President Donald Trump asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison 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, Sept. 30.
According to the Times, the president sought out Morrison’s help upon request from Barr.
The telephone conversation reportedly occurred weeks after the president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy regarding U.S. military aid and the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president and 2020 White House candidate Joe Biden. The conversation with Morrison reportedly involved the president pressuring a foreign leader to look into domestic political matters.
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.
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, Australian officials disclosed Papadopoulos’s remark to U.S. authorities, which sparked the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign.
Trump is requesting Australia examine their tips to the FBI to see if they were sent for partisan or corrupt reasons, the Times reported.
In response to the Times report, Morrison’s office affirmed 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,” its statement read. “The Prime Minister confirmed this readiness once again in conversation with the president.”