Downer interviewed over Russiagate
FORMER Australian foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer has reportedly told a US investigator he did not try to bring down Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election.
Mr Downer helped to start the FBI investigation into whether Mr Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election.
He passed on a tip from Mr Trump's adviser George Papadopoulos, whom he met in a London wine bar three years ago.
Mr Papadopoulos has previously claimed Mr Downer taped him and was probably an FBI spy.
US Attorney John Durham, tasked with investigating the origins of the probe into Russian influence in the election, is understood to have interviewed Mr Downer in London last month and reviewed a confidential Australian diplomatic cable to clarify Australia's role, The Australian reports.
Mr Durham is also believed to have interviewed Australian diplomat Erika Thompson, who arranged and attended the Downer-Papadopoulos meeting.
He is understood to have asked Mr Downer whether he knew Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic who told Mr Papadopoulos the Russian government had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with Sky News on Sunday, Mr Downer dodged questions about his role in spurring the Russian collusion investigation.
Mr Downer said he would not talk about the meeting in London's Kensington Wine Rooms in 2016 which set off the chain reaction resulting in the investigation.
"There is now in the United States yet another inquiry into this and (Australian Prime Minister) Scott Morrison has said Australia will fully co-operate with that inquiry so that's what the government is doing and so the plan is to say nothing during the course of that inquiry," he said.
"The answer is always going to be the same no matter what question."
Mr Downer went on to say that everything he did was for "team Australia".
The interview prompted Papadopoulos to take a swipe at Mr Downer.
In a post on Twitter, Papadopoulos called Mr Downer "the Clinton errand boy".
Alexander Downer, the Clinton errand boy whose bizarre behavior at my meeting with him sparked the Durham probe, was on Australian tv today ranting like a lunatic against Trump and me. The probe is closing in on him. He’s feeling the heat.— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) November 10, 2019
For more on this story see The Australian