Australia’s ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, is the one who contacted the FBI about comments allegedly made by a Trump campaign member to Alexander Downer in London, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Mr Downer, Australia’s outgoing high commissioner to the UK, 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.
In the reportedly boozy encounter at an upmarket London club, Papadopoulos, who worked as an advisor to the Trump election campaign, revealed that he knew about ‘dirt’ Russia had on Donald Trump’s then presumed presidential campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the form of hacked emails.
According to the New York Times report, when Clinton campaign emails began appearing online through Wikileaks two months later, Australian officials told US authorities about the London encounter.
According to the SMH report, Mr Downer relayed the fact of the conversation with Papadopoulos in a diplomatic cable to Canberra. Subsequently, Mr Hockey discussed it with the FBI.
It is believed that the information passed by Australia to the US about the London conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos contributed to the establishing of the FBI’s special investigation into ties between Donald Trump’s campaign, administration and the Russian government.
The Australian government is reportedly displeased that Alexander Downer has been outed as a source of information crucial to the Trump-Russia investigation.
George Papadopoulos has already pleaded guilty to lying about meetings in London to the Robert Muller led FBI special council investigation into Trump-Russia ties.