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RUSH: There is an update in the George Papadopoulos-Stefan Halper story, which involves the Australian ambassador. I’m not gonna go through the whole thing again. I’m gonna assume that you remember the nuts and bullets of this as I have explained it numerous times. What we thought we knew was that Joseph Mifsud, in April of 2016 — who is a shadowy professor from the island of Malta, who it is thought might be a very deep-cover Russian spy.

Others think that, no, he’s very close to the West, and if he’s an asset for anybody, it would be the United States and U.K. But it’s unknown. Joseph Mifsud was the first known person to have implanted information with George Papadopoulos, and that information was that the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. We skip forward a couple of months. Stefan Halper offers Papadopoulos a job — teach a seminar, write a paper, travel to U.K., deliver the paper, deliver the lecture — $3,000 plus travel expenses.

Papadopoulos shows up, and in one of the meetings with Stefan Halper, the informant, he says to Papadopoulos, “By the way, George, you remember that story saying the Russians have all the Hillary emails?” The third step of this story is that Halper sets up a meeting between Papadopoulos and the Australian ambassador, who’s a major donor to the Clinton Foundation — $25 million — named Alexander Downer, and they go have drinks, adult beverages at a U.K. bar, at which Papadopoulos consumes too much.

Lips get loose, and Papadopoulos does what he has basically been told to pep starts bragging. He’s a 24-year-old young man on the periphery of the campaign, wants to come off like a big guy, and tells Alexander Downer, “Yeah. You know what? We know that the Russians have thousands of Hillary emails.” Downer plays his part, acts shocked and informs the FBI, DOJ. And then, voila, the FBI, DOJ, claim to open the investigation not on the dossier, but rather Papadopoulos as a Trump campaign member admitting that they know that the Russians have Hillary emails.

Well, Papadopoulos didn’t know anything. All of this was set up.

The FBI is using Papadopoulos and Carter Page as their new excuse to investigate. Because out of the blue this Papadopoulos guy is talking about Hillary emails being held by Russia. Even though the FBI set all this up, they are still relying on ignorance abounding all over the place. Well, there’s something new. Kimberley Strassel’s column today, “The Curious Case of Mr. Downer,” and I saw this yesterday, but credit to Kimberley here.

The correction is, Papadopoulos says he never told anybody about emails. Now, this is key, because up ’til now everybody informing us about this has said Mifsud told Papadopoulos the Russians have thousands of Hillary emails. Next phase: Halper reminds Papadopoulos that he knows this. Next phase: Papadopoulos goes to get drinks with Alexander Downer and tells him. Except that’s not what he told him.

“[W]e’ve been told the FBI acted because it was alarmed that Mr. Papadopoulos knew about those hacked Democratic emails [that the Russians had] in May, before they became public in June. But according to the tipster himself,” this is Mr. Downer, “Mr. Papadopoulos said nothing about emails.” This is a late correction to the “narrative,” if you will. “The FBI instead received a report that a far-removed campaign adviser, over drinks,” Papadopoulos, “said the Russians had something that might be ‘damaging’ to Hillary,” that the Russians had dirt on Hillary.

But Downer is saying Papadopoulos never said, never told him the Russians had Hillary’s emails. Okay. Well, then how did it get out that they did? How did it get out that that’s what Papadopoulos was telling everybody? Now, Downer is saying, “No, no, no, no, no! That’s not what he said. He told me that the Russians had something that might be damaging to Hillary.” Okay, now, imagine that you’re at the FBI or the DOJ or wherever — MI5, MI6 — and here comes the Australian ambassador.

He calls you up and he wants a meeting and he said, “Guess what? I just had drinks last night, a couple nights ago…” In fact, it took Downer two months to pass this information on. That’s another thing that we have learned. Downer has drinks with Papadopoulos; Papadopoulos says that the Russians have dirt on Hillary, damaging things on Hillary. Downer takes two months to tell anybody, supposedly. Okay. So you are at the FBI, and here comes the Australian ambassador, and he says, “I had drinks with this guy on the periphery of the Trump campaign, and he said that Russians have damaging information on Hillary.”

Would that be enough to start a counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign? No! Come on. So, the point is that even this excuse offered by the FBI, the DOJ as the reason the investigation started can’t be true. So it wasn’t the dossier, and it can’t be this. So we’re still back to: What started this? Devin Nunes wants to see that document, and they haven’t shown it to him yet. Now, this is a big change. Plus, there’s one other element of this. The… (sigh) How to phrase this?

The United States and four of its allies — and they are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.K. The intelligence people in those five countries have a name. It’s called the Five Eyes. The Five Eyes: U.S., New Zealand, Australia, U.K., Canada. It’s not clandestine. It’s widely known. They call themselves this, and they have some rules. They don’t spy on each other. If they come across things damaging to each other, they come forward with it.

But there’s also a process by which members of the Five Eyes inform each other when they come across something, such as Downer coming across Papadopoulos and what he said. And you report it agency to agency. But that’s not what Downer did. Downer went to the U.S. embassy in the U.K., in London, to spread this around. So nothing about this happens according to norms. But the correction that I’m sharing with you today is that now Downer is saying…

After everybody thinking for months now that Papadopoulos was bragging about knowing that the Russians had Hillary Clinton emails, now the Australian ambassador is saying, “No, no!” He never said anything about emails. He just said that he knew the Russians had damaging information on Hillary. And again, the point is… So you’re in the FBI, you’re at the American embassy, comes Downer, “Yeah, I had drinks couple months ago with this young guy, very sharp guy, Papadopoulos. He’s on the periphery of the campaign.

“He said that they know that the Russians have some damaging stuff on Hillary.” Would that make you stop everything and open an investigation of the Trump campaign? It simply isn’t enough! It’s vague. What damaging information? How does this guy know it? This guy’s not high enough up on the chain, on the ladder to make what he says have a whole lot of weight. So is this really what started…?

‘Cause remember, for the longest time they wanted us to believe it was Papadopoulos that was responsible for this investigation beginning and the FBI was saying, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. FBI, there may be a…? You mean Trump, Russia? Oh, jeez.” And that’s when they decided to put an informant in. Now the Papadopoulos story’s falling apart. As Kimberley Strassel says, “The Papadopoulos pretext is getting thinner,” meaning it can’t be the reason. So I wanted make sure I pass that on, because that’s the latest in this, and I want to keep you all on the cutting edge.

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