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Giuliani Talks about Mueller Investigation; Giuliani Talks about Cohen; Recap of the Giuliani Interview. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 30, 2018 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:30:00] RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: His character. I've practiced -- well, I've practiced --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You're calling him a pathological liar.

GIULIANI: I've practiced law for a long time. If you tape record your client and you lie to your client about it, you have no character. You forfeited your character. You forfeited your law license as far as I'm concerned. Who's going to --

CAMEROTA: Well, as far as you're concerned. But -- but --

GIULIANI: Would you retain a lawyer who secretly recorded you and lied to you about it?

CAMEROTA: What -- look, there's a lot of things in this scenario that I wouldn't do. But what's the law on the books that a lawyer can't record his client? Where's that law?

GIULIANI: Well, the attorney-client privilege. It's not a -- it's not a large and ethical rule and a subject of this --

CAMEROTA: But it's not really for disbarment. I mean you can record your client. Where's the rule?

GIULIANI: Without permission from your client? You can't record your client without permission from your client. It's outrageous. Go find me an ethics professor who wants to keep their job that's going to tell you that, Alisyn. That's absurd.

CAMEROTA: Why did you waive the attorney-client privilege for the Cohen tapes?

GIULIANI: So that -- because I know the whole tape. And I can bring out parts of the tape. For example, if I didn't waive it, I wouldn't be able to tell you that he cuts it off abruptly, which he does, right after the word "check," it ends. The next thing you hear is Don Junior in the conversation (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: And -- and what's your theory of -- what's your theory about that? Since we've already heard that there has been a conversation about payment for -- to, you know, keep quiet this story about the Playboy model and the affair. So what else is there? What do you think -- what -- in other words, we don't --

GIULIANI: I -- I -- what I don't know is what I don't know.

CAMEROTA: I guess my point is, we've already heard the juicy stuff. So you say it cuts off abruptly and you think that's a smoking gun. We've already heard the juicy stuff.

GIULIANI: I don't know there's a smoking gun. I just know that you don't do that with a tape and expect that it's going to be admitted into evidence.

CAMEROTA: But that's not doctored. That's a tape recorder turning off.

GIULIANI: I think it's unlikely that he turned it off during the conversation and so does the expert. Think about it this way. If I were surreptitiously recording your conversation and Trump didn't know it, Cuomo didn't know it, I'd have to go in like this and put it off in just the right time. Unlikely. More likely is, he came back home, he erased the portion that he wanted erased and then he tried to tape record a conversation that appears with Don Junior, might have gotten that too, and then he erased that.

CAMEROTA: Well, you've spoken to Donald Trump. What's the part --

GIULIANI: We'll never know what.

CAMEROTA: What's the part that was erased?

GIULIANI: I have no idea.

CAMEROTA: Does Donald Trump remember?

GIULIANI: No. How does he -- I'm going to tell him, you had a conversation with -- I don't think we have the date -- even a date for that. You had a conversation with him and he was taping it and you didn't know it.

CAMEROTA: Well, he was president-elect. Yes, I would think this would be a memorable one about paying for the rights of a story of a Playboy model.

GIULIANI: Oh, really? In the middle -- in the middle -- in the middle of a -- Alisyn, come on, be fair, they weren't talking about the Playboy model. Nobody talked to Donald Junior about the Playboy model. I'm not even --

CAMEROTA: This is what the whole conversation was about, paying the $150,000 to buy the rights for her story.

GIULIANI: Well, wait, let me -- no, it was not. You are -- you are confusing this -- you are confusing this fairly (ph) well (ph).

The second conversation is clearly about another subject. It may not even --

CAMEROTA: What second conversation?

GIULIANI: On the tape. CAMEROTA: Yes.

GIULIANI: He ends the conversation with the word "check" from the president, check.

CAMEROTA: To -- for the 120?

GIULIANI: Let me finish. Let me finish. Then, about three seconds later, you hear him say Don Junior. He might not even be talking to Don Junior. He may be saying, Don Junior is going to come here. Don Junior isn't going to come here. We don't know that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, so what. What does any of that have to do with hush money for the Playboy model?

GIULIANI: The he was doctoring tapes. He was doctoring tapes. He doctored at the word "check" he cut the tape off. That's called doctoring a tape.

