Debunk This by Matt Palumbo

The latest New York Times “bombshell” report is yet another dud, as their supposed revelation has essentially been public since May. They’re reporting that “President Trump pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call.”

The Times is attempting to push the narrative that this is comparable to Trump’s call with Ukraine’s President, which has led to an impeachment inquiry that will inevitably fail. “Like the call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia shows President Trump using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests” they write.

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Little detail was given regarding the actual contents of the call, we’re only told by the Times that “In making the request, Mr. Trump was in effect asking the Australian government to investigate itself.” Regardless, it’s hardly surprising that Trump spoke with Australia’s prime minister regarding the DOJ’s investigation into the intelligence community’s misconduct in the 2016 election because Trump himself said to reporters in May that he hoped Barr would “look at the UK and I hope he looks at Australia and I hope he looks at Ukraine. I hope he looks at everything, because there was a hoax that was perpetrated on our country.”

The Times later added that quote from Barr to their piece, but it did not appear in the first draft that broke the story. They also had to note that Barr had acknowledged Trump’s comments and intended to act on them, which, again, wasn’t in their initial report.

There are serious reasons why Australia is of interest to Barr’s investigation. As Dan and I documented extensively in Spygate, it was Australia that played the central role in ensnaring George Papadopoulos, and was later cited by the FBI as the reason they opened a secretive counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign that would later become the special counsel. Papadopoulos went to the Kensington Wine Rooms in London to meet with Australia’s top diplomat in the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer (at Downer’s request). In May of 2016 Downer was previously part of Hakluyt, a secretive British intelligence firm founded by former MI6 members that he remained associated with the firm following their departure.

The narrative is that during their meeting, Papadopoulos told Downer (allegedly while drunk) about the Russians having material that would damage Clinton (which he did not), which Downer later reported to the FBI.

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The true origins of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign are murky – but the Times themselves were the paper that broke the story that it was Australian intelligence behind it! That story of theirs is literally titled “How the Russia Inquiry Began.”

So why are they surprised that Trump’s investigation into that investigation would turn to Australia, and what do they think the wrongdoing is here? Who knows.