US President Donald Trump has partially blamed former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the huge FBI investigation into the 2016 Presidential election, according to a wild new report.
CNN states Trump also looks to Turnbull’s successor, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, as a more pliant international ally against the president’s many, many critics.
There’s a lot going on here, but here are the basics: Trump is still haunted by the Special Counsel probe into the election, which questioned whether the Trump campaign accepted help from Russia to defeat opponent Hillary Clinton.
Improbably, it was Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer, who first tipped off the FBI that Trump campaign stooge George Papadopoulos was boasting about Clinton dirt obtained by Russia.
Downer’s involvement has metastasised into an unfounded alt-right conspiracy: that Downer and other international diplomats were actually agents of the US Democratic Party, hellbent on derailing Trump’s election chances.
That’s totally baseless nonsense, but it’s nonsense which has found a foothold in the White House.
In Trump’s paranoid quest to discredit the investigation’s negative findings, he has tapped Attorney General William Barr to lead an inquest into the Special Counsel investigation.
Earlier this week it was revealed Trump actually called Morrison to look into the Downer business. Morrison, who has positioned himself as a ridgy-didge mate to Trump, said Australia would do whatever it could to get to the (barrel) bottom of the situation.
Citing White House sources, CNN now reports Trump has blamed Turnbull and former UK Prime Minister Theresa May for not acting to tamp down Downer’s complaint in the first place:
Not only did he view the two new leaders as more cooperative to his position, he blamed both of their predecessors — Theresa May and Malcolm Turnbull — as partly responsible for the entire investigation, believing that under their leadership it was allowed to sprout, people familiar with his thinking said.
It’s not the first sign of conflict between Trump and Turnbull – their first phone conversation did not go well – but it’s the first suggestion that Trump thought Turnbull was actively working against him.
Fun times over in Washington D.C., for sure. You can read the full CNN report here.