CAMEROTA: If when you -- or maybe the tape turned off. Maybe the tape recorder turned off.

GIULIANI: Oh, yes, right, it just turned off and then it turned back on. No.

CAMEROTA: No, that's where it ends.

GIULIANI: It does -- it does not end on the word -- they at least said good-bye. I mean it didn't -- it did not end on the word "check." This is getting to be a silly conversation.

CAMEROTA: It is getting to be a silly conversation.

So let's talk about the larger issue. When you were a prosecutor --

GIULIANI: Maybe we should (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: In the Southern District of New York, if the subject of an investigation were loudly criticizing the investigation, were tweeting about it, was calling witnesses names, would you think that this subject of that investigation was getting a little bit nervous about the investigation?

GIULIANI: No, I would think it was an innocent man who maybe was tired of the fact he's been investigated to the tune of about $30 million or $40 million, had a couple of lives ruined that shouldn't be ruined and is innocent, hasn't done anything wrong.

CAMEROTA: As a former prosecutor --

GIULIANI: And the man happens to be a man that doesn't take things -- attacks on him lightly, as he shouldn't. It's his reputation. And he's the president of the United States. This is interfering with the ability to government. It's a horrible thing that Mueller is doing.

CAMEROTA: Why? How much time is President Trump spending on this? Why can't he govern while this is happening?

GIULIANI: You don't think it -- I mean you know how often I've had to interrupt him, and I try not to, and he's very good about it. But all during the time we've been going through this, we've been dealing with Iran, North Korea, China, trade, taxes. Jay Sekulow --

CAMEROTA: Yes. And why can't he go about his business and wait for Robert Mueller's investigation to wrap up?

GIULIANI: Because every day something new is tweeted that's unfair, untrue. You stop the news on CNN and say, Cohen has a damaging tape about the president of the United States.

CAMEROTA: A lot of that is because President Trump is tweeting it. He's starting the news cycle by tweeting these things about it.

GIULIANI: President Trump didn't tweet that Cohen had a tape about this Stormy Daniels or the -- or the -- the McDougal --

[08:35:05] CAMEROTA: Yes, I agree in that case, but a lot of this is driven by President Trump.

GIULIANI: A lot of -- almost all of these things are in response.

CAMEROTA: He keeps focusing more on North Korea or whatever else he's -- the tariffs and not tweets.

GIULIANI: Almost all of these things are in response. Almost all of them are in response.

CAMEROTA: Hold that thought, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI: No, no, I'm going to leave after this one. I'm sorry (ph).

CAMEROTA: Why? We've scared you away?

GIULIANI: Oh, yes, you scared me away. I look really scared.

No, it's starting to get useless.

CAMEROTA: No.

GIULIANI: This conversations getting really -- really, really petty and silly.

CAMEROTA: Remember when you said you would stay all day to talk about this.

GIULIANI: OK, I'll stay one more time, but you've got to get me some coffee.

CAMEROTA: OK. Got it.

We'll be right back.

Coffee coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: OK, back with us now for just a few more fleeting moments now that we have fueled him with coffee.

GIULIANI: That's right, I'm better now.

CAMEROTA: All right. Very good. We have President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani.

As you sit here today, Mr. Mayor, will the president ever sit down for an interview? Do you believe the president will ever sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller's investigators?

GIULIANI: Well, we sort of went through that. I --

CAMEROTA: I know. I'm just wondering, for (ph) the headlines --

GIULIANI: You want to put odds on it?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

GIULIANI: I think the odds are against it, but not -- I wouldn't be shocked because he wants to do it so badly. And, you know, on the -- on the negotiations about this, when they respond, they've been very reasonable. It's not -- it's not -- but then they don't respond. Then they just -- now it could be the Manafort trial is coming up and they're -- they're --

[08:40:11] CAMEROTA: And they're busy.

GIULIANI: Yes, that could be. That could be.

CAMEROTA: So when's the last --

GIULIANI: They're not that big a staff.

CAMEROTA: You're saying that where we are now is that you last made an overture to them with your conditions. Can you share with us?

GIULIANI: (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: You cannot share --

GIULIANI: I think they'd be upset if we did that.

CAMEROTA: OK.

