RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Hart writes: "Rudy Giuliani said that President Trump will not agree to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller unless Mueller proves that the president has committed a crime, and that his cooperation is essential to solve that crime. How reasonable!"

Rudy Giuliani. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Rudy Giuliani. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Giuliani: Trump Won't Sit Down for Mueller Interview Without a Fight

By Benjamin Hart, New York Magazine

09 July 18


n an interview with the New York Times, Rudy Giuliani — who has not kept up his previously breakneck pace of committing gaffes lately — said that President Trump will not agree to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller unless Mueller proves that the president has committed a crime, and that his cooperation is essential to solve that crime. How reasonable!

“If they can come to us and show us the basis and that it’s legitimate and that they have uncovered something, we can go from there and assess their objectivity,” Giuliani said. Mueller wants to question Trump about incidents that form the backbone of his investigation of collusion between the Trump administration and Russia. These include his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, the false statement he dictated about a pre-election meeting at Trump Tower, and more.

But to get a sit-down with the subject of his investigation, the Trump team hopes to force Mueller to leap over several hurdles:

The president’s lawyers want Mr. Mueller to explain how the Justice Department gave him the authority to investigate possible obstruction of justice by the president in what began as a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s election meddling. The order appointing Mr. Mueller authorized him to investigate possible links between Moscow’s interference and Trump associates, as well as any matters that arose from the inquiry.
The lawyers also want evidence that the special counsel exhausted every other investigative measure before asking the president to answer questions, and that he is the only person who could provide them with the information they are seeking.

Giuliani said that he knows Mueller was unlikely to agree to these stringent demands. He also knows that Mueller may end up subpoenaing the president, which would lead to a drawn-out legal battle of uncertain conclusion.

The Trump team’s combativeness is less a legal strategy than an attempt to paint Mueller as unreasonable, as part of a larger effort to discredit him before he concludes his investigation. This is a clear shift in strategy from the early days of Mueller’s investigation, when Trump’s erstwhile lawyers generally cooperated with Mueller, while assuring the president that his investigation would be over by Thanksgiving (2017).

Times have changed. After almost a year of strained silence, Trump has taken to attacking Mueller directly, something he repeated on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Giuliani frequently labels the former FBI director as a  partisan who is incapable of conducting a fair investigation. Even John Dowd, who who made the Thanksgiving guarantee and is no longer on the president’s legal team, now says Trump’s instincts about the special counsel were correct.

This strategy has already borne some fruit. Poll numbers show that the longer Mueller’s investigation continues, the more Americans want to see it end.

But the Times also frames the shift in strategy as a loss of trust on the part of the administration, reporting that after FBI officers raided Michael Cohen’s office in April, “Mr. Trump concluded that Mr. Mueller and Justice Department officials were determined to find wrongdoing.”

This makes it sound like Trump had been perfectly content with the investigation before that critical breaking point; in reality, the president had wanted to get rid of Mueller from the beginning, and came close to doing so last summer.

The change in posture instead mirrors the Trump administration’s evolution in many other areas, from the Iran deal to incipient trade wars. In the first year of his presidency, as he adjusted to a job he found overwhelming, Trump  Now, as he has intentionally shed most of the moderating forces in his administration, he is unshackled and more likely to follow his unerringly pugilistic instincts to the breaking point.

Whether his aggressive posture on this particular point pays off may depend not only on public opinion, but on how integral a sit-down really is to the Mueller investigation.

Lawfare’s  Benjamin Wittes argues that if Mueller really does need an interview to proceed with this case, he’ll find a way to secure one — and if not, he may simply move on.

Ultimately, the fight over this point is likely to be a warm-up for the real battle, which will take place when Mueller finally reveals his findings. With Trump on the attack against the investigation and Mueller and his team resolutely quiet, the battle for public opinion has been a one-sided affair. But it won’t stay that way forever. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-18 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-09 09:24
Seems like a summer lull. Not much news from Mueller or Guiliani. The standoff over the interview has been going on since May. Probably nothing will happen until after Labor Day. This is how politics works. The cases that are supposed to go to trial -- Manafort and the Petersburg 13 -- seem to be getting postponed.

Some reports say Mueller is out of gas and is dealing off what's left of his investigation to federal prosecutors to do what they want with them. But who knows?

