Oct. 1 (UPI) — President Donald Trump asked Australia’s prime minister to investigate the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Keri Kupec confirmed that Trump made the request in a statement to NBC News, adding that U.S. Attorney John Durham is conducting an investigation into the origins of Mueller’s probe and is gathering information from sources including “a number of foreign countries.”
“At Attorney General [William] Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” Kupec said.
The call was first reported by The New York Times, which said Trump initiated the discussion with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in recent weeks with the explicit purpose of requesting help in the Justice Department’s investigation into the Russia probe.
Barr began reviewing Mueller’s investigation to determine whether law enforcement or intelligence officials acted inappropriately by deciding to look into whether Trump’s campaign was conspiring with Russia in its efforts to interfere in the election.
The call to Morrison reportedly came weeks after a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that has prompted an impeachment inquiry after a whistle-blower said Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.