Rudy Giuliani on Friday insisted that he had no prior knowledge that FBI Director James Comey would announce the discovery of emails potentially related to the agency’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, even though he hinted at “big surprises” to come in the 2016 race just days before Comey’s letter shook up the election.
Appearing on “Fox and Friends,” the former New York City mayor and current Donald Trump adviser was asked what he knew about the FBI’s investigation.
“I’m not part of it at all,” Giuliani said. “All I heard is former FBI agents telling me that there’s a revolution coming on in the FBI and it’s to a boiling point.”
On Oct. 26, two days before Comey’s letter went out, Giuliani volunteered to Fox host Martha MacCallum that Trump had “a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days.”
“We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around,” he boasted.
CNN’s Don Lemon highlighted that clip Thursday night to argue that someone within the FBI may have tipped Giuliani off to the letter ahead of time. It also prompted veteran journalist Wayne Barrett to produce a lengthy investigation into Giuliani’s ties to the FBI’s New York office, which he worked closely with as a former federal prosecutor and mayor.
Agents in that office working on an inquiry into whether foreign Clinton Foundation donors received favors from Clinton’s State Department have reportedly been feuding with highers-up and Justice Department officials who believe there’s little evidence to move forward with such a probe.
Barrett reported that Giuliani is close to Jim Kallstrom, the former head of the New York FBI office and a frequent Fox News guest. Giuliani also said in his “Fox and Friends” interview that he is “close, personal friends” with a lot of retired FBI agents.
“So you had a general idea that something was coming?” host Brian Kilmeade asked.
“I had expected this for the last–honestly, to tell you the truth, I thought it was three or four weeks ago,” Giuliani replied. “Because back, way back in July this started. They kept get stymied looking for subpoenas, looking for records.”
“I did nothing to get it out, I had no role in it,” he later added in regard to leaking details of any investigations. “Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it, and I can’t even repeat the language that I heard from the former FBI agents.”
Those vague comments left unclear whether Giuliani was saying he played no role in spreading information about the probe into Clinton’s email server or the inquiry into the Clinton Foundation.
While many outlets interpreted his comments as a reference to the email server case, the Washington Post pointed out that Giuliani’s timeline suggests he is talking about the Clinton Foundation inquiry. FBI agents first pushed prosecutors and senior officials to proceed with a probe into the foundation in February but were rebuffed for a lack of evidence. Agents only uncovered emails potentially related to Clinton’s server in early October while investigating Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for his alleged sexting with a minor.
Giuliani’s close ties to former FBI agents notwithstanding, his Oct. 26 remarks to Fox might well have been bluster. Earlier that month, longtime Trump ally Roger Stone had predicted that Clinton would be “done” as a result of an Oct. 4 announcement from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. That campaign-ending announcement ultimately failed to materialize.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday afternoon pressed Giuliani further on his comments last week about “a surprise or two” to come and got a very different response than the one the former mayor gave the “Fox and Friends” hosts.
“Since then you’ve suggested you’ve had conversations with former, current FBI agents,” he said. “To be clear, did anyone leak any aspects of that Clinton email investigation to you?”
“In that particular situation, I was actually talking about the advertising campaign that you were referencing earlier that I knew was going to come as a big surprise,” he said.
Earlier in the hour, CNN reported that the Trump campaign was planning to spend $4 million to run a two-minute ad in nine battleground states, as well as nationally on NBC’s “The Voice” and during NFL football games.
“There were about four different formulations of it at that point that we had in mind and I didn’t know which one we were going to use. But I knew one was going to be a big surprise,” Giuliani continued. “I wasn’t referring to any possible information about emails or that sort of thing.”
Watch the Oct. 26 clip below:
This post has been updated.