President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani called Fox News to clarify comments he made earlier today about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the president's Russian ties.
"When I said today that there and therefore... and that collusion also is no crime, I've been saying that from the very beginning, [and] so has John Dowd," he said, referring to the man who once led Trump's legal team.
He added: "It's a very, very familiar lawyer's argument than the alternative: My client didn't do it, and even if he did it, it's not a crime."
Giuliani is calling into Fox News right now to clarify his collusion comments from this morning: "My client didn't… https://t.co/WTXCnGkq8B— Aidan McLaughlin (@Aidan McLaughlin) 1532969630.0
Giuliani's clarifications come after he sparked significant criticism earlier today when he said during an interview on “Fox & Friends” that special counsel Robert Mueller should end his investigation.
“If we had anything to do about it, I would ask the special counsel to put out his report and show us what he’s got, you know, show your hand,” Giuliani said.
When asked if he meant he wanted Mueller to put out his final report, Giuliani replied:
Final! Get it over with. Make your case to the Justice Department that you have to continue to investigate. I think you’ll find that there is no reason. Look, think about this: You could investigate an innocent man forever. If you decided he robbed the bank, and he didn’t and he proved to you 50 different ways that he didn’t do it, you’ll look at 51, and then 52, and then 53. Then you try to get somebody who knows him and prosecute the poor person for tax evasion, so they say he robbed the bank. That’s what’s going on here!
Rudy Giuliani: “You could investigate an innocent man forever.” https://t.co/JDpn7NPBo7— Fox News (@Fox News) 1532952240.0
During the same interview, Giuliani justified his that colluding with a foreign government is not a crime.
“I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime,” he said. “Collusion is not a crime. Everything that’s been released so far shows the president to be absolutely innocent. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
The last two tapes, Giuliani added, referring to recordings of conversations between Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen “are evidence in his favor”:
He wants to do a transaction by check. He wants to do it as a corporate transaction. Perfectly legal. Second one, in great detail he describes the Stormy Daniels deal to Cuomo, and he says the president didn’t know about it, the president didn’t have money, I paid for it myself, it was only a campaign contribution.
Rudy Giuliani: “Everything that’s been released so far shows the president to be absolutely innocent. He didn’t do… https://t.co/biWQ4yvZ6e— Fox News (@Fox News) 1532952060.0
Giuliani later made the rounds on CNN to disparage Cohen’s credibility. Cohen claimed last week that Trump did, in fact, know about a meeting his son Donald Jr. and several other members of his campaign had with a Russian intermediary who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“What the heck are you picking on me for saying he was an honest, honorable man, when I didn’t know he tape recorded conversations with his clients?”
"What the heck are you picking on me for saying he was an honest, honorable man, when I didn't know he tape recorde… https://t.co/gW7ciIz4PB— New Day (@New Day) 1532954901.0
Giuliani used to argue that there was no possibility at all that the president colluded. Now, he's appeared to change his tune, and this has not gone unnoticed.
NEW: Giuliani just moved the goal posts in 2 big ways on Fox & CNN : 1. He's no longer claiming Trump didn't collud… https://t.co/PKlKmJwkb3— Christina Wilkie (@Christina Wilkie) 1532955822.0
Hope Hicks, Nov. 2016: "There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign"… https://t.co/6MaQpX2mlB— Marshall Cohen (@Marshall Cohen) 1532960751.0
Watching Giuliani’s @CNN @NewDay interview was bizarre. There was a noticeable shift in his strategy. Instead of pu… https://t.co/NwxTm8WhAu— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti) 1532959759.0
The change in Giuliani's strategy echoes the rather tumultuous relationship between Trump and former lawyer John Dowd, who was once the lead attorney for the special counsel investigation. Dowd resigned in March. According to The New York Times, which spoke with an individual briefed on the matter, Dowd had concluded that the president was ignoring his advice.
Dowd, who considered leaving his post several times since taking over as head of the president’s legal team last summer, kept his statement to the press short and crisp.
"I love the president,” Dowd told New York Times reporters in a telephone interview. “I wish him the best of luck. I think he has a really good case.”
BREAKING: John Dowd, the lead lawyer defending President Trump in the special counsel investigation, has resigned… https://t.co/dQPx7VncRC— CNN (@CNN) 1521733683.0
Dowd’s departure came after a hectic few days, during which the president attracted significant criticism for assailing Robert Mueller. Trump also had earlier announced his intention to sit down for an interview with Mueller and his team, despite Dowd’s advice not to. (Dowd was just one member of an extensive legal team who, aware of the president’s tendency to promote falsehoods, has cited concerns that he might perjure himself during an interview with the special counsel.)