It was former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer whose tip in 2016 prompted the Russian probe under Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And Downer also arranged one of the largest foreign donations to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable efforts.
Downer was originally the one who provided the account of a conversation with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a London bar in 2016 that became the official reason the FBI opened the Russia counterintelligence probe.
The Australian Foreign Minister secured $25 million in aid from his country to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS. It is detailed in a decade-old government memo archived on the Australian foreign ministry’s website.
Here is the cover letter you can view the document here. 373050242-Clinton-Downer-Feb-2006-Mou
Downer and former President Clinton both signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February of 2006 that planned for the grant money to be spread out over a four-year project to provide screening and drug treatment to AIDS patients in Asia.
That project garnered praise for helping thousands of HIV-infected patients in Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, China and Indonesia. But it also received criticism from auditors about “management weaknesses” and inadequate budget oversight, according to the memos.
Downer, who is now Australia’s ambassador to London, gave a detailed account of a conversation with Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, at a London bar in 2016. That encounter became the official reason the FBI started the Russia counterintelligence probe.
But lawmakers are now revealing the FBI did not tell Congress about Downer’s previous connection to the Clinton Foundation. The GOP says they are concerned that almost all of the early evidence the FBI used to justify the election year investigation of Trump came from sources close to the Clintons, including the Steele dossier.
“The Clintons’ tentacles go everywhere. So, that’s why it’s important,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) chairman of a House Oversight an Government Reform subcommittee. “We continue to get new information every week it seems that sort of underscores the fact that the FBI hasn’t been square with us.”
Spokesman for the FBI and Russia special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment.
Democrats accuse the GOP of overreaching, and maintain that Downer’s role in trying to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS shouldn’t be used to question his assistance to the FBI.
Nick Merrill, a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, said any effort to connect the 2006 grant with the current Russia investigation was “laughable.” And Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, said the focus should be on the foundation’s success helping tens of thousands of AIDS patients.
What do you think about this most recent connection between the Russian Probe by the FBI and the Clintons? You can see the documents in question at the site below.
Credit: The Hill