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Australia rejects Sen. Graham’s description of diplomat’s role

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Australia backed against Senator Lindsey Graham's description of the role of an Australian diplomat in the FBI's investigation intoRussian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

"In your letter, you mentioned the role of an Australian diplomat. We reject your characterization of his role," Australian Ambassador to Washington Joe Hockey wrote in a letter to Graham on Wednesday. He released the letter Thursday morning on Twitter.

"As you requested, we will work closely with the attorney general to resolve any misunderstandings on this matter," he continued.

Graham, R-S.C., On Wednesday requested "continued cooperation" from Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom with Investigation of Attorney General William Barr in the origins of the spacecraft in Russia.

Graham in his letter highlighted the acceptance by US intelligence communities of an Australian "contact-oriented" diplomat with President Donald Trump's foreign policy campaign consultant in 2016, George Papadopoulosand relay his information about his campaign to the FBI.

In special attorney Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the elections, he noted that PapadopoulosI had gone to a London bar for a drink with an Australian diplomat in May 2016.

Meanwhile, Papadopoulos told diplomat Alexander Downer that he had heard that Russia had thousands of emails that would embarrass Democratic candidate to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The Australian government then reported Papadopoulos's remarks to the FBI – triggering a nearly two-year investigation that spread around the world and angered the Trump administration.

In his response to Graham, Hockey also reiterated Australia's cooperation with Barr's investigation.

At the beginning of the week, NBC News confirmed that Trump sought help from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to investigate the origins of the former special investigation Robert Mueller in Russia.

Morrison described his September phone call with Trump on Wednesday as an "uneventful conversation."

The prime minister said Australia is unlikely to provide the US with internal government communications with Downer.

Trump's interactions with foreign leaders are under increasing scrutiny now that the House of Representatives has launched a impeachment inquiry to the president.

The investigation focuses on allegations that during a call in July Trump pushed the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

ANwhistleblower reported last week He says White House officials were so concerned about what the president said during the conversation that he intervened to "block" the transcript of the conversation.

The whistleblower, whose name and gender was not disclosed, filed the formal complaint that he believed Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 elections.

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