US President Donald Trump says "key allies" have asked him not to release classified FBI documents related to the probe into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, raising speculation the Australian government could be exposed.
Former Australian high commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer has become a reluctant player in the controversy for his London drinks session with former Trump foreign relations aide George Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos, sentenced to 14 days' jail for lying to the FBI, has repeatedly targeted Downer in Twitter tirades in recent days, claiming the former Australian foreign affairs minister recorded their meeting at the Kensington Wine Rooms in May, 2016, and was acting as a spy.
Downer has strongly rejected this.
"Alexander Downer will go down in history as a stooge for (Hillary) Clinton who single-handedly caused irreparable damage between the USA-Australia," Papadopoulos wrote on Twitter on Friday.
On Monday Trump ordered documents related to the FBI's Russian investigation, including text messages from FBI figures Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, be declassified and released publicly.
However, on Friday the president pulled back.
"I met with the DOJ (Department of Justice) concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents," Trump announced on Twitter.
"They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe.
"Also, key Allies' called to ask not to release."
The May, 2016, drinks between Papadopoulos and Downer in London has been credited as the spark that started the FBI probe into Russian influence into the November, 2016, presidential election.
Papadopoulos, according to the New York Times, told Downer over gin and tonics at the Kensington Wine Rooms he was told Russia had political dirt on Trump's presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.
Downer later told The Australian newspaper Papadopoulos mentioned at the drinks "the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging".
Downer said he passed the highly-sensitive information back to Canberra "the following day or a day or two".
How the information was then transferred to the FBI or US intelligence agencies is not clear.
Papadopoulos, however, says he has no memory of saying it to Downer.
He has called out Australia and Britain for setting him up.
He repeated it after Trump's statement on Friday.
"After reports are finally out that the British and Australian governments were actively spying and trying to sabotage the Trump campaign, those two governments called the president to ask for him not to declassify any FISA documents," Papadopoulos wrote on Twitter.
Australian Associated Press