President Trump pushed the Australian prime minister throughout a current telephone call to assist Attorney General William P. Barr to gather data for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, based on two American officials with information of the call.
The White House restricted access to a transcript of the call which the president made at Mr. Barr’s request to a small group of aides, one of the officials stated. The restriction was uncommon and similar to the dealing with of a July call with the Ukrainian president that’s at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
Similar to that call, Mr. Trump’s discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia reveals the president utilizing high-level diplomacy to advance his political interests.
The discussion with Mr. Morrison reveals the extent to which Mr. Trump views the attorney general as an essential partner: The president is using federal law enforcement powers to assist his political prospects, settle scores along with his perceived “deep state” enemies and show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt, partisan origins.
The Justice Department inquiry and a parallel however unconnected effort by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani represent a type of two-front war. Mr. Trump has mentioned that Mr. Barr can assist him in approving his 2016 electoral victory, and Mr. Giuliani has been attempting to uncover corrupting information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the prospect of the 2020 race.
As a part of his efforts, Mr. Barr in recent months has requested the president to facilitate discussions with foreign officials and has made at least one trip to Italy to secure cooperation, based on a department official. The inquiry is analyzing American intelligence and law enforcement activity around the Trump campaign and whether it was legal.