Flat White

Alexander Downer and Russiagate: a bigger picture?

18 April 2020

11:30 AM

18 April 2020

11:30 AM

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — this time in different words: Alexander Downer, the Fredo of the Downer family, is the key who opened that particular Pandora’s Box known as Russian interference on behalf of Trump in the 2016 Presidential election.

If Donald Trump wants to hold anyone accountable, he should come out swinging at Downer. Perhaps Dana White could set up an MMA Octagon event: “In the blue corner, orange bad man and President of the United States of America, Donald J Trump. In the red corner, dressed in fishnet stockings and a tutu, Australian politician and diplomat, Alexander Downer!”

You might well ask why this is any longer important, given that Special Counsel Robert Mueller found there was no collusion and the Inspector General, Michael Horowitz — just before he was sacked — thought the FBI and the Democrats might have been out to, well, just to get the President.

Well, like a lot of things in the sewer of politics, the Downer/Papadopoulos meeting has floated to the surface again, this time with the publication of Malcolm Turnbull’s corona-busting sensation, A Bigger Picture. 

As reported here, it seems that — according to Turnbull — despite being the Australian High Commissioner to Britain, Downer did not have the Australian government’s authority to contact George Papadopoulos and question him about the Trump campaign’s Russian connections or to raise his concerns with the US Embassy in London. According to Turnbull:

[Downer] had no authority from Canberra to do this, and the first we heard of it in Australia was when the FBI turned up in London and wanted to interview Downer. We were very reluctant to get dragged into the middle of the US presidential election, but agreed to Downer being interviewed on the basis it was kept confidential and any information he provided was not circulated beyond the FBI.

So, there you have it; Malcolm didn’t know about it until the Feds came knocking — and we know whose side they were on. But the question, the real issue is why Downer got involved? That will only come out if there is an enquiry where we put various actors under oath and cross-examine them. Will that happen? Probably not. But there is an old saying: follow the money.

Miranda Devine said in October 2016 that Australia had shovelled at least $88 million into the Clinton Foundation and associated entities from 2006-2014. She also mentions the $300 million that Julia Gillard pumped into the ‘Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education’ of which Julia became chairman in 2014. Then, the Tony Abbott government added another $140 million in 2014.

So, there is some of the money, but what is this close connection all about? Why was Australian taxpayers’ money to the tune of almost half a billion dollars being used to grease the wheels on Clinton’s Washington Express?

And that, it could be argued, is the real reason behind this Commonwealth extravagance. In American parlance, it’s called pay-to-play. Everyone thought that Hillary would be the next President. While she was Secretary of State, you had access if you contributed to her husband’s Foundation so he had some money for his pet projects. But what would happen when Obama left office?

The truth is, that currying favour with the Clintons with a few bits of silver, OK, half a billion bits, was absolutely necessary if you wanted immediate access, first to Hillary when she was Secretary of State and then to President Hillary when she was elected as the first female President. That is what the money was for — pay to play. And it is exempted from the Crimes Act.

Do we know what Downer expected from for his well-intentioned interference on behalf of them and the FBI? Well no. But, we all have some secret desires; and I’m sure appreciation in New York would run deep had he delivered the knock-out punch the Clintons wanted.

But that might still be coming – if he ever finds himself in the company of the President.

Dr David Long is a retired solicitor and economist.

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