WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Sunday shut down the possibility of Trump sitting for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, saying it would occur “over my dead body.”
Giuliani made the declaration during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" — one of two appearances he made on Sunday talk shows to discuss Mueller’s Russia probe and the sentencing of Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
A federal judge sentenced Cohen Wednesday to 3 years in prison for crimes that included campaign finance violations stemming from two hush-money deals he arranged before the 2016 election to conceal affairs Trump allegedly had with porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
When asked by host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" if Trump would abide by Mueller’s standing request for an interview, Giulani said: "Over my dead body, but, you know, I could be dead."
In November, the president’s legal team submitted written answers in response to Mueller’s questions about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The president’s lawyers have so far refused to answer any questions regarding possible obstruction of justice, according to media reports, and have balked at having Trump sit down for an interview with Mueller.
Both Giuliani, on TV, and the president, on Twitter, continued taking shots Sunday at Mueller’s probe as well as Cohen. Giuliani and Trump cast Mueller's investigation as a witch hunt and said the Long Island-born Cohen lied to federal prosecutors about his work on behalf of the president. Cohen told prosecutors his work coordinating six-figure payments to Daniels and McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 elections in exchange for their silence about the alleged affairs was done at the direction of Trump.
Trump, who has acknowledged making the payments, insisted this week that Cohen acted on his own and he never directed his former attorney to break the law.
Giuliani argued on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump did not violate campaign finance laws by making the payments just weeks before the general election, because “if there’s another purpose, it’s not a campaign contribution.” Federal prosecutors in the Cohen case have argued the payments should have been disclosed by the Trump campaign because federal election law mandates the disclosure of payments made “for the purposes of influencing an election.”
Trump on Sunday referred to Cohen in a tweet as a “Rat” who only decided to cooperate with federal investigators after the FBI, brandishing a search warrant, raided his home and office in April.
“They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE! Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office,” Trump tweeted, referring to the FBI’s investigations into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email server and Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while secretary of state.
Asked about Trump’s tweets, Cohen’s former attorney Lanny Davis, told CBS' “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan: “That’s the language of a mobster, not the president.”
Davis defended Cohen’s version of his work for Trump, saying the president's former lawyer was willing to tell the truth even if doing so resulted in “jail as a consequence.” Davis pushed back on Giuliani’s statement on “This Week” that Cohen sought a presidential pardon from Trump.
“He wouldn’t take a pardon from Trump if it was handed to him,” Davis said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, asked when House Democrats are obligated to open impeachment proceedings against Trump, said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "We should make sure that Mr. Mueller is unimpeded, that he finishes his investigation, and we should make sure that report is public, and then we should make a decision on that totality."
With Scott Eidler