Frustrated: Australian Officials Wonder How Info of Their Involvement in Russia Probe Was Leaked
I told you several days ago about a New York Times report that the Russia probe may have been kicked off by the drunken boastings of the so-called “coffee boy,” George Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos was a foreign policy aide for the Trump campaign, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.
As the report went this weekend, Papadopoulos told Australian diplomat Alexander Downing that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton that they were offering as opposition research, in May 2016.
In July 2016, Australian official contacted the FBI with what they’d been told in May.
And now, the Australian government is a bit miffed that one of their officials may be mixed up in the nightmare that is the Russia probe, thanks to a leak.
The Sidney Morning Herald confirmed that sequence of events in a report Monday, adding that there is “annoyance and frustration” in Australia’s government that U.S. officials leaked the involvement of Downer to the press. Downer is Australia’s top diplomat to Britain.
The report also includes new details, including that Joe Hockey, Australia’s ambassador to the United States, was directly involved in discussions with the FBI over the Papadopoulos information.
It was after the WikiLeaks drop of the DNC emails that Downer realized that Papadopoulos wasn’t just engaging in drunken bragging and that it might actually be important information, which is why it took two months to get the information to the FBI.
In a few weeks, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be visiting the U.S. He doesn’t feel this new bit of news will negatively impact his visit with Trump.
The question now is: Who leaked?
It’s possible FBI sources leaked to the Times, given Trump and his group of lapdog Republican lawmakers have targeted the agency for attack – particularly heavy attacks, at that – over the last couple of weeks.
For now, however, the news does add a new wrinkle to the probe.