- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
- In an interview with The New Yorker, Rudy Giuliani seemed to say he had heard audiotapes that proved a controversial and disputed BuzzFeed News report on President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen was false.
- But Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, then promptly walked back his statement, making it unclear what tapes he was referencing.
- BuzzFeed News reported that Cohen had said Trump instructed him to lie to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The report also said the special counsel Robert Mueller had learned of the allegation through Cohen, as well as other witnesses, documents, and text messages.
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal defense lawyer, alluded to hearing taped conversations between Trump and Michael Cohen during a freewheeling interview with The New Yorker.
Giuliani was questioned about a recent BuzzFeed News story that said Trump instructed Cohen, the president’s former longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to lie to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign season.
The report cited claims from two anonymous sources identified as “federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.”
The story also said there was corroborating evidence to support the allegation, including texts, emails, and a “cache of other documents.”
Speaking to Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker, Giuliani rejected the claims in the story and cited a rare public statement issued by the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office in response to the story that said significant parts of the report were inaccurate.
“The reality is that the President never talked to [Cohen] and told him to lie. And I don’t know what Cohen is saying, but certainly the idea that two federal agents said that there was corroboration is totally untrue,” Giuliani told The New Yorker.
Giuliani later added, “I can tell you, from the moment I read the story, I knew the story was false.”
When pressed on how he knew the BuzzFeed News report was false, Giuliani said, “Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed. And then, basically, when the special counsel said that, just in case there are any others I might not know about, they probably went through others and found the same thing.”
But the BuzzFeed News story never mentioned any tapes, prompting The New Yorker to ask Giuliani to clarify what he meant.
“I shouldn’t have said tapes. They alleged there were texts and e-mails that corroborated that Cohen was saying the President told him to lie. There were no texts, there were no e-mails, and the President never told him to lie,” Giuliani said.
When asked to further clarify that there were no tapes, Giuliani said, “No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.”
In short, Giuliani seemed to say he listened to audiotapes that prove the BuzzFeed News report is false, but then promptly said the tapes don’t exist. It’s possible that Giuliani was referencing the 183 recordings seized by federal prosecutors investigating Cohen in July, some of which included references to Trump, but it’s unclear.
Several statements Giuliani made to The New Yorker, as well as in other interviews in recent days, have in many ways offered more confusion than clarity to the narrative surrounding Trump, Cohen, and the investigation into Russian election interference. The president’s personal lawyer has exhibited a tendency to make perplexing remarks that he often ends up walking back on.
Consequently, a number of people close with the president “are genuinely perplexed/befuddled/frustrated” by Giuliani’s recent statements, The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey reported on Monday.
Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.