Rudy Giuliani said Monday that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller will respond to President Donald Trump’s legal team on the terms of a possible presidential interview this week, adding that he does not want the Russia investigation to influence the upcoming midterm elections.
“I think he will give us a decision this week on our counter-proposal,” Giuliani said during an interview Monday on Fox News. “We are coming down to his looking really bad by interfering in the election. I think he has to get it over with by the beginning — or early September.”
Trump’s legal team, which is led by Giuliani, last week replied to special counsel Mueller’s proposal for terms of a possible presidential interview, but would not disclose the details of the counter-offer.
Mueller is charged with investigating whether the Russian government colluded with Trump’s 2016 campaign, as well as related issues including possible obstruction of justice by the president.
While Trump’s legal team declined to outline the specifics of its counteroffer to Mueller’s team, Giuliani did say that their reply to the special counsel’s office included a restatement of their broader interest that Mueller’s investigation conclude “without further delay.”
The president and his allies have frequently denounced Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt” and the special counsel’s office as being staffed by partisan Democrats, even though Mueller himself is a registered Republican.
Giuliani has at times suggested he would advise the president against sitting down with Mueller, warning that such an interview could be a “perjury trap.” The former New York mayor has also previously indicated that Trump would not answer questions related to obstruction of justice, although he told POLITICO last week that questions on obstruction of justice are still on the table, but only if Mueller “can demonstrate to us he’s got a couple questions on obstruction that he doesn’t have the answer to, that he really needs the answer to and he hasn’t made up his mind that Trump is lying.”
Obstruction allegations against the president stem from a conversation former FBI Director James Comey claims to have had with Trump in which Comey said the president asked him to drop an investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has denied the accusations of obstruction.
In his Fox News interview Monday morning, Giuliani outlined the three-pronged defense that the president’s legal team would use against obstruction allegations: that the conversation Comey has claimed never actually occurred — even though Giuliani has previously conceded that it did — but also that the statement Comey claims Trump made would have been a recommendation, not an order, and that even if it was an order, it would not constitute obstruction because it would have been within Trump’s authority as the head of the executive branch.
Giuliani said he believes the Russia investigation should end in September, later adding that Mueller himself said that he may be able to get his report done by September 1.
“Absolutely it should be terminated,” Giuliani said. “He should put out his report, tell the American people what he has and they can evaluate it they are entitled to this information before he shouldn’t hold it try to manipulate the election the way Comey did, I don’t think he wants to do that.”