As an investigation heats up regarding Donald Trump’s reported attempts to use his office for personal gain, the president is facing yet another scandal that alleges he pushed the Australian prime minister to help discredit the Mueller investigation.
According to The New York Times, Trump pressured Scott Morrison to work with Attorney General William Barr to gather information that could be used to paint the Mueller report as unreliable.
Two U.S. officials with knowledge of the call said that Trump had a conversation with the Australian prime minister that echoed July’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the latter call, the president is accused of using his office to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate one of his Democratic opponents in the 2020 presidential election.
In the Australian call, the president once again used his power to improve his personal position, according to the allegations. Reportedly, Trump hoped to make the Mueller investigation appear as though it had corrupt and partisan origins using assistance from Australia.
“President Trump initiated the discussion in recent weeks with Mr. Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia’s help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation,” the Times reported.
The move didn’t appear to have any benefit for the U.S. aside from helping Trump and his team.
“In making the request, Mr. Trump was in effect asking the Australian government to investigate itself,” the Times reported. “The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election began after Australian officials told the bureau that the Russian government had made overtures to the Trump campaign about releasing political damaging information about Hillary Clinton.”
Australia’s top official in Britain met with George Papadopoulos in London in May 2016. Papadopoulos, who worked on the Trump campaign, told the Australian official that Russia had such “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
The White House declined to comment on the situation, and a spokesperson for the Australian prime minister didn’t respond to the Times‘ request for comment.
The news comes as the House ramps up its investigation into Trump’s call with Ukraine with an official impeachment inquiry. Trump is accused of working with Ukrainian leaders in order to discredit former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, presumably to harm the former’s presidential bid.
While the House’s Articles of Impeachment have a possibility of going through the chamber, some expect that impeachment will be halted in the Senate. However, as The Inquisitr previously reported, Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will have “no choice” but to proceed with an impeachment trial.