GIULIANI: And they should be.

CAMEROTA: But you said what the president --

GIULIANI: (INAUDIBLE) --

GIULIANI: Would be willing to sit down in that condition (ph)?

GIULIANI: You can sort of figure out that it's in the area of collusion, not obstruction, and --

CAMEROTA: Meaning he would answer questions about collusion, not obstruction, or vice-versa?

GIULIANI: No, collusion, not obstruction. Obstruction we have -- we leave the legal defense do under Article 2 of the Constitution and also under some of the cases that say they have to demonstrate they can't get the information any other way. And they've gotten it in other way. Him tweeting. Him talking.

CAMEROTA: OK. So just so I -- in layman's terms, so I understand, you're saying that one of your conditions is that he will not answer questions about obstruction of justice?

GIULIANI: It is not -- yes. But maybe if they can show us one or two there we would consider it.

CAMEROTA: One or two what?

GIULIANI: One or two questions that they really need and we'd consider it.

CAMEROTA: OK. Fair enough.

GIULIANI: Our real concern about that is that they're going to set up a perjury trap. So the president says -- the Flynn conversation. The president says that conversation didn't take place. Comey said it took place. We -- if it took place, I could live with that. You could say that the president wasn't obstructing, just saying, you know, be good to him, go easy on him. I had that happen a lot of time as a prosecutor. It shouldn't obstruct an investigation, and it didn't. However, the president didn't say it. And it's far easier to charge perjury than it is to go through that very contorted obstruction argument.

CAMEROTA: So how many days ago was it that you submitted your conditions?

GIULIANI: Ten.

CAMEROTA: And you've not heard anything back from their team?

GIULIANI: And I think Jay has pestered them a few times.

CAMEROTA: OK. And at what point will you just make a final decision?

GIULIANI: Ah --

CAMEROTA: This feels like it's been going on for a long time, these negotiations, the back and forth.

GIULIANI: Yes. Yes, we're -- we're mindful of the fact that we'd like to get this over with by September. I do believe that Mueller does too. He said something in our meeting with him -- the last meeting we had with him where he -- where he thought that September was the date to get their report in. It makes sense. It's before -- well before the -- well, not well before, but enough before the November election so that you can't say you interfered with it one way or the other.

CAMEROTA: It's your impression from having spoken to the team that they want to wrap it up by September?

GIULIANI: Oh, I m--

CAMEROTA: Not just your desire?

GIULIANI: The only one I got it -- only impression I got that from is Mueller himself.

CAMEROTA: Mueller told you that?

GIULIANI: He said -- he talked about -- part of the negotiation is also timing. If we get an interview, we want to know that a report is going to come out within a fairly short period of time so we're not all sitting around, you know, biting our nails. And a lot of stuff -- speculation goes on. And they have said that, at that point, they had thought that September -- early September would be a good guideline. I may have read into that, that that's also a good time so you don't get accused of doing a Comey and getting involved in the election.

CAMEROTA: If he does not wrap it up by September, are you worried this will affect the midterms?

GIULIANI: Yes. I don't know which way. I mean, yes, people against him get excited about it. But it's one of his biggest rallying cries, you know, don't -- don't -- don't impeach. Vote Republican because they'll impeach.

I think it -- I think it sure as hell confuses the midterm and it could become a -- go off on a ridiculous thing about impeachment. We don't want the -- you know, I don't know, maybe you do. You don't want the American -- I don't think you want the American people voting on impeachment. You want them voting on taxes, Russia, China, North Korea, their lives.

CAMEROTA: And as you sit here today, despite all of the stuff that the president has said about how he doesn't think that Mueller can be trusted basically and doesn't think it's legitimate, you still believe that if today they came back to you and agreed to your conditions the president would sit down with Robert Mueller?

GIULIANI: You know, I -- yes, I do believe that. I'd probably have to go through those conditions one more time to make sure that some of the events of the last week and a half, Cohen events, haven't affected it. But here's the good news on that score, they're not involved right now with Cohen as far as I know. They have not taken up his offer, which has been made publicly.