I think the game is up on sitting for interviews with the FBI or DOJ. Now everyone knows what their game is. Even Peter Strzok is refusing to be interviewed by congress because he fears a perjury trap. I don't know what makes Mueller think he has a right to talk to anyone. He has no such right. We all have a right to remain silent when the police come stalking.
+3 # Working Class 2018-07-09 16:51
I keep hearing "perjury trap". Does that happen when one does not tell the truth and gets caught lying? If that is the way it works, Trump is "caught" almost daily by thinking persons.
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 11:38
Working -- " Does that happen when one does not tell the truth and gets caught lying? "

No, it happens when the prosecutor wants it to happen. Read John Kiriakou on this. He's been through it. He says that you can tell the total truth, but if the prosecutor says you told a lie and threatens you with an indictment for many crimes (you did not commit), you will take a plea for one lie in order not to risk a very long sentence.

It does not matter what you say. It only matters what the prosecutor says you said. Most ofgten, the interview is not video taped. There are only notes made by the prosecutors. There's always two of them, so it is two people's word against your word. They always win this in court. That's what happened to Flynn. No video. Just notes from two FBI agents, one of which was Peter Strzok. There are many stories which claim that the original 302 reports did not include a lie by Flynn, but they were altered to say Flynn lied. And Flynn accepted a plea to lying in order to avoid other charges. He did not know what the 302s said.

Perjury is almost always a trap. Very many people lie to the police and are never charged. Brennan and Clapper have lied often to congress, but no charges. Perjury just depends on what the prosecutors want to do.

We all know Trump is a liar. So he would be an easy take down for Mueller. So why would he submit to an interrogation? Guiliani is a former federal prosecutor. He knows the game.
+3 # HarryP 2018-07-09 16:53
You’re obviously not a lawyer, Rodion. You say Mueller has no right to talk to anyone. Really? Under what statute? If so, why didn’t Flynn, Papadopoulos, Jared, Hope, etc. etc. didn’t tell Mueller to bugger off? Presumably, by your reading of the law, Mueller does not have the right of subpoena. Yet as any lawyer can explain to you, Mueller has that tool - and Trump has the right to invoke the Fifth.
Even Clinton and Nixon did not argue they were above the law. (It took Nixon a couple of years in retirement at San Clemente to dream up that defense.)
As for Mueller being “out of gas,” that’s been your fond dream from the very beginning. Keep your fingers crossed. Good luck!
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 11:23
HP -- you have the 5th amendment. Mueller can subpoena all he wants, but you don't have to talk. You do have to show up. Maybe you have never been arrested and had the cop read to you your "Miranda" rights. You have the right not to talk to the cops. And if you have that right, then the cops have no right to ask you anything.

People do generally talk to the cops or an investigator on the belief that they can help clear up a misunderstandin g. That was certainly the case for Flynn, Papadopoulos, and the rest. They don't see the trap coming.

Why do you say "above the law" for someone who refuses to talk to a prosecutor. The law is you don't have to talk to police or prosecutors. If they want to charge you for a crime, they have to find the evidence on their own. It is Mueller who is acting above the law. He has no responsibility to anyone other than Rosenstein. There is no oversight for his work. He's collecting evidence by illegal means -- that is, accessing NSA intercepts.

Clinton's case was interesting, since he had no idea Starr would spring the Lewinsky question on him. He was trapped. What could he answer? This is the prosecutor's plan in every case.
0 # HarryP 2018-07-10 16:16
This is nuts, RR. For one, I can’t figure out whether you agree with me, that Mueller has the right to ask questions (something you vehemently denied in your initial post.)
Your main defense now is that a defendant has the right to keep his mouth shut. Along the way, you’re comparing Flynn and Papadopoulos to speeders pulled over by the cops and who then, rappin tothe fuzz (a 1960s reference I’m sure you’ll recognize) try to talk thei way out of a ticket, only make things worse for themselves.
I wish you would think before you whack your thumbs against your iPad. F&P committed perjury. They had lawyers. Still they lied. No one ever accused of being terribly bright. (Obama fired F for incompetence; P couldn’t keep his mouth shut blabbin to the Aussie man.)
Using NSA intercept between the US & foreign lands (part of F’s problems) are legal. Wishing them to be illegal, doesn’t make them so.
Your last paragraph points directly to Trump’s problem. He doesn’t know what Mueller will spring on him. Better to hunker down in the White House bunker or run off to Helsinki into the welcoming arms of Vladimir Vladimirovich.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 20:14
Mueller can ask all he wants but no one needs to listen to him or answer. He does have subpoena power but if he it he would have to say if Trump was a suspect in a criminal investigation or the target of the grand jury. It is actually not Mueller's subpoena but the jury's or court's.

