Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Sunday admitted that a number of President Donald Trump and his legal team’s assertions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are meant to the muddy the waters about the probe and sway the public’s opinion of it.
Giuliani also repeated his assertion that Mueller’s entire probe was “illegitimate” due to the FBI’s reported use of an informant to contact members of Trump’s campaign in — though the President has shown no evidence of wrongdoing by the FBI — and former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to share memos of his encounters with the President with the media.
In an interview with Giuliani Sunday, CNN’s Dana Bash shared the results of a recent survey of Republicans. Only 39 percent said President Trump should testify in Mueller’s investigation, “down 15 points in less than six weeks,” she said.
“This is not an accident,” Bash continued. “Is it fair to say that you and the President have a very specific, very political strategy to undermine this investigation, and it appears to be working.”
“No, it’s not a strategy to undermine it, they’re doing it,” Giuliani said, before referencing a story that he and the President have talked up endlessly this month. “How did I know about ‘Spygate?’”
Trump has used the term “Spygate” to refer to revelations that a reported FBI informant made contact with several of his campaign staffers prior to Election Day in 2016. But Trump has, baselessly, asserted that the FBI used an informant to damage him politically, rather than to watch for signs of foreign election meddling.
“We’ve got a briefing, we’ve got Congress involved,” Giuliani said. “We didn’t do that, they’re doing it.”
In fact, the recent briefings between top intelligence and national security officials and members of Congress came directly as a result of Trump’s actions, and the White House said as much. Trump had previously tweeted his “demand” for an investigation of the Russia investigation itself before meeting with the officials.
Bash again asked Giuliani whether “this is an intentional strategy to undermine the investigation,” given that Mueller’s team does not speak to the press, and Trump’s team has done so frequently.
“They’re giving us the material,” Giuliani said before admitting: “To a large extent, we’re defending here— It is for public opinion, because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach.”
“Members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed, a lot, by their constituents,” he said.
“So our jury, as it should be, is the American people.
That strategy, of discrediting the investigation and blurring the lines of criminal behavior, was on display elsewhere in the interview.
At one point, asked if he was confident “that there was no collusion” by those surrounding Trump during the campaign, Giuliani said with some exasperation: “I can’t be confident about my client.”
“Nobody knew about Russians,” he said. “This came as a surprise to me, to the President, and to the top four or five people around him.”
“Now if you go out to the outer orbit, how do I know what’s going on?” he hedged. “But I don’t think that would matter. If there’s collusion with a guy 50 rungs down on the campaign — not that I’m saying it happened — but if it did, I don’t know what that means.”
Earlier in the interview, Giuliani asserted that the Justice Department was being “hypocritical” because, according to what he’d heard, the FBI informant who reportedly made contact with Trump’s campaign was not being protected.
“If it is true, and it’s dangerous to this man, he better be protected already,” Giuliani said of the informant, adding: “If that man is the man, he better be protected. I’m not sure, but I hear he’s not, so what’s going on?”
Separately, Giuliani asserted that Trump should have access to information on that informant both in his capacity as commander in chief, and as someone under investigation by Mueller.