The New York Times on Monday reported that Trump had asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for help investigating the origins of what became Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to aid Trump in the 2016 national elections.
A spokesperson for Morrison on Tuesday said the prime minister had agreed to help, drawing criticism from Australia’s opposition Labour party. But Payne said cooperating with Australia’s closest ally was prudent.
“We are working in Australia’s interests and we are working with our closest and most important ally, We should assist them as we can, we should ensure that assistance is appropriate and that’s what we are doing,” Payne said.
Trump is under mounting pressure amid an impeachment investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into reports that he sought to influence foreign governments to go after his political adversaries.
The Democratic-led House began the inquiry last week after a whistleblower raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly 400 million dollars in proposed aid for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in the 2020 election.