The Slatest

Giuliani Acknowledges Trump May Have Talked to Cohen About Testimony: “So What?”

Rudy Giuliani and Jennifer LeBlanc arrive in the East Room before President Donald Trump introduces Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court at the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Rudy Giuliani and Jennifer LeBlanc arrive in the East Room before President Donald Trump introduces Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court at the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani didn’t do his client any favors Sunday, acknowledging on CNN that it was possible President Donald Trump spoke with Michael Cohen before his testimony to Congress. In discussing a BuzzFeed story that claims Trump told his longtime personal lawyer to lie about negotiations on a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Giuliani said he had no knowledge of any talks. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, although Giuliani did categorically deny Trump told Cohen to lie.

“As far as I know, President Trump did not have discussions with him, certainly had no discussions with him in which he told him or counseled him to lie,” Giuliani said. “If he had any discussions with him, they’d be about the version of the events that Michael Cohen gave them, which they all believed was true. I believed it was true. I still believe it may be true, because, unlike these people who want to just believe him, I believe Michael Cohen is a serial liar.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper went back on that point and pressed Giuliani on what seemed like an admission that Trump and Cohen may have spoken. Giuliani shrugged off the question as irrelevant, saying it “would be perfectly normal.” When Tapper pressed further, Giuliani got a bit defensive. “I don’t know if it happened or didn’t happen. And it might be attorney-client-privileged if it happened, where I can’t acknowledge it,” he said. “But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him. But I’m telling you, I wasn’t there then.” When Tapper pressed the issue, Giuliani finally said: “So what if he talked to him about it?”

Many people immediately expressed exasperation that a former prosecutor would think such an action would be “perfectly normal.” One of those critics was George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and frequent Trump critic on social media. “’Perfectly normal?’” Conway tweeted. “It’s perfectly insane for witnesses in or subjects of a criminal investigation to be discussing testimony.”

Conway then wrote that he was “trying to imagine what the reaction of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1988 would have been to this ‘perfectly normal’ assertion—and just can’t.”