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 (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE — or to his legal team, of which Giuliani is a member — would be hugely controversial. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week 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 ManafortDOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report Former Mueller prosecutor representing Donoghue in congressional probes: report 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.”