Letter from Top Australian Official Emerges, Refuting NYT Allegations Against Trump
New York Times reported President Trump 'pushed' Australian PM to 'discredit' Mueller
A letter from a top Australian official has emerged which refutes allegations made against President Donald Trump in a recent New York Times report.
The Times reported Monday that President Trump "pushed" Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help gather information for Attorney General William Barr's ongoing Justice Department investigation.
According to the salacious NYT claims, Trump was hoping to "discredit" Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Trump's alleged request was characterized by the newspaper as "using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests."
This characterization is the same allegation Democrats and the media have made about Trump's now-infamous July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Since the report, a letter has emerged that completely discredits the Times' "scoop," however.
According to The Blaze, the letter — first reported by Australian reporter Kerrie Yaxley — shows Australia proactively reached out to Barr via Scot Hockey, Australia's ambassador to the U.S., in May to offer assistance in the Justice Department's investigation into the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation.
The letter states:
I refer to President Trump's announcement on 24 May that you will investigate the origins of the Federal Bureau of Investigations probe into Russian links to the 2016 US election.
I note that the President referred to Australia, the United Kingdom and the Ukraine as potential stakeholders. Moreover, I note that he has declassified intelligence material to support your investigation.
The Australian Government will use its best endeavors to support your efforts in this matter. While Australia's former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, The Hon. Alexander Downer, is no longer employed by the government, we stand ready to provide you with all the relevant information to support your inquiries.
The Acting White House Chief of Staff, The Honorable Michael Mulvaney, has been copied on this letter.
According to Fox News, Hockey wrote the letter after Trump told reporters he would direct Barr to seek assistance from other countries in the investigation, which is being led by "bulldog" U.S. Attorney John Durham.
A top Australian diplomat further corroborated Monday that it was Australia that initiated contact with Barr regarding the investigation.
"After the president said what he said — we initiated the contact. There was no pressure — we acted in order to help," the diplomat told Fox News.
Indeed, the Justice Department told Fox News that "countries have been helpful" in the DOJ's investigation.
"There was no pressing required," the DOJ official said.