'Australian tip-off' triggered Trump Russia probe

12 January, 2018, 17:43 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Robert Mueller

The FBI investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the United States presidential election began after a tip-off from an Australian diplomat following a night of "heavy drinking" at a London bar with Donald Trump's campaign adviser, according to the New York Times.

A tip from former Australian opposition leader Alexander Downer appears to have helped persuade the FBI to investigate Russian meddling in the United States election, according to the The New York Times.

The Australians, the Times reported, informed the us about Papadopoulos's claim two months later, after hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee were released - i.e.in July 2016.

Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer, declined to comment on The New York Times report, saying only that the USA administration is cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

Trump himself seemed to undercut his supporters in an interview last week with the New York Times in which he said he expected Mueller was "going to be fair". Trump has called the dossier a "pile of garbage". It was the first criminal charge alleging links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in May, citing Comey's probe into possible links between the presidential campaign and Russian interference, as well as Comey's alleged protection of Clinton.

The Times says Papadopoulos shared this information with Downer.

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George Papadopoulos has already pleaded guilty to lying about meetings in London to the Robert Muller led FBI special council investigation into Trump-Russia ties.

According to the SMH report, Mr Downer relayed the fact of the conversation with Papadopoulos in a diplomatic cable to Canberra.

Former British spy Christopher Steele met with the FBI in July 2016 to share some of his findings from an investigation he was conducting of Trump on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Claims over collusion have overshadowed Trump's first year in office.

Mr Trump probably won't appreciate Mr Downer's intervention, but the Australian has earned himself some admirers in the US.

"And we all need to let Mr. Mueller do his job".

Trump and members of his team have sought to play down the role that Papadopoulos held in the campaign, with the president calling him a "young, low level volunteer". And the Mueller team was anxious that revealing his guilty plea would tip off other "subjects" in the investigation. He is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

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