Aussies Hit Back At Lindsey Graham’s Claim About Diplomat’s Contact With Trump Aide
Australia’s ambassador to the U.S. disputed Sen. Lindsey Graham’s characterization of the role that a former Australian diplomat played in the series of events that led to the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign.
Joe Hockey, the ambassador, posted a letter to Twitter on Thursday responding to Graham’s request that the leaders of Australia, Italy and the U.K. assist Attorney General William Barr in an investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump, sent a letter Wednesday to the foreign leaders asking them to assist Barr’s inquiry.
In the section referring to Australia, Graham referred to now-retired Australian diplomat Alexander Downer’s contacts in May 2016 with George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser. (RELATED: Australian Prime Minister Offered AG Barr Help Investigating Origins Of Trump-Russia Probe)
Graham referred to Downer as an “Australian diplomat who was also directed to contact Papadopoulos and relay information obtained from Papadopoulos regarding the campaign to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
But Hockey disputed Graham’s description.
“In your letter you made mention of the role of an Australian diplomat. We reject your characterisation of his role,” Hockey wrote.
“As you have requested, we will work closely with the Attorney General to resolve any misunderstandings in this matter.”
“I can assure you that the Australian government is cooperating with Attorney General William Barr’s inquiry,” he added.
Hockey was likely disputing Graham’s claim that Downer, who served as Australia’s high commissioner to the U.K., was directed to make contact with Papadopoulos.