Fresh off of his whirlwind Make America Suspicious Again tour on Fox News Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Rudy Giuliani spoke to ABC News to address perhaps the most existential threat to Donald Trump’s presidency: special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
News broke earlier this week that the special counsel’s office had formally notified Trump’s legal team in March that they were prepared to issue a subpoena to compel the president to testify before the grand jury if he refused to meet with Mueller voluntarily.
Since that story broke, all hell has broken loose. The last of Trump’s big name lawyers has “retired” from his legal team; the one lawyer left standing, Jay Sekulow, allegedly engineered the leak of a list of 49 questions the special counsel’s office is expected to ask the president if or when he testifies; and then the president hired Emmet Flood, a lawyer who made his name representing President Clinton during his failed impeachment defense.
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The question over the subpoena is now the most pressing issue in Washington. There’s some dispute among legal scholars over whether or not a sitting president can even be subpoenaed. Ken Starr, the special counsel during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, issued a subpoena to compel President Clinton to testify, but he later rescinded the subpoena when Clinton decided to meet with them voluntarily.
Giuliani, still settling-in as a newly minted member of Trump’s legal team, now has to answer these questions, and he doesn’t seem to have a clue – not about what’s on the horizon for his client, and certainly not what may be up Robert Mueller’s sleeve.
“I think it’s 50/50,” Giuliani told ABC News about the probability of a subpoena coming from the special counsel’s office. “But I got to prepare for that 50 percent.” He gave no indication of how a subpoena would be received by Trump, or if voluntary testimony was off the table.
The former mayor of New York also offered a rosy characterization of the hiring of impeachment specialist Emmet Flood. “I think Emmet was brought in because he represented Clinton during their subpoena battle,” he said, “and he knows a great deal about it.
In other words, there’s no fire here, people. Those firemen rushing into the building are just here to check the sprinkler system.
Later in the telephone interview, Giuliani tried to spin his meltdown on Sean Hannity’s show the night before as some kind of legal master stroke that neutralized any threats presented by Stormy Daniels or Michael Cohen.
“I think the investigation with him [Cohen] largely fell apart, with the loss of the campaign finance possible violation which never existed in the first place, but they sure thought it did,” he said.
“We don’t hear anything, see anything, see any documents that contradict what we’ve said,” he continued. “Some of the recollection is a little hazy because it came during a very busy period. But, I mean, on both sides it’s pretty clear. They may have a little differences here and there but nothing important.”
Giuliani joined Trump’s dwindling legal team in mid-April specifically to represent him in Mueller’s probe into collusion between the president’s 2016 campaign and the Russian intelligence operation to tip the election in Trump’s favor.
In fact, he told reporters that he expected to negotiate an end to Mueller’s investigation within two weeks of the day he was hired. That milestone will have come and gone the day after this story is published, and the end of this saga is nowhere in sight.