Poor old Alexander Downer. It wasn’t for nothing that his political nickname was “Billy Bunter”: not just because of his rotund frame, curls and spectacles. Like the fictional schoolboy, Downer is a bumbler with a Walter Mitty complex. He’s certainly the least likely person to be a key player in some vast conspiracy against the most powerful man on earth.

So, what’s going on with Downer, Trump and the Democrats’ silly impeachment shenanigans?

The gist is that ol’ Billy Bunter once had drinkies with an over-eager, low-level Trump campaigner, and eventually passed on some gossip about an alleged Russian dirt file. Now, Trump is asking Downer’s Australian government bosses to “please explain”.

Trump is now on the rampage, ­determined to prove the FBI investigation was corrupt. He blames the “Deep State” which has tried to sabotage him from Day One, and Barr has set in train a number of investigations […] Somehow Downer ended up in the middle of it. The final report of the Mueller probe named his meeting with Papadopoulos as the catalyst […] Papadopoulos, who spent two weeks in jail for lying to the FBI, ­described Downer on Twitter yesterday as “a wannabe spy and Clinton ­errand boy”.


But Papadopoulos appears to be an even more confabulating bumbler than Downer. While over-excited Democrats and the Trump-deranged media describe Papadopoulos as a key Trump aide, the reality is that he was just another tiny cog in the campaign machine, with tickets on himself as a mover and shaker.

Neither Morrison, nor Donald Trump, nor Alexander Downer seems to have done anything wrong here, although it is a wacky tale of crossed lines, dark suspicions, pregnant innuendo, misunderstood communications […] Surely the screwiest outcome of all is that a few right-wing conspiracy nuts in the US, and some of their fellow travellers in Australia, have concluded Alexander Downer is part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to hurt Trump.

This was Alexander Downer’s moment of glory. Need I say more?

Papadopoulos and Downer have very different recollections of their gin-and-tonics-fuelled tete-a-tete, so what actually happened? It seems most likely that Papadopoulos, a small fish who fancied himself as far bigger, shot his mouth off unwisely to someone he also thought was a far bigger fish than he really is. Downer, as was actually proper in his role of High Commissioner, eventually passed on what probably seemed (at the time) like minor gossip.

Whether Alexander Downer heard the story about “Russian dirt” second-hand or third-hand, he eventually acted upon it, the key word here being eventually. McCarthy calculates that Downer’s visit to the American embassy occurred in July 2016—two months after his drink with Papadopoulos. If Downer thought his “intelligence” so crucial to the fate of America and the Free World, why the long interval?

What Downer couldn’t have known, of course, is that the dumpster-fire known as “Russiagate” was about to burst into flame. Suddenly, everyone was running around like headless chooks and wild speculation and innuendo were rampant. The Democrats and their media enablers were only too eager to seize on anything, no matter how ridiculously implausible. Papadopoulos’ big mouth landed him in jail for two weeks. Naturally, he wants to blame Downer.

For his part, Downer merely passed on a bit of idle goss. Naturally, he doesn’t want to be fingered as the new Deep Throat.

On the one hand, McCarthy agrees that the ham-fisted Alexander Downer was not a part of a high-powered intelligence sting against Donald Trump; on the other, Downer’s inaccurate account of his conversation with George Papadopoulos was exploited by anti-Trump schemers in the Obama administration…


As Billy Bunter would say, “I’m s-sincerely sorry”.


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