President Donald Trump‘s attorney Rudy Giuliani, as he has often done during his representation of the president, has gone public to set things straight after making a statement on cable news that raised eyebrows.
Giuliani, in case you missed it over the weekend, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that maybe Trump did or maybe Trump didn’t talk to Michael Cohen before Cohen lied to Congress about the Moscow Project. Giuliani then said that even if Trump did speak to Cohen it’s a “so what” situation.
“So what if he talked to him about it?” he asked.
So, what Giuliani decided to do on Monday in an interview with the New York Daily News was walk that back. He made sure to give a definitive answer this time.
“The President never (emphasis ours) spoke with Cohen about the congressional testimony,” Giuliani told the New York Daily News, adding that any talks that occurred would have “happened between the lawyers [and] would have been part of the joint defense agreement.”
The Giuliani comments were made after BuzzFeed News claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about how long negotiations from Trump Tower Moscow (“The Moscow Project”) went on. Saying that the talks ended in Jan. 2016 was a lie, Cohen admitted. Instead, talks continued into June 2016, months before the election. The BuzzFeed report took things a step further by alleging that Trump told Cohen to lie in Sept. 2017.
That was a first. Cohen, unlike in the Southern of District of New York case against him, did not say that Trump “directed” him to commit a crime.
Mueller’s office saw fit to respond — without getting into specifics — by saying that BuzzFeed’s reporting was “not accurate.”
“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” spokesman Peter Carr said. BuzzFeed, for its part, is standing by the story.
In any event, it took Giuliani a bit on Friday to respond to the report, and he dismissed it as categorically false, “totally phony” and fake news. By Sunday, Giuliani was saying the Trump-Cohen talks didn’t happen, but even if they did it’s “totally normal.” This is a familiar defense from Giuliani (i.e. it didn’t happen, but if it did it’s not a crime).
[Image via CNN screengrab]