Oh well, you just don't understand the perjury trap. Remember it was Sally Yates who was waving around the transcript of the phone call between Flynn and Kisylak. Why was the Assist. Attny General in possession of NSA surveillance material?

Obama fired Flynn because he said three times in meetings with other top staffers that the US should not be supporting ISIS. Obama got pissed at that because it was true.

Trump does not know what Mueller will spring on him. No one does. Why would anyone go into a meeting with a man who has said he loves to put people in jail not knowing what to expect. Only an idiot would do that.

Just so I can be clear -- do you call yourself a progressive? A democrat?, A leftist? A rightist? I can't tell. You never stand up for civil liberties as I always do. I even demand civil liberties for my enemies like Trump. You seem to be a "law and order" republican who loves the police and thinks they can do no wrong. Do you support the ICE cops snatching those immigrant kids. Or do you like me think a family has greater rights than an ICE cop?
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 20:28
HP -- just to follow up a little more. It may be that Mueller has a "secret" indictment against Trump. Federal prosecutors often prepare secret indictments and do not release or file them until the conditions are right. There may be a secret indictment against Assange. Many people think there is. Assange has had lawyers trying to find out for years but they have not been successful.

So if Trump talks to Mueller (grand jury or informal setting) and Mueller has a secret indictment, Trump will be incriminating himself because Mueller will ask questions that confirm the terms of the indictment. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't say if this is a violation of a defendants right not to incriminate himself but it sure as hell seems so to me. It would be like the prosecutor putting Trump on the witness stand in a trial, only he does not know a trial is going on.

You seem to trust prosecutors. Are you a cop or in law enforcement? I think you must be.
+5 # Macserp 2018-07-09 09:55
It's becoming more evident by every grinding week of this Presidency that it will not do to leave the fate of this country in the hands of high-powered attorneys on either side, and the Congress of the United States.
At the end of a day, after the droning news cycle if you will, the concerns these committee members and barristers bring home are quite different from mine and yours, as are the consequences of their legal jockeying.
Daily life is of a different order for those who are secure with the knowledge that they are basically unaffected by the social, economic and political struggles of the people.
Its absurd to think otherwise.
+11 # Working Class 2018-07-09 09:55
The aggressive attempts to discredit the Meuller investigation into Trump and his election on the part of this Administration is telling. Innocent individual don't fear the facts coming out. Trump's little attack dog and his friends on FOX are acting the way they are because they know that their guy is guilty as hell. They are conducting a PR campaign to sway public opinion in hopes of fending off impeachment. I hope Mueller decides he doesn't need a Trump interview and just releases the facts surrounding how Trump has been compromised by using Russian and other crime monies to float his business empire since the late 80's -early 90's when legitimate banks cut him off due to his scams and bankruptcies. If Meuller does not interview Trump before releasing the investigations findings then Trump will wail that he didn't get to tell his side - LOL.
+14 # draypoker 2018-07-09 10:34
When Trump arrives in Euriope later this week I wish he could be arrested and sent before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
+9 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-07-09 11:38
Unasked but relevant: What does Trump fear that restrains him from openness?
+12 # Texas Aggie 2018-07-09 11:53
It's surprising that more people want to see the investigation end no matter what. As drumpf gets more and more frantic to end it, the implication is that there is something he wants to hide and his frenzy indicates that it is something very serious.

It isn't as if nothing has been found so far. Getting so many guilty pleas and finding so many contacts between drumpf and Moscow certainly suggests that there is more to be found. Otherwise, if all that there was has already been found, drumpf wouldn't be so bent out of shape.
+10 # ericlipps 2018-07-09 12:29
Now let me see whether I've got this right; according to Giuliani, Trump won't submit to an interview by Mueller regarding whether a crime was committed by his campaign (possibly with his connivance) UNLESS Mueller has ALREADY PROVED that such a crime was committed.

As a former prosecutor, Rudy knows better than that. Refusal to testify about a possible crime in which you personally may have been involved, or from which you may knowingly have benefited, is a very bad idea; it suggests guilt and is likely to motivate the prosecution to dig harder. And however many times the Donald and his supporters chant "Witch hunt!", the simple fact is that Mueller has an obligation to clear this issue up.

