A Georgian-American businessman is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller’s report of inaccuracies relating to a text exchange between him and former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
Bloomberg reported lawyers for businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday demanding a retraction from a footnote in the 448-page report, which was released in redacted form last week. Rtskhiladze said that Mueller improperly characterized text messages between him and Cohen about alleged compromising tapes of President Trump.
The attorneys write in the letter that Mueller’s report only contains part of Rtskhiladze’s text exchange and “spliced the dialogue to produce the ugly insinuations and allegations of Footnote 112 to attract publicity — all while impugning Mr. Rtskhiladze’s character.”
In the footnote in question, Mueller’s team said that Rtskhiladze texted Cohen: “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there’s anything else.”
Rtskhiladze said Mueller dropped the word “some” from the footnote and he texted Cohen that he had stopped the flow “of some tapes from Russia.” Rtskhiladze’s lawyers say the missing word is crucial because “it establishes the fact that Mr. Rtskhiladze had no knowledge of the tapes’ content.”
The letter also points out that Mueller’s team didn’t include the next part of the text exchange, which Rtskhiladze claims shows he had no knowledge of the rumor involving the tapes.
In the text messages, Cohen asks, “Tapes of what?”
Rtskhiladze responded, “Not sure of the content but person in Moscow was bragging [sic] had tapes from Russia trip. Will try to dial you tomorrow but wanted to be aware. I’m sure it’s not a big deal but there are lots of stupid people.”
Cohen then responds, “You have no idea,” and Rtskhiladze replies, “I do trust me.”
Rtskhiladze told Mueller’s team that he was only passing along a rumor a friend had overheard at a party in Moscow and had no knowledge of the veracity of the claim. Rtskhiladze gave Mueller the identity of the friend who had originally passed along the rumor.
In 2012, the Trump Organization announced plans to build a new tower in Georgia with the Silk Road Group, where Rtskhiladze works as a partner at the company’s U.S. affiliate. He had helped broker a deal that resulted in a $1 million licensing fee, although Trump pulled out of the deal in January of 2017 prior to being sworn in as president.
Rtskhiladze said he met with the special counsel’s office twice before Mueller concluded his investigation and provided more than 17 hours of testimony before the special counsel’s grand jury. Rtskhiladze said he has agreed to voluntarily testify before the House Intelligence Committee after receiving a request from Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Mueller’s report was released last week. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a four-page summary of Mueller’s investigation last month that cleared Trump of both colluding with Russia and obstructing justice.