President Trump’s attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani switched gears Wednesday, saying that he would prefer the president grant an interview to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office and that a decision would be made within “the next couple weeks.”
“I guess I’d rather do the interview. It gets it over with. It makes my client happy,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. “The safe course you hear every lawyer say is don’t do the interview, and that’s easy to say in the abstract. That’s much harder when you have a client who is the president of the United States and wants to be interviewed.”
Giuliani had expressed skepticism in recent days about an interview with the team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, telling the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that his decision would be no if a choice had to be made immediately. “If they said you have to do it now, the answer would have to be no,” Giuliani told the Journal.
In Wednesday morning’s interview with The Post, Giuliani said the president sometimes seesaws on whether he wants to do an interview. “There have been a few days where he says, ‘Maybe you guys are right,’ ” Giuliani said, referring to Trump attorneys who have warned against an interview. “Then he goes right back to, ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ ”
Giuliani said he was concerned that the president would become a target or that the interview would be a perjury trap, because the “truth is relative.” The president’s legal team continues to try to set limitations on an interview, including the duration and questions posed, he said.
“They may have a different version of the truth than we do,” Giuliani said.
Many of Trump’s advisers have expressed concern that he would be accused of committing perjury in an interview.
Giuliani said the legal team did expect questions on Trump’s conduct after he took office.
The former New York mayor said that he was handling much of the public-facing role for Trump’s legal team, while Jane and Martin Raskin — two Florida lawyers new to the team — are reviewing facts and interacting with Mueller’s office.
He also said new White House lawyer Emmet Flood was preparing memos explaining how the office could fight a subpoena to testify or challenge any intent to indict the president.
Giuliani also said the president was unlikely to make changes at the Justice Department and had no intention of firing Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein or Attorney General Jeff Sessions — all three of whom have come under sustained attack from the president.
“I don’t think he is going to make changes. I wouldn’t advise it,” he said.
“Before I was his lawyer, more of his political adviser, we might talk about it,” he said. “We don’t talk about it at all now.”
Giuliani said he speaks with the president most days and that Trump appreciates the vociferous defense he gives him on TV. He attributed the president’s increasing talk about the probe on Twitter to optimism. “He feels the public opinion is turning in his favor,” Giuliani said.
“Why is this still going on? Whatever they have — why don’t they conclude it?” Giuliani said, describing the president’s thinking. “His tweeting has been effective.”