Did Donald Trump persuade Scott Morrison to help investigate the Russia investigation?

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Since it was first reported a week ago that President Donald Trump had urged his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate the family of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden , there has been speculation about what new revelations might follow. After a telephone conversation between the two men on July 25, White House aides kept a record of the call in a computer system normally reserved for national security secrets. What other conversations between Mr. Trump and world leaders, thought ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​spectators, could be buried?

Maybe they have some idea now. First, it was reported that Mr. Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, and Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, were stored in the system. On September 30 the New York Times report that the White House had also blocked access to the transcript of a phone call in which Mr Trump asked Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, to help William Barr, the attorney general, investigate made to investigators of his campaign ties to Russia during the last presidential election campaign. On 1 October Australia confirmed that such a conversation had taken place. Mr Trump may have had in mind an unsubstantiated theory that George Papadopoulos, the former campaign backer who triggered the Russia investigation by talking to an Australian diplomat at a London bar, was a target for domestic agencies set up The overture to Australia appears to be part of a broader personal effort by Mr. Barr to enlist foreign help in investigating America’s own intelligence agencies.

The sight of a president trying to discredit domestic intelligence agencies is unlikely. But it may not be on the same level as the Ukrainian affair. A week before his talks with Mr Zelensky, Mr Trump had frozen $400m in military aid to Ukraine, suggesting he had changed foreign policy for his own political gain. The latest revelations, however, do not bode well for the credibility of Mr Barr, who Democrats already consider more of a presidential consigliere than an impartial official due to his handling of the partial study of Russia. His department’s decision not to pursue the allegations outlined in the whistleblower complaint sparked the controversy, even after the intelligence community’s inspector general ruled that the complaint is credible and urgent, is also under investigation.

At the same time, Mr. Trump still enjoys the support of most Republicans in Congress, even though public opinion polls suggest a significant increase in the proportion of Americans who believe he should To dismiss Mr. Trump. A recent poll by Reuters found an eight percentage point increase in the share of Americans supporting impeachment in one week – from 37% to 45%. That support includes 74% of Democrats, 37% of independents and 13% of Republicans.

As with the Russia investigation, there appears to be enough wrong at this point to warrant further investigation — but not enough to threaten congressional Republican support. That indicates that the long view of impeachment will depend on Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign. Debate on the issue of foreign interference will continue in 2016, even as concerns about interference in the next election rise. All this suggests an election that is even more disturbing and worse than the last one.

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