- Joshua Roberts/Reuters
- Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lead defense attorney, on Saturday walked back his earlier admission to HuffPost that Trump intervened in the Time Warner-AT&T merger to try to kill the deal.
- Giuliani told CNN Saturday that Trump “didn’t interfere” with the merger.
- His comments to HuffPost are the latest in a string of unexpected – and potentially damaging – admissions he has made about Trump in recent days.
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lead personal defense lawyer, sought to walk back a potentially explosive claim in which he suggested the president intervened in the Time Warner-AT&T merger being scrutinized by the US Department of Justice.
Giuliani told CNN Saturday that Trump “didn’t interfere” with the merger.
However, in an interview with HuffPost published on Friday night, Giuliani asserted that Trump has been unreceptive to lobbying efforts and pointed to the Time Warner merger as an example. “He did drain the swamp … The president denied the merger. They didn’t get the result they wanted,” Giuliani said according to HuffPost.
It was not immediately clear whether Giuliani was saying emphatically that Trump personally intervened to kill the $85 billion merger, but Trump has publicly expressed his disdain for it. On Friday, he seemed to respond to the HuffPost article, by railing against media outlets.
The telecom giant and the US government have been arguing their respective cases in court.
Giuliani’s comments to HuffPost follow a number of unexpected admissions about Trump and his involvement in some of the scandals that have roiled his administration of late.
Earlier this month, the former New York mayor sent shockwaves through Washington when he said on national television that Trump had “reimbursed” his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment Cohen made in October 2016 to the porn star Stormy Daniels, who alleges to have had an affair with Trump in the mid-2000s.
The statement threw a wrench into Trump’s prior claims that he had not been aware of the payment until the media reported on it earlier this year.
Giuliani later said Trump was not aware of the specifics of the payment, and that his reimbursement to Cohen had been in the form of monthly payments made as a retainer, and that the money covered any expenses Cohen incurred on Trump’s behalf.
Meanwhile, Giuliani attracted scrutiny on Friday when he referred to Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Daniels, as a “pimp” in an interview with Business Insider.
Avenatti challenged Giuliani to a debate on national television earlier this week, tweeting that it would be “helpful for the public to witness a discussion between Mr. Giuliani and me concerning the facts of the case, etc.”
Giuliani, responding to the challenge, told Business Insider he wouldn’t debate Avenatti because the lawyer was “pimping for money.”
“I don’t get involved with pimps,” Giuliani said. “The media loves to give him room because he makes these roundabout charges and they turn out to mean nothing. I think he’s going to get himself in serious trouble.”
Avenatti fired back at Giuliani on Twitter Friday evening, posting a 2000 video of Giuliani dressed in drag with Trump performing a skit for the then-mayor’s Inner Circle Press Roast.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 11, 2018