The Mueller report has landed, and while you can expect it to be a while before reporters and other interested parties to have fully mined it for all new and revelatory information, there’s one topic that you, readers, can feel confident the journalists of Slate covered as soon as we were able to get a searchable document: the pee tape.
Yes, the pee tape—the long-rumored, far-fetched evidence of Trump kompromat that infused #Resistance Twitter with unbridled joy and disgusting jokes and launched a thousand awkward conversations with their moms explaining the concept of a “golden shower”—did in fact make it into Mueller’s report. As a footnote.
Here, in full, is what the special counsel included on the subject:
Comey’s briefing included the Steele reporting’s unverified allegation that the Russians had compromising tapes of the President involving conduct when he was a private citizen during a 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe Pageant. During the 2016 presidential campaign, a similar claim may have reached candidate Trump. On October 30, 2016, Michael Cohen received a text from Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze that said, “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there’s anything else. Just so you know… .” … Rtskhiladze said “tapes” referred to compromising tapes of Trump rumored to be held by persons associated with the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group, which had helped host the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. … Cohen said he spoke to Trump about the issue after receiving the texts from Rtskhiladze. … Rtskhiladze said he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen.
Unfortunately for Twitter, this section does not confirm the existence of the pee tape or really anything new about it. Instead, it just relays that a Russian businessman involved in the Trump Tower Moscow project at one point said that the tapes were fake.
The context for this footnote comes from a discussion of the conversation Trump had with Comey during the presidential transition about the Steele dossier, the original source of the pee tape allegations. According to Steele’s dossier, a source alleged that Russians had a tape of compromising material from a 2013 trip to Moscow in which Trump watched prostitutes engage in sexual acts. One part of that sexual encounter allegedly included “golden showers.” Comey would say later that Trump had become obsessed with the sexual allegations in the Steele dossier, despite those allegations being not the criminally incriminating ones, and raised it “at least four times” with the then head of the FBI.
According to the Mueller report, in Comey’s private memo after the discussion, “the President-Elect seemed defensive, so Comey decided to assure him that the FBI was not investigating him personally.”
Not exactly thrilling material. Still, it’s kind of amazing the tapes got a mention at all.