On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani told the New York Times that President Trump and Michael Cohen were in talks to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow through Election Day 2016. By Monday, Giuliani was claiming that he had no idea if that was true at all.
Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted out the statement Trump’s attorney put out “clarifying” his comments to the newspaper.
“My recent statements about discussions during the 2016 campaign between Michael Cohen and then-candidate Donald Trump about a potential Trump Moscow ‘project’ were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the President,” Giuliani said. “My comments did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any such discussions. The point is that the proposal was in the earliest stage and did not advance beyond a free non-binding letter of intent.”
This is a notable reversal given that Giuliani had said he was directly quoting Trump when he told the Times the project discussions were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”
Giuliani made the cable news rounds on Sunday to discuss the project, acknowledging for the first time that work on it endured through October or November of 2016.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that was “big news” that should have been surfaced earlier.
Trump has insisted there would be nothing wrong with him working on—and failing to fully disclose—a major development project in Russia at the same time that the country was covertly working to elect him as president.
Discussion of the development resurfaced after BuzzFeed reported Thursday that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about their work on it. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office took the rare step of issuing a statement calling the article “not accurate.” BuzzFeed is standing by their story.