President Donald Trump reportedly pushed the Prime Minister of Australia to assist the administration in discrediting former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to the New York Times.
According to the report, Trump urged Australia’s head of state Scott Morrison to help the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr in their efforts to gather information that would ultimately discredit Mueller’s entire investigation as being corrupt and partisan.
Trump’s conversation with Morrison was initiated at the direct request of AG Barr, according to one of the Times’ sources with knowledge of the discussion, and took place two weeks after Trump seemed to tell Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensy that he would provide military aid in exchange for dirt on Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.
In another troubling use of the diplomatic channels available to the president, Trump hoped Morrison would help him refute the entirety of the Mueller Report by showing the notion that Russia interfered in the election was improperly founded on faulty information. That initial information was relayed to the U.S. by the Australian government in 2016 after Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos told an Australian official that the Russians had obtained Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The report also claimed that, similar to how Trump’s conversation with Zelensky was handled, the White House severely restricted staffers’ access to the details of Trump’s call with Morrison, a move the Times source described as “unusual.”
When asked about Monday’s revelations a Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. Spokespersons for the White House and the Australian prime minister also did not immediately respond to the Times request for comment.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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