Giuliani says Mueller has agreed to narrow scope of potential Trump interview

Rudy Giuliani said Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview...

Posted: May 18, 2018 7:54 PM
Updated: May 18, 2018 7:54 PM

Rudy Giuliani said Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with President Donald Trump from five topics to two.

The former New York City mayor, who is now one of Trump's lawyers in the Russia investigation, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" that Mueller is not considering asking the President about his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who's under investigation in New York over his business dealings.

Giuliani -- who in the interview also touched upon whether Trump can obstruct justice, the President's latest charge that an FBI informant infiltrated his campaign and his belief that the FBI agents who raided Cohen last month are "stormtroopers -- said he can't go into much more detail about the potential interview, but that "the main focus we want ... is Russia."

CNN reported in March that the areas that Mueller's team indicated it wanted to pursue with Trump included his role in crafting a statement aboard Air Force One that miscast Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, the circumstances surrounding that Trump Tower meeting, as well as the firings of former FBI Director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"He is going to tell the truth and he has told the truth. He has no reason not to. There is no possible jeopardy here of any kind except from an unfair media," Giuliani said Friday.

A President can obstruct justice, Giuliani says

Giuliani noted that although it was Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey that led to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's appointment of a special counsel in the Russia investigation, there's no need for such a probe, because the President has "complete discretion to fire anybody he wants."

Asked by Cuomo if a President can obstruct justice, Giuliani replied, "he can, but in the case of firing a subordinate who is going to be replaced by somebody else on an active basis immediately."

He later added, "There were 10 reasons for firing Comey that have nothing to do with corrupt anything."

Giuliani's view contrasts with that of John Dowd, who previously represented Trump in the Russia investigation and claimed in December that the President cannot be guilty of obstructing justice because he is the country's top law enforcement officer.

'Perjury trap'

Although Trump said earlier this month that he would "love to speak" with Mueller, Giuliani said the special counsel's interest was in "trapping people into perjury."

The former US attorney pointed to a case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in which a federal judge said prosecutors' interest in the matter is because of Manafort's potential to provide material that would lead to Trump's "prosecution or impeachment."

"The President would testify tomorrow if it was about the truth. The truth is he had nothing to do with Russia," Giuliani said, adding, "The President is not going to lie."

Asked by Cuomo why Trump won't testify and say that, Giuliani said prosecutors would compare Trump's testimony to the account of Comey.

The New York Times, however, reported in February that Trump's legal team is reluctant to allow the President to accept an interview with Mueller over concern that Trump might incriminate himself through false statements and could be charged with lying to investigators.

Giuliani questions whether there was FBI informant in Trump campaign

Trump and his allies have seized on a recent New York Times report that at least one government informant met several times with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos,. The President has pointed to the reporting to criticize the Mueller investigation, and said Thursday that if the report is true, he is a victim of a scandal that is "bigger than Watergate."

Giuliani, however, said he didn't know for sure if there were informants embedded with the Trump campaign who spoke to federal authorities.

"Here's the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant, if there is one. First of all, I don't know for sure, nor does the President, if there really was. We're told that," he said.

Giuliani said Trump's lawyers "were told there were two embedded people in the campaign" and that the Times' report "corroborates what people told us off the record."

But, Giuliani added, "You don't know if they're right or not."

Doubles down on 'stormtroopers' comment

Giuliani made headlines earlier this month when he said FBI agents who participated in raids against Cohen acted like "stormtrooopers," a term that originated during World War I to describe German assault troops but has also been applied to enforcers of the early Nazi Party during the rise of Adolf Hitler.

"You don't go into a man's house in the morning for a case that's 10 years old," said Giuliani, a former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, which executed search warrants authorizing the raids. "I know to say it, they are, and stick with it and accept it and own it. You are stormtroopers. The men and women were off base in what they did."

Cohen, however, told CNN's Don Lemon shortly after the raids last month that the FBI agents "were extremely professional, courteous and respectful."

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