White House

Australian Ambassador Offered to Help AG Barr with Investigation of Mueller Probe’s Origins

Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 1, 2019. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

Australian ambassador to the U.S. Joe Hockey offered in May of this year to help Attorney General William Barr with the Department of Justice’s investigation of the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

In a letter to Barr dated May 28, 2019, Hockey noted that President Trump had placed Barr at the head of the investigation, and that the Australian government would “use its best endeavors to support” the probe.

The Mueller investigation was intended to shed light on whether the Trump presidential campaign conspired with Russian officials to win the 2016 elections. The probe eventually dismissed the allegations.

An F.B.I. counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, the results of which were later cited in the Mueller report, began after Australian intelligence reported a meeting between its then-head Alexander Downer and Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos. During the meeting, Papadopoulos reportedly bragged to Downer that the campaign had obtained dirt on Hillary Clinton from officials in the Russian government.

Hockey’s letter, which was revealed by Australian journalists, stated that while Downer was no longer in government, Australia “stand[s] ready to provide you with all relevant information to support your inquiries.”

Trump currently faces an impeachment inquiry as the Democrat-controlled House investigates allegations that he used his office to pressure the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelentsky, to conduct an investigation damaging to Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden.

On Monday evening, the New York Times reported that Trump had spoken with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison regarding the Mueller probe, seeking Morrison’s cooperation with Barr’s investigation. The Australian government put out a statement after details of the conversation became known saying, “The Australian Government has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation.”

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