President Donald Trump doesn’t “have to” comply with special counsel Robert Mueller’s subpoena to testify because he “can assert the same privilege as other presidents have,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday on the ABC News show “This Week.”
Giuliani, who now serves on Trump’s personal legal team, also told host George Stephanopoulos the president should get the “Hillary Clinton” treatment instead of hours of grilling under oath by Mueller’s team.
Clinton, whom the FBI investigated for using a private email server to conduct official business as secretary of state, was interviewed without having been sworn in under oath, and no one prepared a transcript of the relatively brief discussion. Clinton also received the FBI’s questions in advance.
The only record of the interview are the notes the interviewing agents composed on what is known as a “302.” It is also not usually the FBI’s practice to place individuals under oath because lying to federal agents is a crime in any case.
“We don’t have to,” Giuliani replied when Stephanopoulos asked him if Trump’s team would “comply” with a subpoena from Mueller. “He’s the president of the United States. We can assert the same privilege as other presidents have. President [Bill] Clinton negotiated a deal in which he didn’t admit the effectiveness of the subpoena.”
Noting that Bill Clinton “did testify before the grand jury,” Stephanopoulos asked Giuliani if Trump would be “willing to do that.”
“But only for two and a half hours, only with an arranged format. Would we be willing to do that? I would rather have the Hillary Clinton treatment,” Giuliani said. “No, [Bill Clinton] was two and a half hours in the grand jury, approximately, maybe three … But Hillary Clinton treatment is what I’m looking for. And that is no under oath, only a Q&A, and then we get the questions in advance, and they write the report two weeks before.”
Although Trump “wants to testify” and clear his name as part of Mueller’s probe into allegations that his campaign colluded with Russian interests during the 2016 presidential campaign, Giuliani warned that Trump must be made aware of “the risk that he’s taking.”
“So he may testify. And we may actually work things out with Bob Mueller, because working with him directly is good,” Giuliani said. “But if they keep undermining it, and we have situations like Judge Ellis saying that they’re out of control and they’re not authorized, and they refuse to give the judge their authorization, what’s going on with that, George? God almighty.”
Giuliani was referring to the federal judge who rebuked Mueller Friday for his treatment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faces unrelated charges of bank fraud as a result of Mueller’s scrutiny.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Ellis told Mueller prosecutor Michael Dreeben as he accused the special counsel of pursuing Manafort in the hope it would lead to “prosecution or impeachment” of Trump.
“That’s what you’re really interested in,” Ellis added.
Giuliani told Stephanopoulos that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should shut down Mueller’s investigation because “there’s no question that the amount of government misconduct is accumulating.”
“I happen to believe it’s greater than anybody realizes. Very embarrassing to my former Justice Department,” Giuliani said.
Although Giuliani admitted that he “came into this case with a desire” to allow Trump to speak with Mueller’s team, he lamented that “they just keep convincing me not to do it” because investigators are so focused on discovering what Trump’s motives were for firing former FBI Director James Comey, among other issues unrelated to collusion with Russian interests.
“Maybe [Mueller’s] less concerned [about collusion] now after Judge Ellis gave a pretty good indication that he might toss the case for government misconduct, that he might not even have authority to conduct this investigation, might have to go back to the east district of Virginia,” Giuliani said.
Although Giuliani said he wished Trump could speak to Mueller without any fear, he warned that the special counsel’s team merely is trying to catch Trump in a perjury trap. Giuliani said he wasn’t advising Trump to speak to Mueller at this time “because I wouldn’t be an attorney if I did that.”
“I would be living in some kind of unreal fantasy world that everybody tells the truth,” Giuliani said. “They don’t have a case on collusion. They don’t have a case on obstruction, which is why they’re asking all of these cockamamie questions about ‘What do you feel? What do you think?'”