corrupt reasons, the Times reported.
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