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Ex-Bush official: Australian diplomats give Trump-Russia probe a ‘new level of credibility’

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A former senior official in the George W. Bush administration said revelations about Australia’s role in the Trump-Russia probe opens a new set of problems for the White House.

Australian officials aren’t happy that U.S. officials had identified their British ambassador as playing a key role in launching the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, reported The Age.

But they confirmed a bombshell New York Times report that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told British ambassador Alexander Downer over drinks in May 2016 that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton that came from hacked emails.

After those emails were dumped online in July 2016, Australia’s ambassador to the U.S., Joe Hockey, personally contacted the FBI to report what Papadopoulos had revealed to the diplomat two months earlier in London.

The Age reported that Downer had conveyed the conversation to Australian officials via official cable, but apparently not immediately.

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“(Downer) gives this story of Trump campaign collusion with Russia a new level of credibility that will be problematic for the White House,” said Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is scheduled to visit the U.S. next month, but he’s “not at all” worried that new reporting on his nation’s role in launching the probe would damage his relationship with President Donald Trump.

“Trump has attacked sources like this in the past,” said Green, a Bush foreign policy adviser and senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, “and it would not be surprising if he did so this time — though I think the US-Australia alliance and intel relationship can easily weather this.”

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Another foreign policy expert said Downer and the Australian government appeared to have handled the highly sensitive matter “entirely appropriately.”

“Given the febrile political environment in Washington, D.C., particularly when it comes to anything relating to Russian election interference and the [Robert] Mueller investigation, it’s regrettable but not terribly surprising that details of Downer’s encounter with Papadopoulos have become public,” said Andrew Shearer, a senior national security and foreign affairs adviser to former Australian prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott who is now with CSIS.


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‘Trump will be glued to the screen with an IV drip and a catheter’ when Mueller testifies: GOP strategist

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President Donald Trump will be glued to his television during former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress, Republican strategist Rick Wilson predicted on Monday.

On Wednesday, Mueller is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee in the morning and then the House Intelligence Committee in the afternoon.

"This is also a moment where the preeminence of television in our political lives is going to come to the fore," Wilson said. "And Donald Trump knows this."

"That little nervous moment this morning, where 'I might watch a little' — no, Donald Trump will be glued to the screen with an IV drip and a catheter," Wilson predicted.

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Pence abruptly canceled trip because person he was meeting was about to be busted by the feds

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The White House abruptly canceled a planned trip to New Hampshire to prevent Vice President Mike Pence from being seen with somebody about to be busted for interstate drug trafficking of fentanyl, Politico reported Monday.

"Among the problems was a federal law enforcement probe involving individuals Pence would likely encounter, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the incident. If Pence stepped off the vice presidential aircraft, one of the people he would have seen on the ground was under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration for moving more than $100,000 of fentanyl from Massachusetts to New Hampshire," Politico reported.

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How Jeffrey Epstein was moving ‘a lot of dough’ in an investment fund run by an ex-girlfriend’s husband

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In a bizarre twist in the ongoing questions about where Jeffrey Epstein got his billions, Vanity Fair has details about a very close relationship he holds with the family of an ex-girlfriend.

Epstein once dated a former Miss Sweden for years, before she ultimately met her husband and had a family. Eva Andersson-Dubin, who is now a doctor, married billionaire founder of Highbridge Capital Management, Glenn Dubin. It's thought that's how Epstein was able to connect with Dubin's investments.

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