Trump government reportedly asked Italy for help against Russiagate
US Attorney General William Barr reportedly asked Italy to help clarify the source of the investigation into Russia’s alleged aid to President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
According to the Washington Post and The New York Times, Barr reportedly met with senior Italian state officials last Friday and asked for help in the investigation conducted by John Durham, the Connecticut attorney summoned to investigate whether The FBI acted within the law by collecting information about the president’s campaign in 2016.
The visit would not have been Barr’s first visit to Italy to meet intelligence officials. According to the Washington Post, similar requests were made to other countries. Trump hopes the Justice Department investigation will discredit US intelligence services’ analysis of Russian interference in the elections.
Among these countries would be Australia, whose Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, would have been pressured by Trump to assist Barr in gathering information. The FBI investigation into Russian interference in the election began after Australian diplomats reported that Moscow had offered the Trump campaign harmful information to Hillary Clinton.
These officials shared the information with the US Federal Police following a meeting with George Papadopoulos, a former Republican campaigner in May 2016. At the time, Papadopoulos told Australians that Russia had compromising data about Hillary. He claims to have been informed by Maltese scholar Joseph Mifsud, an alleged Russian spy who was last seen in 2017, as a “visiting professor” in Rome. After that, Mifsud disappeared, according to the New York Times.
Barr’s trip to Italy preceded an official visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who landed in Rome on Tuesday and will meet with President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Chancellor Luigi Di Maio.
Pompeo will have to testify at the US Congress for taking part in the controversial phone call in which Trump called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help investigate a case involving Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, a Democratic pre-candidate for the White House.
The call prompted an impeachment case against Trump in the House of Representatives.