Conflicting reports of AG Barr soliciting British help in Russia meddling probe surface

Attorney General William Barr reportedly met with British Home Secretary Priti Patel over the summer and discussed the investigation of the Russia probe.

Barr, who is overseeing the investigation of the origins of the Russia inquiry by US Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham, met with Patel just days after she stepped into her new role in order to seek Britain’s help in the probe, according to the Daily Telegraph.

(Image: justice.gov)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the U.K.’s House of Commons on Wednesday that neither the British prime minister nor any other government member would collaborate with President Trump and his administration to discredit intelligence agencies looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign.

But reports indicate that Barr and Patel, who met this week at a ceremony at the British Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. to sign a cross-border data agreement, met and spoke in London on July 29 as the two attended a conference for the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance.

The London meeting, in which Barr allegedly discussed the Russia inquiry probe, followed just days after Trump reportedly spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about lending assistance in the probe.

Johnson’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was also reportedly at the Five Eyes conference and met with Barr. But Cox contends that he would have declined to have a conversation with Barr if the subject had even been brought up, according to the Telegraph.

“Investigations in the US are a matter for the US authorities. We won’t comment on the ongoing investigations,” a spokesman for the UK Home Office said.

Trump had reached out to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as well in order to solicit help in the investigation of Special Counsel’s Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

‘The Australian government has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation,’ an Australian government spokesman told Australian Associated Press on Tuesday.

“There wasn’t a push,” a Justice Department official clarified after criticism of the president. “This was an ask.”

The conversation between Trump and Morrison was just the president “asking his law enforcement to work with ours,” the official told NBC News.

Earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham reached out to the prime ministers of the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia to urge their cooperation in Barr’s investigation. This after confirmation from the White House and Justice Department that Barr had asked the president to reach out to the foreign leaders for their assistance.

“As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign,” Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said this week, according to USA Today.

“Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” she added.

The reports of seeking the help of other countries in the probe come amid the ongoing controversy over Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he mentioned Barr several times.  The contents of the call have prompted a House impeachment inquiry led by Democrats.

Frieda Powers

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