Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, said Sunday he does not believe Trump knew his eldest son and top campaign aides met with Russia operatives at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.
Giuliani, speaking on morning talk shows about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, continued to attack the credibility of the more than year-long investigation.
In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Giuliani also said he had “no concerns” that Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, now the subject of a separate federal probe, will flip on his former boss.
Giuliani said Trump’s legal team has not ruled out the possibility of the president testifying before Mueller, but told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos that Trump will not sit down with Mueller until the special counsel provides “a factual basis for the investigation.”
“We’ve been through everything on collusion and obstruction,” Giuliani said. “We can’t find an incriminating anything, and we need a basis for this investigation.”
Mueller has obtained guilty pleas or indictments against four former Trump associates and 13 Russian nationals since being tapped last May to lead the Department of Justice investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and ties to the Trump campaign. The investigation has since expanded to examine whether Trump sought to obstruct justice by firing former FBI director James Comey, who has said the president asked him to stop investigating ties between Michael Flynn, Trump’s then-national security adviser, and Russia. Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying to authorities about his contacts with Russia.
Giuliani on Sunday denied Trump made such a request of Comey, who testified about it under oath before a Senate panel last year, noting that conversations about investigations happen regularly.
“The reality is, as a prosecutor, I was told that many times. ‘Can you give the man a break?’ either by his lawyers, by his relatives, by friends,” Giuliani said of his time as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s. “You take that into consideration but, you know, that doesn’t determine not going forward with it [an investigation].”
Asked if Trump was aware of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by his son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former campaign manager Paul Manafort with Russians claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, Giuliani said he did not believe Trump was aware of the meeting.
“Don’t believe he did know about it, don’t believe he knew about it afterwards. I think that you could have very, very different recollections on that because it was right ... in the heat of the campaign,” Giuliani said, adding that the meeting “doesn’t mean anything because it resulted in nothing.”
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Giuliani said Trump won’t fire Mueller despite the criticism.
“Because ... if he did it, everyone would say that he was guilty, and that’s why he fired him,” Giuliani told guest host Dana Bash.
Giuliani also confirmed that the White House has contested a special counsel request to interview Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Giuliani said Sunday he was not concerned that Cohen, Trump’s longtime trusted lawyer, would flip on his former client because Trump did nothing wrong. Cohen said last weekhis “first” loyalty was to his family and country.
“There is no evidence of wrongdoing with President Trump. So, we’re very comfortable,” Giuliani said on CNN. “If he [Cohen] believes it’s in his best interest to cooperate, God bless him. He should cooperate.”
Giuliani said “as far as I know” Trump did not direct Cohen to make a payment on his behalf to porn actress Stormy Daniels to conceal an alleged tryst between the two nearly a decade before the election. Trump acknowledged earlier this year that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment, but Cohen has maintained that he acted independently of Trump in getting Daniels to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for the money.
“Even if he had [directed Cohen to make the payment], that would not necessarily be anything,” Giuliani said on ABC. “If the president directed him to settle the case, he would have done that a year before, a year after, didn’t matter that he was running for office ... that’s something you settle because you don’t want your family to be embarrassed. And the amount of money involved, $140,000, would indicate it was a nuisance settlement as opposed to the millions of dollars that have been given away in cases like that in the past.” Previous published reports put the amount of the payment at $130,000.
Giuliani, repeating a line of attack frequently made by Trump on Twitter, called Mueller’s probe biased, and denounced it as “the most corrupt investigation I have ever seen.”