A third troubling example Republicans point to is the special counsel’s complaints against Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, which like other court documents included tantalizing hints of collusion that dissolved upon closer inspection. They say Mueller used the so-called Moscow Project talks – Trump’s hope to build or at least brand a Russian skyscraper — to connect Trump directly to Vladimir Putin during the campaign, while withholding from the court details that would exonerate Trump of such collusion.
A closer reading of the November 2018 charging document filed with Cohen’s false-statement plea deal reveals that Mueller — who personally signed the document — omitted a fuller accounting of Cohen’s emails and text messages which, according to Capitol Hill investigators who have seen them, make the deal look far less nefarious than portrayed in the filing and in the press.
On page 7, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox.
“It’s clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign,” one Hill investigator said. “There was no secret ‘back channel.’”