Australian diplomat's tip led to Trump Russia probe: USA paper

Australian diplomat's tip led to Trump Russia probe: USA paper

Mr Downer, Australia's outgoing high commissioner to the United Kingdom, became embroiled in the Trump-Russia controversy when it was reported by The New York Times on Saturday that George Papadopoulos (pictured above, in London) had met with him in May 2016.

Two months after Papadopoulos' conversation with Alexander Downer, when emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails emerged online, Australian officials passed the information concerning Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, the Times reports, citing four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians' role. The Times report cited four current and former USA and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians' role.

If any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation existed, it would have leaked long ago, US Representative Ron DeSantis told Fox News. As of press time, neither Trump nor the White House have issued a statement about the New York Times report in question.

A few weeks before their meeting, Papadopoulos was told Moscow had thousands of emails relating to Clinton, CNN has reported.

"He was hardly central to the daily running of the Trump campaign, yet Mr. Papadopoulos continuously found ways to make himself useful to senior Trump advisers", and "interviews and new documents show that he stayed influential throughout the campaign", the Times notes.

Graham said he still wants an examination of the FBI's use of a dossier on links between Trump and Russian Federation that was compiled by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, which prompted Trump allies and some Republicans to question Mueller's inquiry.

As part of Mueller's investigation, Mr Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.

Famously, Mr Trump had a testy phone call with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a year ago in which he blew up about a refugee deal between the two countries.

Downer and George Papadopoulos walked into a bar and the resulting political gossip reportedly helped spark a Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry, which continues to shadow the president of the United States more than a year into his administration.

Several members of the Trump campaign and administration have been convicted or indicted in the investigation.

Mr Papadopoulos is now reportedly assisting the Mueller probe. Former campaign aide Michael Caputo called Papadopoulos a "coffee boy" who had "nothing to do with the campaign". He is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

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