Speed Reads


Trump reportedly pushed Australia's prime minister to work with Barr and 'discredit' Mueller

President Trump is reportedly asking for favors around the world.

Just weeks after he asked Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky for a "favor," Trump reportedly asked Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison for another one. He wanted Morrison to work with Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe and hopefully discredit it, two American officials with knowledge of the call tell The New York Times.

Trump "initiated the call" with Morrison "for the purpose of requesting Australia's help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation," the two people tell the Times. One of those people also said Barr told Trump to call Morrison in the first place. The request amounted to asking Australia to investigate itself, the Times says, as the FBI probe into Russian election interference started after Australian officials warned the FBI that Russia had offered to help the Trump campaign.

The call is similar to the one between Trump and Zelensky recounted in a White House memorandum released last week. In that case, Trump asked Zelensky to talk with Barr in an effort to investigate the DNC email hack and former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The Australia call similarly shows how Trump sees Barr as a "critical partner" to achieve his goals and "shows the president using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests," the Times writes.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment, while spokespeople for the White House and for the Australian prime minister did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Read more at The New York Times.