Rudolph W. Giuliani vehemently denied Sunday that President Trump asked his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, speaking during a fiery CNN interview in which he also said BuzzFeed News should be sued for reporting such allegations this past week.
Giuliani acknowledged that Trump might have spoken to Cohen about his testimony, but he shrugged it off, saying that would have been “perfectly normal.”
“So what?” Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal attorney, said to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday morning. “As far as I know, President Trump did not have discussions with him. Certainly no discussions with him in which he told him or counseled him to lie.”
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office has issued a statement denying central aspects of a report from BuzzFeed claiming the president directed Cohen to lie to Congress about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Giuliani blasted the news organization, which stands by its reporting, calling the story “scandalous” and “horrible.”
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) said Giuliani keeps changing his tune as more details are revealed, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd: “This morning I almost feel bad for him.”
“He keeps having to readjust his stories as more facts come out,” Warner said on “Meet the Press.” “We know Trump was trying to do business with Moscow up until this election.”
Warner, who serves as ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he and Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) have agreed they want to bring Cohen back to testify before the panel. Cohen testified before the committee in 2017 and is expected to appear Feb. 7.
In his CNN interview, Giuliani said BuzzFeed “should be sued, they should be under investigation,” telling Tapper: “You’ve got a hysteria in the media that interprets everything against Donald Trump. What they did yesterday was truly fake news and disgusting.”
Giuliani told NBC’s Todd he was “100 percent certain” the president never asked Cohen to do anything but tell the truth to Congress.
“I can tell you his counsel to Michael Cohen throughout that entire period was, ‘tell the truth,’ ” Giuliani told Todd. “We thought he was telling the truth. I still believe he may have been telling the truth when he testified before Congress.”
Cohen signed a plea deal with the special counsel in November, after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build the tower. Although he’d previously said the conversations about the tower ended in January 2016, he later acknowledged they were still occurring in June 2016.
Giuliani said Sunday that the conversations about the tower could have extended even further — up to the November 2016 election.
Asked by Todd whether the conversations extended through 2016, Giuliani said, “Yeah, probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November.”
Giuliani reiterated his previous arguments that Trump was truthful in his repeated insistence that he wasn’t doing business in Russia, saying the president was only minimally involved and the involvement only went as far as submitting a nonbinding letter of intent — which he argues isn’t the same as doing business.
“All his concentration was 100 percent on running for president,” Giuliani said.