The investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia was reportedly sparked by a conversation that took place over a drink in a London bar.
George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, was said to have disclosed to a senior Australian diplomat in the bar that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
The meeting between Mr Papadopoulos and Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK, was said to have taken place at the Kensington Wine Rooms, near Kensington Palace, in May 2016, the New York Times reported.
After emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee began being made public a few months later the Australians passed the information about the meeting to their US counterparts.
According to the New York Times the role of the Australians was confirmed by four current and former US and foreign officials.
Mr Papadopoulos was said to have been given the information about the emails by a friend with Russian contacts.
He was told there were “thousands of emails” that may embarrass Mrs Clinton and her campaign.
The information from the Australians that a member of the Trump campaign may have had the information was a driving factor in the FBI opening its investigation in July 2016, the New York Times reported.
The agency began looking at whether Russia tried to disrupt the election, and if any associates of Mr Trump colluded.
Mr Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is a cooperating witness.
He admitted lying in January about communicating with people he believed had ties to the Russian government.
Court documents show he met in April 2016 with an academic in London who he says told him about Russia’s cache of Clinton emails.
The New York Times said he shared this information with the Australian diplomat.
White House advisers have dismissed Mr Papadopoulos as a “coffee boy” and fringe figure in the campaign.
Mr Trump’s campaign has always denied colluding with Russian efforts to sway the election outcome.
In a statement Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer, said: “Out of respect for the special counsel and his process we are not commenting on matters such as this.”
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/30/fbis-donald-trump-russia-probe-sparked-drink-london-wine-bar/