Rudy Says Roger Stone Russian Meeting No Big Deal

Former NYC mayor tells CNN, CBS he doubts Trump knew anything of controversial friend's meeting, which amounted to nothing

President Donald Trump’s lawyer said Sunday the chief executive likely had no knowledge of a meeting between former campaign adviser Roger Stone and a Russian offering dirt on 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in exchange for $2 million.

The Washington Post reported on the meeting Sunday. Campaign aide Michael Caputo reportedly arranged the meeting in May 2016 between Stone and the Russian, Henry Greenberg. Neither Stone nor Caputo told congressional investigators about the meeting; according to The Post, the men said they had forgotten about it and only remembered it after they reviewed text messages about it.

By the time of the meeting, the Trump campaign had fired Stone. But he has known the president for decades and regularly advised Trump on an informal basis throughout the campaign. Both Stone and Caputo contend Greenberg was an FBI informant who was trying to set up the campaign.

Rudolph Giuliani, the former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor who recently joined Trump’s legal team, appeared on a pair of Sunday news shows to downplay the significance of the story. He said he doubts Trump even knew about the meeting.

“I certainly didn’t know about it,” he told CNN “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper. “It’s news to me. I just — I just read it here in The Washington Post.”

Giuliani said from The Post’s own reporting, Stone and Caputo determined that the meeting was a waste of time.

“I can’t imagine anything got back to the then-presidential candidate that was of any substance, if he had concluded it was a waste of time,” he said.

Giuliani made the same point on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked about the Stone-Greenberg meeting in the broader context of other contacts between Russians and campaign officials during the 2016 campaign.

“Sure there was contact, as there was in that meeting,” he said. “But that meeting led to nothing. This led to nothing. So, if anything, it’s proof there was no collusion.”

Giuliani told host Margaret Brennan he is not concerned about how the meeting might affect independent counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian inference in the campaign.

“The president of the United States did nothing wrong,” he said. “He had nothing to do with Russians. They can investigate, you know, from here to Timbuktu, and they’re not gonna find a darned thing.”

As to whether Greenberg actually was working on behalf of federal investigators, Giuliani told Tapper that he does not know.

“It sounds like [he was] a very strange guy. Was he an FBI informant or not?” he said. “Well, we know from the probe by the inspector general that the FBI at the highest levels here were doing very, very unorthodox things, if not out-and-out illegal and unethical.”

“The president has issued no pardons in this investigation. The president is not gonna issue pardons in this investigation.”

Giuliani, who sparked a mini-firestorm in the media last week after suggesting that Mueller’s investigation could be “cleaned up” with presidential pardons, said Sunday that he was not recommending that Trump issue pardons while the probe is ongoing.

“The president has issued no pardons in this investigation,” he told Tapper. “The president is not gonna issue pardons in this investigation.”

Doing so, Giuliani added, would “just cloud what is becoming now a very clear picture of an extremely unfair investigation with no — no criminality involved in it of any kind.”

But this does not mean former advisers who have been charged with crimes unrelated to collusion will never be pardoned, Giuliani added.

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“When it’s over, hey, he’s the president of the United States,” he said. “He retains his pardon power. Nobody is taking that away from him.  He can pardon in his judgment, based on the Justice Department, counsel’s office — not me. I’m out of it.”

Giuliani also called for an investigation of the genesis of the Mueller probe in light of an inspector general report pointing to anti-Trump bias of FBI officials who worked on the investigation of Clinton’s handling of classified information as secretary of state. Some of those officials also worked on the counterintelligence probe related to Russian meddling and later joined Mueller’s staff.

“We want the Mueller probe to be investigated, the way the Trump administration has been investigated,” he said. “And we would like to see a report with the conclusions, and we will find out then, is it as bad as some people think, or is it what I think, or is it nothing?”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.