President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Wednesday there was nothing illegal about Trump campaign advisers meeting with a Russian lawyer purportedly offering dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Bloomberg vis Getty Images
President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Wednesday there was nothing illegal about Trump campaign advisers meeting with a Russian lawyer purportedly offering dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Now playing
02:29
Giuliani backtracks on Trump Tower Moscow comments
Joe Manchin
CNN
Joe Manchin
Now playing
02:03
'I never thought in my life ...' Why Manchin won't walk away from bipartisanship
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Now playing
06:11
'Bombastic, antagonistic, unapologetic': A look at Gaetz's political career
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Michael A. McCoy/AP
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Now playing
02:42
Boehner says Republican colleague held 10-inch knife to his throat outside House floor
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Now playing
02:05
Biden calls for ban on assault weapons
CNN
Now playing
02:22
Biden: High-speed internet is infrastructure
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:24
Donald Trump breaks his silence on Matt Gaetz
CNN/WLOX
Now playing
01:43
'He says the quiet part out loud': Borger reacts to GOP election official's remark
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:30
Haberman: Trump had to be talked out of defending Matt Gaetz
CNN
Now playing
03:26
Georgia's Lt. governor says elections law was a result of Trump's misinformation
Now playing
02:38
GOP lawmakers can't give examples of why states need anti-transgender sports bills
CNN
Now playing
03:04
Avlon reacts to McConnell's advice to corporations
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06:  U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:12
'Smarten up': Biden admonishes states' restrictive voting laws
WAVE
Now playing
01:27
'It's stupid': McConnell's warning for corporate America
reality check thumb
reality check thumb
Now playing
02:48
John Avlon breaks down fraud claims among Trump donors
Now playing
06:22
Key figure in Gaetz extortion claims responds
(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said Monday that the President had no recollection of whether discussions about a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project went through the 2016 election, distancing himself from a claim he made Sunday.

Giuliani’s remarks were an attempt at damage control after comments he made a day prior when he said the talks about the Moscow project continued through the campaign, even possibly as late as October or November 2016. Adjusting his previous timeline, Giuliani told CNN on Monday that there was no way of determining exactly when the discussions ended because they had no record of it.

“My recent statements about discussions during the 2016 campaign between Michael Cohen and then-candidate Donald Trump about a potential Trump Moscow ‘project’ were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the President,” Giuliani said in a statement. “My comments did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any such discussions. The point is that the proposal was in the earliest stage and did not advance beyond a free non-binding letter of intent.”

The project and the length of discussions around have been subject to a changing narrative and is a key part of the legal saga facing Cohen, Trump’s former attorney. The project also came up in written questions that Trump answered for special counsel Robert Mueller as a part of the broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

When Cohen pleaded guilty to a charge from Mueller’s office in November, he said had he lied about the duration of the proposed Moscow project. Cohen had previously claimed such discussions ended in January 2016 – ahead of the Iowa caucuses and the first votes being cast in the primaries. But in his admission of guilt, Cohen called the previous statement a lie and said the discussions went through June 2016.

Trump denied any deals with Russia

The fact that there were discussions for a Moscow project at any point during the campaign has undermined repeated denials from Trump that his company had any business dealings in Russia or that he had anything to do with Russia at all.

Trump’s discussions with Cohen about the Moscow project – regardless of when they ended – happened while Trump cozied up to Russia with his rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump bucked his party’s orthodoxy and stunned his critics by repeatedly praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. He echoed Kremlin talking points on key foreign policy topics like the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the usefulness of the NATO alliance and the fight against ISIS in Syria.

While his company secretly pursued a lucrative business deal in Moscow, Trump also publicly floated the possibility of lifting US sanctions against Russia.

Negotiations for a Trump deal in Moscow occurred around the same time that the Russian government was interfering in the 2016 US election. Trump publicly encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s private server, though he later said he was joking.

Giuliani’s previous comments

Giuliani suggested last month that Trump had spoken with Cohen past January 2016, and indicated that conversations occurred later than previously known. Giuliani said Trump did not really remember when the conversations took place, but was comfortable with a general answer that Trump provided Mueller, which “would have covered all the way up to November of – covered all the way up to November 2016.” He added at the time that the conversations could have been in June or July 2016.

On Sunday, Giuliani told NBC and The New York Times that talks about the project continued during the campaign.

“The President also remembers – yeah, probably up – could be up to as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election,” Giuliani told NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“So anytime during that period they could’ve talked about it. But the President’s recollection of it is that the – the thing had petered out quite a bit. They sent a letter of intent in. They didn’t even know where to send it they knew so little about it. They’d finally got it straightened out. And then they abandoned the project. And that’s about as much as he can remember of it. Because, remember, 2015, 2016, he’s running against 16 people for president of the United States.”

Giuliani argued on Monday, as he did a day prior to CNN, that Trump viewed the project as insignificant because it consisted at the time of only an unfunded letter of intent. Giuliani said that there was no connection between Trump’s comments related to Russia during the campaign and the proposed Trump Tower Moscow.

“It was such a minor matter, he wouldn’t have equated it,” Giuliani said.

Although Giuliani downplayed the project, there were discussions with others about it and also a discussion with Trump about going to Moscow after the Republican National Convention to help push the deal. The letter of intent was also quite detailed.