Just before FBI Director James B. Comey announced agents were resuming the Hillary Clinton email probe, former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani went on TV and made what seemed like a prescient assertion.
In the next two days, Giuliani told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would reveal “a surprise or two.”
“I’m talking about some pretty big surprise,” he said.
Two days later, Comey sent a letter to Congress, revealing the Clinton matter — which the FBI had earlier recommended be closed without charges — was back on.
Democrats were furious. Did Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney and New York mayor whose former law firm represents the FBI Agents Association, have law enforcement sources who told him what was coming? Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) called on the Justice Department inspector general to investigate.
On Thursday afternoon, their wish was granted. Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced he would investigate the FBI’s pre-election actions on Clinton, including whether FBI or Justice Department employees leaked nonclassified information.
Giuliani will be just a small piece of the probe — which also encompasses Comey’s public comments and letters to Congress on the Clinton email probe and possible conflicts of interest of some of those involved. And he insisted in an interview Thursday night with The Washington Post that he has nothing of real substance to share with the inspector general, though he’d be happy to talk.
“I’d tell them everything I told you,” he said.
The “surprise” he was referring to, Giuliani said, was his idea for Trump to record a 20 to 30 minute video, a sort-of address to the nation. And he said he had talked only to former FBI agents — no current ones involved in any active investigations — and those ex-employees had only relayed to him the general displeasure inside the FBI over Comey’s decision not to charge Clinton.
“They relayed to me there was a lot of turmoil, and a lot of dissent about the decision,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani also shared at length his thoughts on the Clinton case and a number of other topics in the news. He said he still felt that Clinton had broken the law (a conclusion with which the FBI and Justice Department disagree), but like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s pick to be the next attorney general, he would recuse himself if he held a position that had him overseeing the case.
He at one point suggested — as Trump himself has — that he would advise against charging Clinton, despite his views on the case. “If you push me really hard, that’s what I’d recommend — to move on,” he said. But he also insisted repeatedly the case had merit.
“I don’t want to make that decision,” he said. “I’d give it to somebody else to make it.”
Giuliani dismissed as a “bunch of garbage” allegations in an unverified report circulating in media and political circles — a summary of which was included in an intelligence briefing — that the Russian government had compromising information on Trump, and that there was an exchange of information between Trump surrogates and Russian intermediaries.
Giuliani, who functioned as a Trump surrogate during the campaign and was recently named an informal cybersecurity adviser, said he himself had no contact with Russian government intermediaries. “I don’t speak Russian,” he quipped. He also said he had not discussed the matter with Trump.
Giuliani said he was concerned with nation state hacking, including that conducted by Russia, and would work in his new role in the administration to bring private and government cybersecurity experts together to bolster cyber defense.
“My job is really simple,” he said. “It’s to get the private sector to interact with the government and give them information about what they’re doing.”