President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said Wednesday that the legal team of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is “trying very, very hard to frame” the president.

Giuliani’s comments, at a conference in Israel, further escalate the efforts of Trump and his lawyers to discredit the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which is also examining whether Trump has obstructed justice.

Speaking at an investment conference in Tel Aviv hosted by the Globes newspaper, Giuliani echoed Trump’s claim that Mueller’s team is dominated by Democrats who are out to get him. And then Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, suggested the team is going to extraordinary lengths to do so.

“They are a group of 13 highly partisan Democrats that make up the Mueller team — excluding him — [who] are trying very, very hard to frame him, to get him in trouble when he hasn’t done anything wrong,” Giuliani said, according to a video of the event.

In fact, there are 17 staff members in Mueller’s special prosecutor’s office. Thirteen are registered Democrats, and four are unaffiliated or their affiliation is unknown, The Washington Post has reported. Mueller himself is a registered Republican, as is Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mueller and is overseeing the investigation.

Giuliani also repeated a claim made last weekend that Trump could pardon himself of any federal crimes.


Rudolph W. Giuliani arrives for the Sports and Fitness Day event on May 30 at the White House. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

“Does he have the power to do it? Yes,” Giuliani said. “Is he going to do it? No. He’s not going to do it. . . . He’s innocent. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

In his remarks, Giuliani also touched on Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, describing what happened after Trump sent Kim a letter saying he was calling it off.

“Well, Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani suggested a similar approach should be taken with the Palestinians in the long-running conflict with Israel.

“That’s what needs to happen with the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “They have to be seeking peace. You’ve got to change the dynamic and put the pressure on them.”