FBI Russia probe helped by Australian diplomat tip-off: NYT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos advised an Australian diplomat in Could 2016 that Russia had political filth on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the New York Moments documented on Saturday.

The dialogue between Papadopoulos and the diplomat, Alexander Downer, in London was a driving issue powering the FBI’s final decision to open up a counter-intelligence investigation of Moscow’s contacts with the Trump marketing campaign, the Periods noted.

Two months after the meeting, Australian officers handed the data that arrived from Papadopoulos to their American counterparts when leaked Democratic e-mails commenced showing up on the web, according to the newspaper, which cited four present-day and previous U.S. and international officials.

Other than the facts from the Australians, the probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other welcoming governments, such as the British and Dutch, the Occasions mentioned.

Papadopoulos, a Chicago-primarily based worldwide electrical power attorney, pleaded responsible on Oct. 30 to lying to FBI brokers about contacts with folks who claimed to have ties to prime Russian officers. It was the 1st prison cost alleging hyperlinks among the Trump campaign and Russia.

The White Dwelling has played down the former aide’s marketing campaign position, expressing it was “extremely limited” and that any actions he took would have been on his own. The New York Times, on the other hand, reported that Papadopoulos served established up a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and edited the define of Trump’s very first major foreign policy speech in April 2016.

The federal investigation, which is now staying led by Specific Counsel Robert Mueller, has hung around Trump’s White Property since he took business almost a yr ago. Some Trump allies have just lately accused Mueller’s group of getting biased versus the Republican president.

Legal professionals for Papadopoulos did not immediately reply to requests by Reuters for comment. Mueller’s office declined to remark.

Trump’s White House attorney, Ty Cobb, declined to comment on the New York Periods report. “Out of respect for the specific counsel and his course of action, we are not commenting on matters these types of as this,” he claimed in a statement.

Mueller has charged four Trump associates, like Papadopoulos, in his investigation. Russia has denied interfering in the U.S. election and Trump has stated there was no collusion between his marketing campaign and Moscow.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington and Roberta Rampton in West Palm Beach, Fla. Editing by Tim Ahmann and Matthew Lewis

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