Giuliani denies Trump team wants early look at Mueller report

Rudy Giuliani insisted in an interview with The Hill on Friday that the president’s legal team had not asked for a special preview of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s report.

“We have not made any request, we have not made any demand,” he told The Hill.

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An Associated Press tweet earlier on Friday had suggested that Trump’s lawyers wanted an “early look at Mueller's findings before they are made public.” 

It attributed that statement to Giuliani, but not as a direct quote. 

Pressed on the apparent confusion, Giuliani said the comment that formed the basis of the AP report “probably goes back a week ago, before they did this.” 

The Mueller report was sent to Attorney General William Barr without any additional comment from the special counsel.

“They did it properly, so there is no reason to ask [for] anything other than that,” Giuliani said.

Barr has said he may be able to provide a summary of Mueller’s findings to the top members of the Senate and House Judiciary committees as soon as this weekend. A public release of the report could potentially take longer, especially if there are claims from parties involved that information contained within it is privileged.

Any early access provided to President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE — or to his legal team, of which Giuliani is a member — would be hugely controversial. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference MORE (D-N.Y.) insisted that “Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence,” in a joint statement released soon after news broke that the report had been delivered. 

“The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public,” the duo added.

The White House has suggested, but not definitively stated, that it will stay within those guide-rails. 

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “the next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”

The political world is at fever pitch about the report on the 22-month Mueller investigation. The probe has led to more than 30 indictments. 

Several former Trump aides have pleaded guilty or been convicted including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEx-Obama White House counsel's trial set for August House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report New normal: A president can freely interfere with investigations without going to jail MORE and Manafort’s erstwhile deputy Richard Gates.

But defenders of the president have emphasized that none of those cases, so far, has involved collusion with Russia to sway the outcome of the 2016 election — the core of Mueller’s investigation.

The special counsel, who is a former director of the FBI, also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice.

Multiple outlets reported on Friday that no further indictments are expected.

That is welcome news for the Trump team but it does not necessarily clear the president. Most legal experts believe a sitting president cannot be indicted. There is also the possibility that Mueller could have uncovered information that does not rise to a criminal level but which would be politically embarrassing.

On the other hand, expectations among the president’s critics have risen so high that an underwhelming Mueller report would badly deflate them.

In an earlier conversation with The Hill on Friday afternoon, before it became apparent that the report had been delivered, Giuliani continued to protest his client’s innocence but stopped short of making any predictions as to what Mueller would say.

“I have no idea what the findings will be, but I am very confident in the facts,” he said.

In his second interview, after the news broke, Giuliani welcomed the end of the probe.

“Obviously we are happy that the collusion and obstruction of justice investigations are over," he said. “We believe the attorney general will handle it properly and the Justice Department will handle it properly. And when any facts come out, we will we able to respond.”