Giuliani risks being charged as an accessory after the fact if, indeed, a crime is proved. Therefore he, like Trump, has an interest in making sure that it isn't. And if that involves making sure that the Rump isn't subjected to an interview in which (being pathologically unable to keep his trap shut) he might blurt out something incriminating, then that's what Giuliani will recommend.
0 # RLF 2018-07-10 05:24
It seems like this investigation keeps going and going, perhaps to save it for a time when the republicans can weather it better? Maybe after the election this Republican investigator will release some findings. I doubt we'll see anything before.

Giuliani get charged? You're dreaming there! Is there anything but a republican zealot on the courts these days?
0 # Working Class 2018-07-10 17:04
RLF - well Whitewater lasted approx 4 1/2 years. Started out looking into a suspect real estate deal and failing to develop into anything ended up about lying about a blow job. Now there was the crime of the century. I am no Clinton fan (either of them) but the time used so far to investigate whether our President is tied into the Russians is time well spent.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-11 12:00
The real blow job was what Ken Starr did to the American people. He helped intimidate Clinton and move him farther to the right and farther into Gingrich's arms. Mueller will go down as a national scale cock sucker, too.
+10 # Art947 2018-07-09 12:36
Guiliani proves on a daily basis that he is a bum who deserves the appellation, Mafiosa. His client, DJT, has been a crooked individual since the time that he was a youngster and has not changed his ways as he has grown in size. I look forward to both these individuals (I will not call them "men") being locked up with the key thrown away.
+6 # Blackjack 2018-07-09 12:50
Well, then, use the power of the law and subpoena the SOB to sit his fat as down!
That's how you sway public opinion!
0 # Robbee 2018-07-09 14:52
09 July 18 - "Rudy Giuliani said that President Trump will not agree to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller unless Mueller proves that the president has committed a crime" - "1984 meets animal farm?" - ridiculous!

- even dickhead's incoherent, "legal spokesman" cannot say what dickhead outright means? in point of fact! -

dickhead will be "dead and buried" long before he talks under oath!

dickhead will be "dead and buried" long before he releases his taxes!

dickhead will be "dead and buried" long before he speaks an honest word!

dickhead's mob DOES NOT VALUE HONESTY! - never did! look it up!

if america dreams that its megalomaniac prez will tell the truth under oath? america had better! wake up! and apologize! to reality!

in america's dysfunctional parallel universe we the people inhabit, only the opposite of what SHOULD RATIONALLY HAPPEN, happens! - if you don't believe me? consider the epa! consider ice! consider scotus! consider whatever!


don't it always seem to go?
that you don't know what you got till it's gone? - j mitchell


repukes will gladly do without humans! - neocons plan to depopulate the world! - vote like your life depen\ds on it! - if only because it does!

robbee's manifesto!
+1 # Working Class 2018-07-10 17:08
The Republican party has a platform that can’t prevail in democratic competition.
The above is borrowed from an article I recently read - it is so right-on I had to share it.
0 # MikeAF48 2018-07-09 14:59
Giuliani, slow down you're starting to develop some nostril muscle something unbecoming in a 89 year old man the edge of memory loss.
0 # MikeAF48 2018-07-09 15:51
Dear Mr. President public opinion is still in line with the truth you and Putin seem to have something special going on nothing is rigged on the left except the proof & truth I guess us Dems. just like it done our way. This whole Russia thing is beginning to play out well.
+1 # chapdrum 2018-07-09 18:14
Super-patriot Giuliani failed to give first responders what they needed, so on 9/11:
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-09 19:38
“If they can come to us and show us the basis and that it’s legitimate and that they have uncovered something, we can go from there and assess their objectivity,” Giuliani said.

I wonder why Mueller is being so tight-lipped about the nature of his investigation. Is Trump a suspect? Is he the target of a criminal investigation? No one seems to know. It seems kind of important to know if you are a criminal suspect before you talk to the police. And if you are a criminal suspect, then what is the crime you are suspected of committing? No one seems to know.

"Collusion" with Russians is not a crime. And all of the things Russians are alleged to have done are legal. They can place comments on the web or buy adverts. No one has suggested that they coordinated this with the Trump campaign. Does Mueller suspect that?

Firing Comey was not a crime. Comey deserved to be fired. He was a bad cop.

The whole case could be resolved quickly if Mueller would just open up. He should have regular press conferences so anyone could ask him questions. He should be required to reveal his sources -- after all, this is not an ordinary investigation. Or better yet, Mueller should have to sit down with Trump's attorney's and explain his actions under oath. I've seen Mueller testifying before congress several times. His standard answer is to plead ignorance. For example,
+2 # MikeAF48 2018-07-10 10:43
I got it blame it on the bossa nova.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.