President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested on Sunday that Trump had spoken with his former attorney Michael Cohen past January 2016 about a Trump Tower in Moscow.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Giuliani seemed to reference Trump’s written responses to special counsel Robert Mueller, saying the conversations about the proposed Moscow project might have gone as far as the tail end of the general election period.
“According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to November of – covered all the way up to November 2016,” Giuliani said. “Said he had conversations with him – but the President didn’t hide this.”
Asked about the difference between that comment and the previous claim that Trump’s discussions about the project ended in January 2016, Giuliani said, “Until you actually sit down and answer the questions and you go back and you look at the papers and you look at … you’re not going to know what happened.”
When asked to clarify his remarks, Giuliani said to CNN later Sunday that Trump told Mueller’s team he spoke to Cohen about the proposed Moscow project but did not specify exactly when those conversations took place.
Giuliani said Trump doesn’t really remember when the conversations took place but is safe in what he told Mueller because he gave a general affirmative answer that that the discussions happened sometime during the 2016 campaign.
Giuliani added that the conversations could have been in June or July of 2016.
“Up until November 2016, they could have had a conversation about Trump Tower Moscow, and it went nowhere,” Giuliani told CNN.
“It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it,” he said.
CNN has previously reported that Trump’s lawyers balked at answering any questions that ran past the election because they believed they could argue the transition period after Trump’s victory was covered by executive privilege.
When Cohen pleaded guilty to a charge from Mueller’s office last month, he said he lied about Trump’s knowledge of the proposed Moscow project. He had previously claimed such discussions ended in January 2016 – ahead of the formal start of the primaries. But in his admission of guilt, Cohen called the previous statement a lie on Trump’s behalf.
Prosecutors said Cohen discussed the proposed project with Trump on more than the three occasions he had previously mentioned.