President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani argued Sunday he did not know for sure if Trump spoke with Michael Cohen about his congressional testimony, but that it would not have been significant if Trump did.
“I don’t know if it happened or didn’t happen. It may be attorney-client privilege if it happened, where I can’t acknowledge it. But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him, but I’m telling you I wasn’t there then,” Giuliani said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.
He continued, “So what if he talked to him about it?”
Giuliani said as far as he knew, Trump had not had discussions with Cohen where Trump “told him or counseled him to lie.”
Giuliani’s comments came after the office of special counsel Robert Mueller disputed a report from BuzzFeed News that said Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow. Mueller’s office said the outlet’s “description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
In an interview that aired Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani was asked about the report and said he was “certain” Trump would never have asked Cohen not to tell the truth to Congress.
“Categorically, I can tell you his counsel to Michael Cohen throughout that entire period was, ‘Tell the truth,’ ” Giuliani said. “We thought he was telling the truth. I still believe he may have been telling the truth when he testified before Congress.”
Giuliani also was asked on Sunday about the time frame of the conversations between Trump and Cohen on the proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.
Tapper asked Giuliani, “What did President Trump have to say about the Trump Moscow project?” in Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions.
Giuliani said Trump “acknowledged that they had conversations about it throughout 2015, 2016.”
“Through November 2016? Through November, right? That’s what you said before,” Tapper asked.
Giuliani responded that Trump “answered those questions fully, and I think to the satisfaction of the special counsel.”
In the interview with NBC, Giuliani also suggested talks may have lasted throughout the presidential campaign, all the way to November.
Giuliani told NBC the President has told him he remembers having conversations with Cohen about the project, “probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November – our answers cover until the election,” he said, referring to written answers given to Mueller’s office. “So anytime during that period they could’ve talked about it. But the President’s recollection of it is that the thing had petered out quite a bit.”
Giuliani attempted to walk back his remarks on Monday, telling CNN’s Pamela Brown that Trump has no recollection that discussions about Trump Tower Moscow went through the 2016 election, but there’s no way of determining the exact date of when they ended because there’s no record of it. He argued that Trump viewed it as insignificant because it was only an unfunded letter of intent at the time. He insists there’s no connection between Trump’s comments relating to Russia during the campaign and Trump Tower Moscow.
“It was such a minor matter he wouldn’t have equated it,” Giuliani said.
Sunday was not the first time Giuliani indicated the discussions about the Moscow project extended past January 2016. In December, on ABC’s “This Week,” Giuliani seemed to reference Trump’s written responses to Mueller and said 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 told ABC. “Said he had conversations with him – but the President didn’t hide this.”
This story has been updated.