US President Trump pushed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help gather information to discredit the investigation into collusion with Russia, according to two American officials. The New York Times reports that officials claim to have knowledge of a call in which Trump asked Morrison for help with a Justice Department inquiry into the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election, which began after Australian officials alerted the FBI. One of the officials said that in an unusual move, the White House restricted access to the call’s transcript to a small group of the president’s aides.
Trump impeachment: Trump has suggested the lawmaker leading the impeachment inquiry against him should be arrested for “treason”. On Monday Trump said that Democratic Representative Adam Schiff had told lies “in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber” in relation to Trump’s phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the son of former Vice-President Joe Biden. The whistleblower who first revealed the issue has agreed to testify but fears for his safety. Two Ukrainians named in the report that triggered the impeachment inquiry said that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudi Giuliani, actively pushed for an investigation into dealings by his political rivals in the Ukraine. Sergeii Leschenko, an advisor to Zelensky, told CNN that Giuliani started applying pressure to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden shortly after Zelensky’s election in April 2019.
Media freedom compromised: Attorney-General Christian Porter’s solution to protect journalists from prosecution will further compromise freedom of the press, warns the Law Council of Australia. In the wake of police raids on the ABC and the home of a News Corp journalist, Porter issued a direction under the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Act that prosecution of a journalist in relation to national security must have his approval “as a separate and additional safeguard”. Law Council of Australia President Arthur Moses SC told the ABC the direction "puts the Attorney-General, who after all is a politician, in the position of authorising prosecutions of journalists in situations where they may have written stories critical of his Government. It creates an apprehension on the part of journalists that they will need to curry favour with the Government.”
Australian dependence on China: China’s ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, has urged a reduction in “prejudices and suspicions” in an interview with The Australian. Cheng said Australia should remember it depends on China for its economic success. “You have been talking about your continuous economic growth, for the past 28 years,” he said. “It seems sometimes, some people forget what are the reasons behind that.” The interview comes as The Australian Financial Review reports ($) Australia's share in the value of exports to China reached a record 38 per cent, or $117 billion. China will today celebrate the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule, which will see one of its biggest military parades in Beijing and a pageant involving 100,000 performers, as well as attempts by Hong Kong authorities to ban protests for the day, and China doubling its troop numbers in the territory.
Late monsoon: More than 100 people have died in India in unusually late monsoon rains, officials said on Monday. The heavy rain submerged streets, houses, and even hospital wards, with photos showing patients lying on hospital beds in dirty rainwater. The annual monsoon usually lasts from June to September, with this September on track to be the wettest in 102 years, according to the Times of India.