Mueller Report Contains Claim Russia Has ‘Leverage’ Over Bill Clinton
Russians claim to have recording of president having phone sex with Monica Lewinsky
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia probe contains a claim that Russians have a recording of former President Bill Clinton to use against him as "leverage," but the reference has been redacted from the public release of the document, according to reports.
The Mueller report reportedly mentions a claim that Russians tapped Clinton's phone line, while he was having phone sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and recorded the risqué communication.
The move to redact the embarrassing claim about Bill Clinton is likely to anger Republicans because the allegation has been known since at least 2001.
The Mueller report's reference to unfounded allegations that President Donald Trump watched prostitutes urinating in a Moscow hotel room was not struck out, however.
The recording of Clinton and Lewinsky was allegedly made by Russian agents in the 1990s, meaning Russia knew about the affair before American officials.
The Clinton intercept reference was among many redacted from the Mueller report to protect “personal privacy.”
Sources told the Washington Examiner, however, that the context makes clear what was blacked out.
The report states that Center for the National Interest President Dimitri Simes sent Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner an email in 2016 with suggested talking points to counter Hillary Clinton's Russia attacks.
The email referenced “a well-documented story of highly questionable connections” between Bill Clinton and Russia.
According to the Washington Examiner, at a meeting in New York, Simes told Kushner the details: Russia allegedly recorded President Clinton on the phone with Lewinsky, opening questions of "foreign leverage" over the ex-president-turned-potential first spouse.
“During the August 17 meeting, Simes provided Kushner the Clinton-related information that he had promised. Simes told Kushner that, [redacted],” the Mueller report says.
“Simes claimed that he had received this information from former CIA and Reagan White House official Fritz Ermarth, who claimed to have learned it from U.S. intelligence sources, not from Russians.”
Ermarth, 78, a 25-year CIA veteran and chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1988 to 1993, said he was concerned with the wording in the report.
He said the report inaccurately suggests he mishandled classified information, when in fact he used public sourcing.
“The line in the Mueller report that says any of this was based on intelligence information is the product either of faulty remembering by Dimitri or a flawed inference … or a hostile fabrication by the Mueller people,” Ermarth said.
“[The report wording] implies my misuse of intelligence or use of intelligence that is classified in this context. And that is completely false.”
Ermarth thinks he told Simes that the Clinton-Lewinsky phone call was intercepted while the president was traveling on Air Force One, but that detail is believed to not have been conveyed to Kushner or included in the report.
The former CIA officer, who was not interviewed by Mueller, said he discussed the intercept with Simes during a trip to Washington in either 2014 or 2015.
The story's omission from the Mueller report hints at a double standard for the Clintons, he said.
Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment, as did Simes.
A White House spokesman and Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell did not respond to requests for comment.
The report was redacted by Justice Department leadership in cooperation with Mueller's team.
There were 855 redactions, according to the Smoking Gun.
Only 7% of those redactions were justified by "personal privacy," according to an analysis by Vox.
Most information was withheld because it involved grand jury deliberations or because it could harm an ongoing criminal case.
According to the report, Simes told investigators Kushner appeared to consider the phone-sex story “old news,” as news outlets had long ago reported that Russia had advanced knowledge about Lewinsky.
Meanwhile, Kushner told Mueller's team he did not receive information from Simes that could be "operationalized" and doubted new negative information could be unearthed on the Clintons.
Though the report was redacted to protect the former president's privacy, it does reference an alleged sex tape featuring Trump watching prostitutes urinate in a Moscow hotel.
The Mueller report says Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze texted former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that he "[s]topped flow of tapes from Russia."
Rtskhiladze told Mueller's team that "he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen."