Rudolph W. Giuliani, a new attorney on President Trump’s legal team, said Thursday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to “trap” the president into committing perjury with a request for an extended interview.
“What they’re really trying to do is trap him into perjury, and we’re not suckers,” Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and federal prosecutor, said during a morning interview on “Fox & Friends.”
Giuliani, conducting a fresh round of media interviews Thursday seeking to bolster Trump’s standing, asserted that the original aim of the special counsel — to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 campaign — is now “dead.”
“This silly deposition is about a case in which he supposedly colluded with the Russians but there’s no evidence,” Giuliani said.
During a later appearance on the Fox Business Network, Giuliani said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should bring the investigation to an end.
“Sessions should step in and close it and say enough is enough,” Giuliani said.
Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe last year, a move that continues to elicit anger from Trump.
During both interviews, Giuliani said prosecutors have lost credibility in the wake of a raid last month on the home and office of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as from the publication by the New York Times of about 50 questions that Mueller was said to be interested in asking Trump.
“They’re going to have to convince us they’re going to be objective and they are not out to get us.”Giuliani said.
He repeated his demand that any interview with Trump should be limited in time, citing the president’s responsibilities to negotiate with North Korea over denuclearization, among other things.
“They should be able to do this, if they have a case, in two or three hours,” Giuliani said.
He said Trump should be afforded the same concessions that Hillary Clinton was when the FBI probed her use of a personal email server while secretary of state. She was not under oath when she was interviewed and had attorneys present.
Giuliani’s concerns about Trump being accused of perjury during an interview echoed those the president expressed on Twitter on Wednesday.
In a tweet, Trump called an investigation of possible obstruction of justice a “setup & trap,” once again asserting that there was no wrongdoing to be uncovered in the special counsel inquiry.
Trump has said previously that he would be willing to have a face-to-face meeting with Mueller or his team, but more recently he has wavered on the prospect. Some of Trump’s advisers have counseled that he could risk being accused of perjury if he submits to open-ended questioning from Mueller and provides meandering answers.
During his television appearances Thursday, Giuliani said he feared that Mueller’s team would be more inclined to believe contradictory testimony from James B. Comey, the FBI director whom Trump fired last year.
Among other things, Comey has said Trump asked him to be lenient while investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn, who was forced to resign less than a month into Trump’s presidency, pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s then-ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
Giuliani said Comey was a “disgraceful liar,” adding that “they should put him in the same jail cell” as Martha Stewart, the businesswoman and television personality. As the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Comey prosecuted Stewart in 2003 for making false statements to federal investigators, among other charges, related to a stock trading case. Stewart served five months in federal prison and was released in March 2005.
Giuliani also said Thursday that he did not know how the New York Times obtained questions that the paper said Mueller wants to ask Trump in an interview.
“I didn’t see those questions until – the New York Times saw them before me,” Giuliani said. “Nor did anybody else that was new to the legal team … so I don’t know where they were leaked.”
The Times reported that the questions were relayed from Mueller’s team to Trump’s attorneys as part of negotiations over the terms of a potential interview with the president. The list was then provided to the Times by a person outside Trump’s legal team, the paper said.