Alexander Downer took information he received from a Donald Trump aide about potential Russia meddling in the 2016 US election to the American embassy in London, a report alleges. Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images
Alexander Downer took information he received from a Donald Trump aide about potential Russia meddling in the 2016 US election to the American embassy in London, a report alleges. Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images

Alexander Downer to once again help FBI probe into Trump

ALEXANDER Downer took information he received from a Donald Trump aide about potential Russia meddling in the 2016 US election to the American embassy in London, a report alleges.

The report in the Wall Street Journal will add to allegations the Australian government broke with diplomatic protocol over the issue and has shone new light over the FBI's version of events.

The report claims that after Downer received a tip from Trump offsider George Papadopoulos during a drink in early May 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the information then reached the FBI, who launched a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign on July 31.

Alexander Downer took information he received from a Donald Trump aide about potential Russia meddling in the 2016 US election to the American embassy in London, a report alleges. Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images
Alexander Downer took information he received from a Donald Trump aide about potential Russia meddling in the 2016 US election to the American embassy in London, a report alleges. Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images

According to the publication Downer, who was the Australian Ambassador to the UK at the time, allegedly passed the information onto the US embassy in London.

In an interview with The Australian in April, Downer said within 48 hours of the meeting with Papadopoulos he sent an official cable about what was said to Canberra.

However the Wall Street Journal alleges the information found its way to the FBI through Downer and not Australia's ambassador to the US Joe Hockey.

This comes despite the document that launched the probe into suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US election not containing foreign intelligence, the report says.

Talking to The Australian, Downer recalled his meeting with Papadopoulos saying:

"We had a drink and he (Papadopoulos) talked about what Trump's foreign policy would be like if Trump won the election.

"He (Trump) hadn't got the nomination at that stage. During that conversation he (Papadopoulos) mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging.''

In October last year, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about contacts he had with the Russian government in relation to Trump's presidential campaign.

In the lead-up to the election Wikileaks released a slew of emails that had been hacked from Clinton's account.

Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Picture: Supplied
Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Picture: Supplied

Last year The New York Timesfirst revealed it was at a boozy night in May 2016, at London's Kensington Wine Rooms, that Trump's then foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos told Downer Russia had dirt on Trump's political rival Clinton.

"Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the FBI dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark," the New York Times then reported earlier this month.

"Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump's advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling.

"After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an FBI interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos."

The FBI agents summarised "their highly unusual interview" and their report helped provide the foundation for a case that became the probe headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump has repeatedly slammed the probe as a witch hunt.

Papadopoulos became one of Mueller's first scalps, pleading guilty to lying to officials.

He is co-operating with Mr Mueller's investigation.

The FBI codenamed their probe Crossfire Hurricane, a reference to lyrics in a Rolling Stones song.

Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the November 8, 2016 presidential election won by Trump.

When contacted by News Corp Australia Downer declined to comment on the report.


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