In a later interview, on May 31, Rudy Giuliani clarified his May 23 remarks contained in this report, saying that he had not spent time with Trump in person — or only in passing — for "a week, or 10 days," but that he was still talking with him regularly.
Rudy Giuliani says that an ultimate decision won’t be made on whether President Donald Trump will sit for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller until "the details of this 'Spygate' situation" are figured out.
Giuliani, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, was focused Wednesday on the same topic as the president — despite the fact that the two last talked, he said, a “couple weeks ago.”
Who of the outside lawyers on the special counsel matter is talking with Trump then? “I’m not. People from our office are,” Giuliani said. How often are those people talking with Trump? He hedged: “Talking, correspondence? A couple times a week.”
Giuliani said that a decision had not yet been made about the special counsel interview and that the president and his legal team are “probably not going to make a decision until more of the facts are in.” He later said that those facts include knowing more information about Trump’s recent allegations that an FBI informant who reportedly had contact with three Trump campaign officials constituted or was part of “a major SPY scandal.” Trump has presented no evidence to support such a claim.
Asked what he means by “Spygate,” Giuliani said, “What I mean is, that according to [former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper, is that they were spying on the Russians and, in the course of spying on the Russians, they ended up spying on the Trump campaign. Well, I want to know why, what the basis for it was, what did they acquire — nothing, I believe — so, if they acquired nothing in the counterintelligence investigation, how do you end up with another whole year of Mueller?”
Clapper’s comments, however, have been misused by both Trump and Giuliani. Clapper, in fact, was asked in a Tuesday interview on The View whether the FBI was spying on Trump’s campaign. “No, they were not,” he said. “They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing.”
Clapper, in an interview on CNN on Wednesday afternoon, said that his comments were being taken out of context.
“It wasn’t spying on the campaign,” he said, adding that he thinks Trump is “deliberately spinning the narrative that whereby he's a victim of the ‘deep state’ spying on him or spying on the campaign, which is not the case.
“What we were concerned about and what particularly the FBI but everybody else — but particularly the FBI was concerned about was the Russians and what they were doing to penetrate or influence the campaign,” he continued. Of the FBI, he said, “For me, they were simply doing their jobs. What we expect them to do.”
Giuliani’s statements followed a Washington Post report on a Wednesday morning interview with him that was headlined: “In reversal, Giuliani now says Trump should do interview with Mueller team.”
“Noooo! Oh my god no,” Giuliani said, when read the headline. “No no no no no. No, I didn’t say that.”
In the Post interview, he was quoted as saying, “I guess I’d rather do the interview. It gets it over with it. It makes my client happy.” Giuliani acknowledged he had said that, but told BuzzFeed News, “That doesn’t mean we’ve reversed though. That’s always been true.”
But just Tuesday, Giuliani gave reasons against doing an interview to The Wall Street Journal. Trump, he said, could “talk himself into becoming a target.” If investigators told the president that he “had to” sit for an interview now, “the answer would have to be no,” he said.
Regarding the steps they’ve taken to resolve their remaining questions before deciding on the interview question, Giuliani said, “We’re gathering facts, going over documents.”
Have they asked for the underlying documents related to the FBI informant, a professor identified by several outlets as Stefan Halper, central to Trump’s allegations? “We haven’t formally done it, but we’ve made it known that we do.” He said that the outside legal team is going to allow the review of the documents by House Republican Reps. Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy — a meeting about that is scheduled for Thursday — to proceed first.
“We expect we’ll get information as a result of that, and then we’ll know a little better what to request,” he said.