President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that conversations about a potential Trump Tower deal in Moscow — conversations involving then-candidate Trump — occurred “as far as October, November” of 2016.
“It’s our understand that they went on throughout 2016,” Giuliani told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd
“Not a lot of them, but there were conversations. We can’t be sure of the exact dates, but the President can remember having conversations with [Michael Cohen] about it.”
Giuliani said Trump and Cohen’s conversations about the Moscow deal went on “probably up to as far as October, November.”
“Our answers” — in written statements to special counsel Robert Mueller — “cover until the election, so anytime during that period they could have talked about it,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani denied that Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the timeline of the deal, as BuzzFeed News recently reported, but acknowledged that “it could be true” that the former Trump fixer lied to Congress after consulting with Trump’s lawyers — Giuliani named John Dowd, Jay Sekulow, and Ty Cobb. Cohen was in a joint defense agreement with Trump at the time.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 20, 2019
Giuliani’s timeline extends beyond what Cohen acknowledged in pleading guilty to lying to Congress about the deal: In that timeline, discussions about the tower continued through June 2016.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Giuliani said Trump “acknowledged” in his written statements to Mueller “that [he and Cohen] had conversations about it throughout 2015, 2016.”
Giuliani also granted that Trump may have talked to Cohen about the congressional testimony ahead of time. “And so what if he talked to him about it?”
In the same appearance, Giuliani disputed that the timeline meant Trump was lying when he repeatedly claimed to have “nothing to do” with Russia.
Trump said in an October 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton: “I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there.”
He said in February 2017: “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”
Those statements weren’t lies, Giuliani argued. Cohen, he said, “wrote a nonbinding letter of intent.”
“The President gave the accurate answer,” he added.
This post has been updated.