A former Donald Trump aide allegedly enjoyed a boozy night out with Australia’s top UK diplomat – before making a startling admission which sparked the Russia inquiry, a shock new report has claimed.
The FBI famously launched a secret probe into possible connections between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign in July 2016.
And now the New York Times has claimed it all began “during a night of heavy drinking” in London in May 2016.
According to the shock report, former adviser George Papadopoulos told Australian high commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer that Russia had damaging information on Hillary Clinton – in the form of “thousands of emails”.
It’s claimed Downer passed on the information to the Australian Government, who in turn informed the FBI when copies of Clinton’s emails began appearing online weeks later.
The newspaper added: “The bureau opened an investigation that became one of its most closely guarded secrets”.
“Senior agents did not discuss it at the daily morning briefing, a classified setting where officials normally speak freely about highly sensitive operations.”
The newspaper cites four anonymous American and Australian foreign officials “with direct knowledge of the Australian’s role” as sources.
According to reports, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the nature of his communications with the Russians, and has been cooperating ever since.
The Times report claims Papadopoulos repeatedly tried to organise a meeting between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, while notifying senior campaign officials of his efforts.
Starts at 60 has contacted Trump’s organisation for comment.