Russian Federation probe began with FBI's secretive 'Crossfire Hurricane' investigation

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and then Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer in London in April

Alexander Downer, who was previously Australia's longest-serving foreign minister, had a boozy discussion with a key Donald Trump confidante, George Papadopoulos, in May 2016.

The New York Times reported FBI agents started a secret investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign called "Crossfire Hurricane" just 100 days before Election Day.

He said he was not anxious that the revelation may damage his relationship with Trump because Australia's relationship with the USA was "in excellent shape".

That contrasts starkly to FBI director James Comey's treatment of the Clinton campaign: He sent a letter to Congress about the reopening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server 11 days before the election, and subsequently held a press conference about his decision not to recommend charges.

In January the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, did not deny the first New York Times report that information from Downer had helped to spark the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

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Classic rock fans might've raised an eyebrow or two while readingThe New York Times latest dig into the investigation of President Trump's alleged ties with Russian Federation.

'After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an Federal Bureau of Investigation interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos'. "Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation".

The term is a reference to a lyric in the 1968 Rolling Stones song "Jumpin' Jack Flash", which begins: "I was born in a crossfire hurricane/And I howled at the morning driving rain".

"Crossfire Hurricane" is the code name the FBI assigned to their investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

To date, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted four of Trump's campaign advisers - George Papadopolous, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn - as well as a California man named Richard Pinedo on charges of false statements, conspiring against the US, identity fraud and money laundering. According to the story, what was then known as "Crossfire Hurricane" amongst the handful of agents involved, began months before election day.

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