With the President’s legal counsel’s endless determination to consistently move the goal posts, Rudy Giuliani moved them again on Friday over a potential interview between Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s lead lawyer told the New York Times that Mueller would need to prove that the President committed a crime before they would agree to sit down for an interview.
Giuliani set these conditions after passing his own Fourth of July deadline. Trump’s personal lawyer told Face the Nation last month that he expected to have a decision on whether they would agree to President Trump sitting down for an interview with Mueller by Independence Day. But on Wednesday, Giuliani told CBS News that he had “no decision” to announce.
Prior to this deadline, Trump’s lawyer had been asked why he was dragging out the chance of having that interview with the special counsel. He admitted at the time that he doesn’t want the President to do it. His reasons for this are that he believes Mueller is looking to trap the President with perjury. Giuliani has also set other conditions with limiting the questions given by the special counsel as well as reducing the amount of time that Mueller would question the President.
Giuliani’s recent demands
Giuliani’s latest demands of Mueller are clearly more attempts to delay that interview. Before becoming the President’s personal lawyer, his legal team had already expressed the view that President Trump shouldn’t agree to an interview. Their concerns presumably revolve around the fact that Trump is known for making false statements, and contradicting himself, and doing that in an interview would give Mueller a reason to charge him with lying to investigators.
And then there are the upcoming mid-term elections. Giuliani and pro-Trump Republicans are hoping to anticipate a deadline to end the investigation before the critical elections. Republicans have expressed fears that a report by the special counsel this year would influence the mid-terms and cause them to lose control of both the House and the Senate. Those fears were confirmed during a hearing with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein last month where House Republicans demanded that he end the investigation.
Rosenstein is the one who named Robert Mueller as the special counsel and is therefore considered his boss.
With Giuliani passing his own deadline, it’s likely that he’s openly attempting to sabotage a potential interview by making his latest demands on the public stage. This is interesting considering that Trump’s personal lawyer has called the negotiations that he and his legal team are having with Mueller and his prosecutors as “sensitive.”
“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.”
more demands and blocking other interviews
In league with House Republican efforts to paint Mueller’s investigation as illegitimate, Giuliani wants Robert Mueller to explain his legitimacy to conduct an investigation of obstruction of justice on the President. Specifically, Trump’s legal team wants Mueller to tell them how the Justice Department gave him that authority.
Republicans have continued to drive the point that the investigation has drifted from one about Russian meddling within the Trump campaign team, to one about Trump himself.
Trump’s lawyers also want evidence that Mueller has exhausted every investigative effort before asking the President questions. Giuliani says that they want to make sure there aren’t other people Mueller can get the information he needs from.
While Trump’s legal team drags this fight out with Mueller in public, they’ve quietly been contesting requests for interviews with other White House staff. Emmet Flood, the lead White House lawyer, wants to know what questions the special prosecutor will ask the President’s chief of staff John Kelly. Much like Giuliani, Flood wants to limit the questions Kelly would be asked. The special prosecutor reportedly made the request to question Kelly a month ago but it hasn’t happened yet.
Giuliani, along with Republicans, has continued to attack the special counsel claiming that Mueller’s legal team is biased. In recent months, House Republicans have publicly accused the Justice Department and the FBI of being anti-Trump. This is despite a report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Justice Department showing that there is no evidence of bias in either organization.
In recent months, we’ve seen Republicans and Giuliani do what they can to make Mueller’s investigation seem unfair. Giuliani even admits to the importance of using public opinion in this fight saying that no one would consider impeachment of the President if the public thought the investigation was unfair.
Here’s a segment on Giuliani’s latest demands on MSNBC.