US President Donald Trump called Australian PM Scott Morrison and asked for his help with an investigation into the origins of the Mueller inquiry, Australian officials have confirmed.
Mr Morrison was asked to help find evidence to discredit the inquiry, according to US and Australian media.
Australia confirmed the call had taken place and that the PM agreed to help.
The revelation came as Mr Trump faced impeachment proceedings at home over a call with another foreign leader.
The president has been accused of pressuring the leader of Ukraine to investigate domestic political rival Joe Biden, in a phone call which was exposed by a whistleblower last week. The call spurred Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings and on Monday the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani was served with a subpoena.
At the White House end, the transcript of the call between Mr Morrison and Mr Trump was restricted to a small number of the president’s aides, reports said – contrary to normal protocol. The same restrictions were reportedly placed on the Ukraine call, raising concerns that White House staff were attempting to conceal records of the president’s conversations with certain foreign leaders.
The Mueller inquiry investigated whether Mr Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Its findings, released in April, did not establish that the Trump campaign criminally conspired with Russia to influence the election.
But the findings did not exonerate the president of collusion, and the Muller report outlined an extensive obstruction-of-justice case against the president.
The inquiry infuriated Mr Trump and he relentlessly criticised it as a “witch hunt”. In May he announced that the US Attorney-General William Barr would look into how the inquiry originated.