WHAT A DOWNER – I still can’t quite comprehend how the whole “Russia hacked the election” thing started as a drunken chat between a Trump campaign flunkie repeating a hearsay of a hearsay to Australia’s former (right-wing) foreign minister and the then ambassador to Great Britain, Alexander Downer (who, in a completely unrelated but unashamedly self-referential aside, was a regular reader of the original Chrenkoff blog, put onto it by the great Mark Steyn):

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.

The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

Alexander is soon to be on the way back to Australia, being replaced by the former Attorney-General, George Brandis. There is no doubt more to this increasingly bizarre story and I, for one, am looking forward for further entertaining disclosure.
And if, as it seems so far from all the investigations, inquiries, and inquiries of investigations, the whole Russia story is a big pile of bull, apologies from Australia for our unwitting part in creating the narrative.

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