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Barr Seeking Foreign Help



U.S. Attorney General William Barr

President spoke to Australian prime minister about helping the attorney general.

Attorney General William Barr asked Trump to introduce him to a number of foreign officials who he believes may have information relevant to the Justice Department’s review of the origins of the Russia investigation and has held overseas meetings with some of them, a department official claimed.

The revelation underscored Mr Barr’s personal involvement in a review that the president hopes will discredit the underpinnings of the nearly two-year probe into his campaign’s possible ties to Moscow’s election interference in 2016.

Mr Trump, for example, recently called Australia’s prime minister at Mr Barr’s request, two government officials said, to ask him to help with the inquiry. That call came after one in which Mr Trump pressed his Ukranian counterpart, VolodymyrZelensky to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Mr Barr on an investigation of Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec did not name the countries in her statement. But an Australian government spokesperson was quoted as saying Trump had spoken to Prime Minister Scott Morrison by phone, and the Washington Post reported that Barr had made overtures to British intelligence officials and met with Italian officials to seek their help in the inquiry.

The department official wouldn’t say from which other countries Mr Barr is seeking information, but the official said both he and Mr Durham were in Italy last week speaking to government officials in connection with the review.

“At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr Durham to appropriate officials,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.

The Justice Department official described Mr Barr’s request that Mr Trump speak to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as standard, saying “it is a typical protocol for one leader to contact another leader.”

In a May 28 letter to Mr Barr, the Australian ambassador to the U.S. offered to help and support an examination of the Russian inquiry, saying “we stand ready to provide you with all relevant information to support your inquiries.”

Mr Trump has said he believes Mr Durham’s review will show crimes were committed by his political opponents. Democrats have cited that as an example of Mr Barr using the Justice Department to target the president’s political rivals.

In May, the president gave Mr Barr broad power to declassify information about the origins of the Russia probe, saying, “I hope he looks at the UK, and I hope he looks at Australia, and I hope he looks at Ukraine.”

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