Giuliani: Trump doesn't have to comply with Mueller subpoena

President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that President Trump doesn't have to comply with a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Posted: May 8, 2018 6:30 AM
Updated: May 8, 2018 6:32 AM

Rudy Giuliani loves to talk. Especially when there is a camera on somewhere close.

How do I know? Because after a week in which he set off a series of political forest fires with comments about President Donald Trump's reimbursement of a $130,000 payment designed to silence a porn star just before the election and about why James Comey was really fired by the President, Giuliani was at it again on Sunday!

He sat for an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos and, you guessed it, said a lot of things that raised eyebrows inside and outside the White House.

Here are 21 of the best/worst.

1. "You know, I'm not really involved in the -- in the Daniels thing. So I don't -- I don't know. I mean, he denies that it happened."

Wait, wait. WHAT? Four days before this, Giuliani went on Sean Hannity's show and talked extensively about the $130,000 paid to Daniels, the porn actress, by Trump fixer Michael Cohen. Giuliani said Trump had reimbursed Cohen for that payment, meaning that Trump knew where the money for the payment came from -- which runs contrary to Trump's past assertions about the hush money. And, Giuliani also insisted -- repeatedly -- that no campaign finance laws had been broken by the payment and the reimbursement. It sure seemed like he was well-versed in the "Daniels thing" last Wednesday ...

2. "Well, it depends on kind of what you mean by met her."

Giuliani's quibble here is that, sure, Trump and Daniels had their picture taken together but they didn't really know one another. I assume Giuliani isn't purposely echoing Bill Clinton's famous line -- "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" -- but whoa, boy, it sure sounds like that.

3. "I mean, at some point, yes, but it could have been recently, it could have been a while back. Those are the facts that we're still working on."

At issue here is that Giuliani told Buzzfeed last week that Cohen was unhappy that he hadn't been paid back and met with Trump about it after the election. Trump, according to Giuliani, agreed to pay Cohen back. What Giuliani is hedging on here is when Trump knew about the repayment. Also: Facts are not something you "work" on. They just are.

4. "I'm at the point where I'm learning, and I can only -- I can't prove that. I can just say it's rumor. I can prove it's rumor, but I can't prove it's fact. Yet. Maybe we will."

Uh, Giuliani is the one who said Trump and Cohen met after the election and Trump agreed to reimburse Cohen. So, if it's a rumor, he is the one who started it!

5. "I don't know how you separate fact and opinion."

[shakes head in disbelief, reads quote again, rubs eyes, stares into the void]

6. "I never thought $130,000 was a real payment, it's a nuisance payment. When I settle this -- when it was real or a real possibility, it's a couple million dollars, not -- not $130,000."

This is an AMAZING argument by Giuliani. Because Cohen only paid Daniels $130,000 -- rather than millions -- it's a sign that this wasn't a serious claim. Because six figures for a woman alleging an extramarital affair is "a nuisance payment." The logic here is truly mystifying.

7. "The reality is those are not facts that worry me as a lawyer."

Go on....

8. "I don't think that this president has done that. But in any event, that's not the crime."

Giuliani is responding to Stephanpoulos's question about whether it's OK for a president to lie to the press. And Giuliani's answer goes likes this: a) Trump probably didn't lie to the media b) and, even if he did, there's no crime there. Which is comforting!

9. "It's the Mueller -- it's the Mueller part of the case that I came in for, not the -- that one's gone, that one's gone."

BREAKING NEWS: The Mueller probe is over! Can't believe I missed that this weekend. I mean I was busy taking my kids to soccer and baseball but still. Wait, what?

10. "$130,000 between a lawyer and a client and -- and a client who's worth, you know, billions, is not -- George, you know, I don't like saying this, but it's not a great deal of money."

This argument again! The reason you Daniels isn't telling the truth is because Trump via Cohen would have paid her way more hush money if she was telling the truth!

11. "There were other things involved that had nothing to do with Stormy Daniels. In other words, other amounts of money. This was not uncommon for him to do that."

Rudy! Giuliani is attempting to dismiss the idea that Cohen told Trump about the Daniels payout because it wasn't that much money AND because Cohen settled things like this regularly for Trump. Holy moly!

12. "I -- I don't know and I don't think it's at all relevant anymore."

The timing of when Trump knew that he had repaid Cohen for the Daniels' hush payout may not be a legal matter but man oh man, does it matter politically. Because Trump appears to have lied to reporters on April 5 when he told them he had no idea where the $130,000 had come from.

13. "The agreement with Michael Cohen, as far as I know, is a longstanding agreement that Michael Cohen takes care of situations like this then gets paid for them sometimes."

"Takes care of situations like this." Ahem.

14. "I have no knowledge of that but I -- I -- I would think if it was necessary, yes."

Giuliani stumbles here when asked directly by Stephanopoulos whether Cohen made payments to other women like he did with Daniels. My guess here is that Giuliani hasn't asked the question of Trump because he already knows the answer.

15. "The man is an honest, honorable lawyer."

"How Michael Cohen, Trump's Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire" -- New York Times, 5/6/18

16. "Well there were questions about it because they don't have any answers, right? They don't -- they wouldn't have to ask us if they had answers, right?"

This is the Giuliani argument on collusion: Sure, there were questions about collusion on the leaked list of questions Mueller wants to ask Trump But that's evidence the special counsel doesn't know the answers! They have nothing!

Could that be true? I suppose. It is more likely, however, that Mueller's investigators want to hear about what Trump says about collusion to see if it jibes -- or not -- with what they already know. And, if it doesn't, to push on why there are discrepancies between what people have told the special counsel's office and what Trump is telling them.

17. "People do things like lie. People lie. Could Comey be lying? You're damn right, he could be lying, George. And we're going to walk ourselves into a trap like that?"

Based on everything we know about Trump the politician -- from his June 2015 campaign announcement onwards -- what's more likely: That he's lying or that the former FBI director is?

18. "The special counsel so far seems to think that Comey is Moses. And I happen to think Comey is Judas."

Nothing like a good Biblical metaphor! Also, this is part of the new Trump strategy: Discredit Mueller's probe so that no matter what happens you can say it was a biased result. The specific idea Giuliani is forwarding here is that Mueller and Comey are too chummy to take the conclusions the special counsel eventually draws all that seriously.

19. "Martha Stewart would tell you that she told the truth and they set her up. I don't know that, but I don't want to get into that case."

Wait. Giuliani knows Martha would say she told the truth? Or he doesn't know that.

20. "How can I ever be confident of that?"

Giuliani's response to Stephanopoulos' question over whether Trump would potentially plead the 5th is a stunner. So, the President's lawyer can't rule out the possibility that the President will invoke his right against self-incrimination? WHA?????

21. "There's no question that the amount of government misconduct is accumulating. I happen to believe it's greater than anybody realizes."

I wonder if Giuliani would call this a fact or a rumor? Or are those the facts he's "still working on"?

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