Australian opposition leader demands transcript of phone call after Trump asked country's prime minister to help discredit Mueller probe
President Donald Trump is widely unpopular not only in heavily Democratic areas of the United States, but also, in many countries that have been long-time U.S. allies — including Australia, where opposition leaders are demanding the release of a transcript of Trump’s phone conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese, according to France 24, is demanding to know what information Morrison shared with Trump during their conversation. Albanese and others in Australia’s Labor Party fear that the country’s federal government might be used to help attack Trump’s political rivals in the U.S., and Morrison’s office acknowledged on Tuesday that the Australian prime minister offered to “assist and cooperate” with an investigation Trump hopes will discredit assertions that the Russian government helped his 2016 campaign.
France 24 quotes Albanese as saying, “The prime minister needs to explain exactly what went on here. He needs to release any transcript and information which is out there…. The prime minister needs to make a full statement.”
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC Radio Canberra, would not say what “material and information,” if any, was exchanged during Morrison’s phone conversation with Trump and noted, “It’s not my practice to comment on the use of intelligence to secure material.” But Payne did stress during the interview that any cooperation between Trump and the Australian government would go only “as far as is appropriate.”
Morrison became the leader of Australia’s Liberal Party in August 2018, and Albanese became the leader of Australia’s Labor Party earlier this year.
The Trump Administration’s relationship with Australia got off to a rocky start in February 2017, when Trump angrily hung up on former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (who led the Liberal Party in 2008/2009 and again from 2015-2018) during a phone conversation.