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Barr and Trump asked foreign leaders for help probe Russia inquiry's origins

Whistleblower singles out Giuliani and Barr

Washington — Attorney General William Barr has asked Mr. Trump to reach out to a number of foreign officials to request assistance in the Department of Justice's review of the origins of the Mueller probe, a department spokeswoman said Monday.

Barr asked Mr. Trump to call Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to alert him that the attorney general would be reaching out, a department official told CBS News. The New York Times first reported the two leaders had spoken.

John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, is heading up a review of the FBI and CIA's activities in 2016. The status of that review, which Barr ordered in May, is unclear.

"Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr's request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials," Kerri Kupec, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The department official declined to say which other countries were involved. The Washington Post said the other countries included the United Kingdom, and a source familiar with the matter said Barr traveled to Italy last week to discuss the review.

The Justice Department official said other countries have been helpful in regards to the Durham review and said no "pressing" has been required to obtain their cooperation.

Mr. Trump continues to be frustrated by the Russia probe, which posed arguably the greatest threat to his presidency until the House launched its impeachment inquiry last week.

The Times reported the White House restricted access to a transcript of Mr. Trump's call with the Australian prime minister, akin to what was done with records of his call with Ukraine's president.

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