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Trump just wanted contact details, PM says

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says all Donald Trump wanted in a phone call about a controversial United States inquiry into the FBI was some contact details.

The inquiry is widely seen as a partisan attempt by the Trump administration to discredit an earlier investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The initial probe was sparked by a tip-off from former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.

Mr Morrison promised Australia would co-operate with the inquiry during a phone conversation with the US president last month.

On Wednesday, he described it as a "fairly uneventful conversation".

Australia's ambassador to Washington Joe Hockey formally offered Australia's help with the investigation in May.

"The president contacted me and asked for a point of contact between the Australian government and the US attorney, which I was happy to do on the basis that it was something we had already committed to do," Mr Morrison told Sky News on Wednesday.

"It would have been, I think, frankly more surprising had we chosen not to cooperate."

The leaders then went on to chat about Mr Morrison's trip to Washington, he said.

To his recollection, the president didn't phrase the request as a "favour".

"I've had many conversations with the president and it was a very brief conversation," Mr Morrison said.

"It was not one that I'd characterise as being laden with pressure; it was a fairly polite request for something the Australian government had already made pretty clear we were happy to do."

The matter wasn't raised further when the leaders met in Washington last week.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has urged the prime minister to provide more detail about the phone call, but wouldn't bite when asked about what he would have done in the situation.

For the sake of transparency it would be a "common sense" solution for Mr Morrison to push for the release of the call's transcript, the Labor leader says.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said it's up to the US to decide if the full transcript of the telephone call would be released.

Mr Downer, Australia's former high commissioner to the UK and the country's longest-serving foreign minister, played a pivotal role in sparking the FBI investigation into electoral interference.

He met with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who told him about damaging Russian information about rival Hillary Clinton.

That conversation was a key trigger for the FBI inquiry.

Mr Morrison indicated Australia was unlikely to provide Mr Downer's diplomatic cables about the matter to the investigators.

"It would be a very unusual thing to do and Australia would never do anything that would prejudice our national interest," he said.

But asked whether the government would facilitate an interview with Mr Downer, he said that was a matter for DFAT.

Senator Payne has defended Australia's involvement in the investigation and doesn't think the nation is being dragged into a US issue.

"The inquiry, very much like the others which have been ongoing in the United States, is a matter for them," she told ABC radio.

"We are conducting ourselves as you would expect us to do in these circumstances, we are working in Australia's interests, and we are working with our closest and most important ally."

Mr Trump's call to Mr Morrison comes after revelations the US president called Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy to ask for help investigating Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

The US House of Representatives has opened an impeachment inquiry into Mr Trump centring on that call.

© AAP 2019