President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE's attorney Rudy Giuliani hit the Sunday morning show circuit to go on the offensive following escalating speculation that Trump's former longtime attorney and personal fixer, Michael Cohen, may turn on the president.
Giuliani insisted to Fox News’s Chris Wallace that he doesn’t believe the president’s camp is “at war” with Cohen, but his charges that Cohen is a “liar,” a “manipulator” and a “scoundrel” suggested otherwise.
"It seems to me his default position is to lie," Giuliani said on "Fox News Sunday."
"He's a bad liar because he lies in contradiction to tapes and he lies in contradiction to what I just said is probably supported by anywhere from two to five witnesses," he added.
Cohen is under investigation in New York’s Southern District for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He has appeared increasingly willing to cooperate with investigators in recent weeks, and the revelation that Cohen secretly recorded conversations has raised questions about what incriminating information he may have on the president.
Cohen raised the stakes when he reportedly claimed that then-candidate Trump knew of his son's plans to meet with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during his 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen indicated he is willing to tell as much to 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. The president and his allies have repeatedly denied having known about the sit-down.
Giuliani on Sunday sought to quell speculation over whether there are additional recordings featuring Trump.
Giuliani told CBS's "Face the Nation" that Trump's legal team is aware of 183 separate conversations that Cohen recorded. Of those, he said Trump is "discussed at any length" on 11 or 12, and is only recorded on one tape.
CNN aired audio from that tape last week, which features Cohen and the president discussing the possibility of purchasing the account of a former Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
But the CNN tape clears Trump of wrongdoing in that matter, Giuliani argued. The lawyer said Cohen's propensity to record conversations made Cohen's Trump Tower claim suspect.
"If he taped everything else, why the heck didn't he tape this? It's not on tape," he said on Fox.
"And he's capable, I think, unfortunately, of doctoring tapes," he continued. "Hasn't done that. It would be hard to do that now since we have an expert all over it. So it's just flat-out untrue."
Giuliani said Trump's anger over the recordings has faded into disappointment. However, that has not prevented the two men from waging a barrage of attacks on Cohen's credibility.
The president last week asked "what kind of lawyer would tape a client," while Giuliani leading up to Sunday branded him a "pathological liar."
On Friday, Trump accused Cohen of "trying to make up stories" to wriggle out of his own legal problems.
On Sunday, the president resurfaced an old tweet from Cohen in which the president's longtime fixer praised Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpHow Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents MORE, for being "transparent" in sharing the emails surrounding the Trump Tower meeting.
Lanny Davis, whom Cohen hired as an attorney earlier this month, has provided few public comments since CNN aired the audio, but he has professed that the "truth is on our side." Davis is a columnist for The Hill.
The shift to a credibility war signals a change in tone from Trump's legal team, which, for weeks, has downplayed concerns that Cohen could pose a legal threat to the president.
On both his CBS and Fox appearances, Giuliani was presented with video of an interview he gave earlier this year in which he encouraged Cohen to cooperate with the government, and praised him as an "honorable lawyer."
“Now I've listened, unfortunately — fortunately from my client's point of view — to many, many hours of tapes and the man is a pathological manipulator, liar,” Giuliani said Sunday on Fox.
“I didn't know that,” he added. “I didn't know him well, but I had — I knew nothing bad about Michael Cohen until all of this started to happen in the last couple of weeks.”