Giuliani on Trump Tower statement: It was a mistake

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani describes the changing statements by Trump's legal team and White House as mistakes.

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 2:03 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 2:03 PM

To hear Rudy Giuliani tell it, the complete reversal from the White House on whether or not President Donald Trump was involved in crafting the statement issued by his son to The New York Times following the paper's report about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians is one giant misunderstanding.

"You can make a mistake -- you can make a mistake, and then if you don't -- if you want to, you can say it's a lie," Giuliani told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday night. "It was a mistake. I swear to God, it was a mistake. The guy made a mistake. It was corrected."

The problem here is twofold:

  1. Who is "the guy"?
  2. What "mistake" is Giuliani referring to?

The answer to the first question seems to be Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, who told CNN back in July 2017 that "I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all nor was the President."

Now for the "mistake."

Giuliani would have you believe that the mistake Sekulow made was simply misstating the fact that, yes, Trump dictated the statement. But Sekulow didn't cop to that fact in a statement explaining the discrepancy between his statement last July and a January memo sent to special counsel Robert Mueller's team in January by Trump's legal team -- in which it's made clear that Trump dictated the Don Jr. statement.

"The statement in the January letter reflects our understanding of the events that occurred," Sekulow told CNN on Monday night. That statement implies pretty clearly that Sekulow was passing along the information as he understood it from, um, someone. There is no indication in that statement that he made a mistake of any sort.

Who could have told Sekulow information that wound up not being accurate? Presumably one of a very small group of people that includes the President himself, Donald Trump Jr. or, perhaps, then-communications director Hope Hicks.

This back-and-forth between Don Jr. and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee shines some light on who might have told Sekulow.

Q: The Washington Post has since reported that your father was involved in drafting your July 8 statement. Is that correct?

Trump Jr.: I don't know. I never spoke to my father about it.

Q: Do you know who did draft that statement?

Trump Jr.: Well, there were numerous statements drafted with counsel and other people were involved and, you know, opined.

Q: To the best of your knowledge, did the President provide any edits to the statement or other input?

Trump Jr.: He may have commented through Hope Hicks.

Q: And do you know if his comments provided through Hope Hicks were incorporated into the final statement?

Trump Jr.: I believe some may have been, but this was an effort through lots of people, mostly counsel.

So, Don Jr. didn't even know that his dad dictated the statement -- unless he's lying under oath, which is a federal crime and, therefore, unlikely.

That still leaves the possibility that Hicks, who we know was intimately involved in the crafting of the statement, might have given Seuklow bad information. And it's of course possible that any other senior staff member who was on the plane when Trump dictated the statement for his eldest son could have a) known about it and b) told Sekulow about it.

But those feel like long-shot possibilities when compared to the other scenario staring us directly in the face: Sekulow asked Trump himself whether or not he dictated the statement. Trump either flat-out told him he didn't, told him he couldn't remember or hedged to the point where Sekulow felt comfortable going on national TV to insist Trump was not involved in the crafting of the statement.

Which brings me back to Giuliani's "mistake" explanation. This was almost certainly not a mistake in the way Giuliani is trying to paint it -- and certainly not a mistake by Sekulow or White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who also insisted that Trump did not dictate the statement.

Their information -- bad, it turned out -- was coming from somewhere. And that somewhere is at least as likely to be the President of the United States as anyone else.

The real issue is why Trump would pass along bad information. Was it simply that he forgot that he had dictated the statement? Or was he purposely avoiding acknowledging authorship of the Don Jr. statement for some less benign purpose?

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 52037

Reported Deaths: 2762
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12111693
Lake5677249
Elkhart366260
Allen2971134
St. Joseph221169
Hamilton1735101
Cass16489
Hendricks1470100
Johnson1351118
Porter84938
Vanderburgh8016
Tippecanoe7859
Clark71944
Madison68164
LaPorte62928
Howard61058
Bartholomew60545
Kosciusko5844
Marshall57011
Noble52428
Boone49244
LaGrange48710
Delaware48152
Jackson4793
Hancock47436
Shelby46025
Floyd41844
Monroe36128
Morgan34431
Grant32226
Dubois3196
Henry30318
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27810
Dearborn27123
Warrick26829
Vigo2618
Decatur25732
Lawrence25325
Harrison21822
Greene19932
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1748
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1596
Daviess15117
Perry15110
Steuben1402
Orange13823
Jasper1362
Ripley1357
Franklin1288
Gibson1282
Wabash1193
Carroll1142
Starke1093
Fayette1087
Whitley1086
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells831
Randolph804
Fulton761
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Posey640
Rush623
Spencer591
Owen531
Benton510
Sullivan511
Adams491
Brown441
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Tipton331
Switzerland320
Parke280
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66853

Reported Deaths: 3064
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12301449
Cuyahoga9359399
Hamilton7046208
Lucas3079306
Marion275539
Montgomery257936
Summit2382209
Pickaway222942
Mahoning1971239
Butler189747
Columbiana139560
Stark1244116
Lorain118970
Trumbull106678
Warren101826
Clark82010
Delaware76315
Fairfield71917
Lake62723
Tuscarawas62110
Licking60012
Medina59932
Belmont57324
Clermont5157
Miami51431
Wood51051
Portage50960
Ashtabula45244
Geauga43143
Richland3906
Allen38541
Wayne37655
Greene3659
Mercer30410
Erie30122
Holmes2625
Darke26126
Huron2602
Madison2259
Ottawa21724
Athens1921
Sandusky17615
Ross1503
Washington14720
Putnam14515
Coshocton1434
Crawford1405
Jefferson1272
Morrow1271
Hardin12512
Union1151
Auglaize1124
Muskingum1061
Preble961
Lawrence920
Clinton912
Monroe8917
Hancock871
Hocking839
Guernsey824
Scioto770
Shelby774
Williams772
Carroll713
Logan711
Ashland692
Fulton680
Wyandot665
Brown621
Fayette580
Highland581
Champaign571
Knox571
Defiance553
Van Wert491
Perry481
Seneca442
Henry370
Paulding340
Jackson310
Pike290
Adams282
Vinton232
Gallia211
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Huntington
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 83°
Decatur
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Van Wert
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Storms Late Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events