The Department of Justice claims that the full transcript is consistent with the overall incident. Dowd disagrees, pointing out that by “taking out half my words, they changed the tenor and the contents of that conversation with Robert Kelner. … Isn’t it ironic that this man who kept indicting and prosecuting people for process crimes committed a false statement in his own report?”
Dowd has accused Mueller of seeking to “smear and damage the reputation of counsel and innocent people.” He stated that the special counsel “never raised or questioned the president’s counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so.” Dowd, a highly respected veteran D.C. lawyer, is rightly upset. When read in full, the transcript shows that he is not trying to obstruct the probe. To the contrary, he is respectful of resigned national security adviser Flynn’s decision to withdraw from the joint defense agreement and does not expect Flynn’s attorney, Kelner, to disclose confidential information. Furthermore, he is not only worried about what Flynn’s cooperation means for his client, the president, but also for the country.
Dowd’s request was not only entirely proper for a president’s counsel to make but obligatory for any defense attorney properly seeking information necessary to his defense. By editing the transcript to fit its narrative, the Mueller team distorted the facts. If an ordinary lawyer or prosecutor were to provide a quotation in a court submission that omitted words that undercut his argument, he would be subject to discipline.
The public must be told who approved the decision to remove important words from the Dowd quotation and for what reason. Did Mueller approve the cuts? Did the person who made the cuts inform his superiors precisely what he was omitting and why? Even more than ordinary prosecutors, Mueller and his team have a special obligation not to engage in this kind of selective editing. Their report is, by its nature, one-sided. The public needs to trust what the special prosecutor says in his report.
Mueller was just the figurehead. All the work was done by the Trump hating staff lead by sleazy prosecutor Alan Weissman, who was involved in the Russiagate conspiracy from before Mueller’s appointment. That’s who needs to be asked.