CAMEROTA: Why wouldn't they take up his offer? He knows (INAUDIBLE) --

GIULIANI: Well, you know -- you know, I -- I -- I had dinner last night with a very -- very -- two very superb former prosecutors and they said that they turned down people when they were -- when they were seeking too much publicity because they fell inherently it would prejudice their investigation. If they think they have a pretty good case for a report and they include Cohen in it, and we can rip Cohen's credibility, you can undermine their entire report.

Remember, we're not going to go to trial. We're going to go to a report. You're going to end up -- I'll be here with my version of the report and they'll have their version of the report and the American people, in that sense, are going to decide it. Well, if you -- if you got a -- if you think you've got a pretty good case, maybe you don't want Cohen's baggage.

Now, the Southern District is different. The Southern District may want to prosecute other people. And then they got to worry about his baggage. And I think everyone knows the Southern District is not happy about lots of publicity. That's why I try to be very careful not to put out tapes but just respond to what they say.

[08:45:16] CAMEROTA: Rudy Giuliani --

GIULIANI: Thank you. We'll be back.

CAMEROTA: We appreciate you being here. We appreciate all of the time.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Hope you liked the coffee.

GIULIANI: I did. It was worth it.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

Jeffrey Toobin is standing by, as is John Avlon and David Gregory. We'll analyze everything the president's attorney just told us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: We are back now to talk more about this interview that you just had with Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer. Here to discuss it, our chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon.

So, Jeffrey, a few points that stand out to me. Giuliani suggesting that Mueller has a conflict, even though he's been cleared. He would not disclose what those details are despite the fact that the president has raised this too. He suggests essentially that the Mueller investigation is over, that there couldn't be any more to investigate. That it's simply over. And he also makes the point, we're going to a report, quite confident that there won't be any charges here leveled against the president or anyone close to the president. He calls Michael Cohen, the president's fixer/lawyer, a scumbag and said would never be called as a witness because he has this credibility problem for recording the president, his client. [08:50:15] And on -- as to whether there will ever be an interview, he wouldn't rule it out. They've had some trouble getting connected on this point, that the president still wants to do it because he wants to clear his name and didn't do anything wrong.

What stands out to you from all of that so far?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the fact that, you know, we are at a moment where I think everyone is so dug in on their positions. You know, we have spent so much time saying, thinking, well, this is a big turning point in the investigation and in people's perceptions of Donald Trump and nothing ever changes. I mean, you know, the Helsinki summit doesn't change. The kids at the border doesn't change. And I think this investigation, by and large, the American people, according to polls, have made up their minds, like everything else with the Trump presidency, 50 plus percent don't like him, 40 percent like him. And I don't think anything I heard today from Mayor Giuliani is likely to change that.

CAMEROTA: But just to be clear, Jeffrey, the Helsinki summit did change things. The polls did change after that. I mean the polls taken most recently after that did show, particularly as we've been pointing out in those three states, you know, I think it was Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, that his numbers are way upside down. They've dipped below that 40 percent that you were talking about.

TOOBIN: But the polls, at least as I have read them, is that nothing nationally has really changed in terms of -- even after -- people disapprove of his performance in Helsinki, but overall perceptions of Donald Trump have not changed, I don't think.

GREGORY: The other -- the other point, John, is that I think, you know, we can analyze the legal machinations. And there's so much we don't know despite how much we talked about this.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.

GREGORY: But this is fundamentally a political process. And the most revealing part of what Rudy said to you is actually, there will be a report and I will be here arguing my interpretation of the report and they will argue theirs. So the point is -- and I think you're right, there has been a fundamental judgment. It depends what we learn, of course, but people are dug in at this point and they have done a pretty effective job at taking -- trying to take down Mueller, the process, everything that went into it.

AVLON: Right. And, look, Rudy's been very clear that his job is to play to the court of public opinion. You all know I worked for Rudy for many years as his chief speechwriter and when he was mayor of New York. His job now, as he sees it, is to provide the best defense possible for his client in the court of public opinion.

And, you know, hard partisans are dug in. There still are some persuadables and, as Rudy's also been clear, and I think we recognize, the question of impeachment is ultimately a political one.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

AVLON: There's the legal standard itself and they're clearly expecting at least two reports, obstruction, which they don't believe is legitimate. Rudy said they've come up with a legal theory why obstruction is impossible potentially for this president, and the collusion. And Rudy also very clearly said that he isn't even sure if collusion is a crime. The hacking may be a crime.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

AVLON: But using hacked information may not rise to that standard. So there's a little -- he's showing you a little bit of their strategy there.

