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Did PM Turnbull Go Too Far Mocking Trump At Private Function

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's attempt to score some laughs by poking fun at US President Donald Trump is getting widespread coverage in the American media.

Mr Trump, not shy in firing off a tweet to vent his feelings, has not commented publicly. The New York Times, USA Today, Time, CNN, CBS, Bloomberg, Politico and almost every other major American news organisation is running with the story.

Some are having a little fun with it.

"Strewth, this is awkward," the Hollywood Reporter began its story.

The hot and cold relationship between the prime minister and president is well known across America after the Washington Post was the first to report their fiery January 28 phone call.

In Mr Turnbull's follow-up meeting with Mr Trump in New York on the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in May, also covered extensively in the US, both leaders went out of their way to praise each other.

But, after the leaking of audio of Mr Turnbull's attempted humour at Mr Trump's expense the US media is questioning whether the relationship could sour again.

"The phone calls between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and President Donald Trump are probably not going to get any better," Time suggested.

Mr Turnbull presumed his friendly mocking of Mr Trump would not be made public, with the "off the record" comments made before journalists at Wednesday's Parliament House Mid Winter Ball in Canberra.

The Nine Network posted the audio online.

"The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls," Mr Turnbull said. Mr Turnbull also poked fun at his New York meeting, describing it as "the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever".

The prime minister also ventured into the political land mine territory of Mr Trump and his relationship with Russia.

"I have this Russian guy," Mr Turnbull said. "Believe me it's true, it is true."

Mr Trump did go to Twitter on Thursday to blast special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the president obstructed justice into probes on Russian influence into the 2016 presidential election.

"They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice," Mr Trump wrote.

"You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people!"

Mr Turnbull laughed off the leaking of the audio, although it goes against the playbook used by world leaders and White House staff who shower the president with praise in public comments.

AAP

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