The final report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller contains an edited transcript from a voicemail left by an attorney for President Donald Trump to an attorney for former national security adviser Lieutenant Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.).
John Dowd, an attorney for Trump, left a voicemail for Rob Kelner, Flynn’s attorney in November 2017.
In Mueller’s report, this voicemail is selectively edited to give the impression that Trump’s attorney was asking Flynn’s attorney for information that might hurt the president while reminding the attorney about what Trump has said about Flynn:
I understand your situation, but let me see if I can't state it in starker terms. . . . [I]t wouldn't surprise me if you've gone on to make a deal with ... the government. ... [I]f . .. there's information that implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, . . . so, you know, . . . we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of protecting all our interests if we can .... [R]emember what we've always said about the ' President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains ....
This makes it seem like the president’s counsel was trying to obstruct justice, or at the very least, hide something damaging to Trump.
The actual transcript of this voicemail has now been released, and shows what Mueller left out:
Hey, Rob, uhm, this is John again. Uh, maybe, I-I-I-'m-I'm sympathetic; I understand your situation, but let me see if I can't ... state it in ... starker terms. If you have ... and it wouldn't surprise me if you've gone on to make a deal with, and, uh, work with the government, uh ... I understand that you can't join the joint defense; so that's one thing. If, on the other hand, we have, there's information that ... implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don't know ... some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President, but for the country. So ... uh ... you know, then-then, you know, we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of ... protecting all our interests, if we can, without you having to give up any ... confidential information. So, uhm, and if it's the former, then, you know, remember what we've always said about the President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains, but — Well, in any event, uhm, let me know, and, uh, I appreciate your listening and taking the time. Thanks, Pal.
The Mueller report left out the part where Trump’s attorney specifically asked for information that was not confidential. Mueller’s report strings along sections of the voicemail to give one impression.
This is the second example of selective editing in the Mueller report that we know about so far. The Daily Wire previously reported that important context was left out of a text-message exchange between former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and a Georgian-American businessman. The businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr demanding a footnote be retracted from the Mueller report misrepresenting his conversation.