CAMEROTA: Well, I can see that. Yes.

TOOBIN: But I think Mayor Giuliani is clearly correct that this is about a report ultimately. Under Justice Department policy, even if Mueller developed evidence that the -- that the president had committed a crime, I think it's quite clear that he would not indict him. So he is going to present something to the public, to Congress --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

TOOBIN: Rod Rosenstein about the president's conduct and that will then be debated here and elsewhere --

CAMEROTA: A couple of things on that. I mean I think that it's hard to draw a conclusion before the conclusion of the investigation. So, I mean, but that's what we're doing now.

TOOBIN: Yes. Yes.

CAMEROTA: That's what we're talking about, is like people are dug in. Well, people haven't heard the final report and we all look forward to hearing that.

But about that crime, he said the only crime is the hacking. That's the original crime. Is that the only possible crime?

TOOBIN: I'm not -- I don't think that's true. For example, the hacking case that was just brought was in fact, you know, about hacked e-mails that were then given to WikiLeaks who were then released to the public. Remember the other prosecution of the social media case where those were not -- that was not hacking. That was -- that was putting in circulation from Russia on FaceBook, on Twitter, on Instagram information that was in violation of our campaign laws. That was charged as a --

CAMEROTA: Obstruction of --

TOOBIN: That was charged as a conspiracy to defraud the United States. If it could be found that people on the Trump campaign aided and abetted that, that could certainly be seen as a crime.

GREGORY: Right. And this is why -- this is why the meeting, you know, when some -- when somebody presents with opposition research on Hillary Clinton and they're representing the Russians, the fact that they were open for business to get that kind of opposition research, the fact that he encouraged hacking to go on. Again, we don't know where it trips up as a potential crime or those around him, or whether there's a financial relationship with the Russians. This is the part where we simply don't know about any potential charges.

[08:55:07] AVLON: And that's where the rubber's going to meet the road. And that's why, you know, ultimately, judgment shouldn't be embedded in people's partisan affiliation. We need to be look at the facts. We know the president, for example, saying Russia, if you're listening, you know, the -- Rudy made the point that some of Trump's tweets address -- provide plenty of information he argued for the special counsel.

But there are also things that Rudy didn't touch. For example, the question of the blank number -- the blind number that Don Junior called after hearing the offer from the Russians.

CAMEROTA: The blocked number. He said he didn't know.

AVLON: He said he didn't know anything about that.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

AVLON: Now, that's a significant point that one presumably will find out the truth.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Despite all of this, Jeffrey --

TOOBIN: Yes, ma'am.

CAMEROTA: Despite all of the criticism of Robert Mueller, all of the calling the investigation names and a witch hunt, Rudy Giuliani said the president would still sit down with Robert Mueller if they agreed to the conditions. I mean, again, I never know if this is like me saying that I want to work out. It's never going to happen, but like I have the intention some day to do it.

TOOBIN: I -- you look fit.

CAMEROTA: I appreciate that.

TOOBIN: (INAUDIBLE) -- you don't need -- you don't need to work out.

CAMEROTA: I appreciate that. That's why I've been (INAUDIBLE) on that, actually.

TOOBIN: That's right.

But the -- this is like "Groundhog Day" with this -- every -- you know, with this discussion about whether he's going to testify. You know, we've heard this for many months there was a date set in January for a potential interview of the president at Camp David back when it was a different set of lawyers involved. It certainly doesn't look like this interview is going to take place. But it's important to remember, as we were discussing earlier, it's not entirely up to the president. There is also the question of whether there will be a subpoena and whether the courts will force an interview. So that remains a possibility out there.

GREGORY: It's just so important to button this up. There's so much we don't know. What we know are people who are willing to fight about this publicly. We do not know what the special prosecutor has based on his own interviews.

CAMEROTA: Well, Rudy said to look to September, that that was his impression. So --

AVLON: For Mueller.

CAMEROTA: Wait for that.

GREGORY: Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jeffrey Toobin, John Avalon, David Gregory, thank you all so much for a great Monday.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow picks up after this quick break. We'll see you tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)