Donald Trump’s circle of “best people” is incredibly small, a reality which has become ever more clear as members of his cabinet jump ship faster than rats on the Titanic. That’s why everyone seemed shocked when Trump tapped former campaign adviser Rudy Giuliani to lead his legal team in the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election led by Robert Mueller.
Now, Giuliani has confessed to The Huffington Post that the FBI recently interviewed him regarding a comment he made as a campaign adviser to Trump in 2016 when he predicted a “surprise” in the final days of the presidential race that would ultimately benefit Donald Trump.
Though Giuliani never publicly specified what the surprise was, Trump’s nemesis Hillary Clinton got one in the form of the Comey memo, a move which analysts from both sides of the political aisle believe handed Trump the election (even though he lost the popular vote).
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“That’s all they asked about,” Giuliani confessed to HuffPost Tuesday. “What was I talking about in terms of ‘surprise?’ What was I talking about when I was talking about ‘new information?’”
Last week, HuffPost ran a separate piece on a report issued by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (colloquially referred to as the “IG report”) which was incredibly critical of James Comey and his handling of the Clinton email probe.
Though they found no political bias in his motivations to release the memo, the report indicated fears of a potential leak from the field office which led FBI officials to advise then-Director Comey to tell Congress on October 28, just over a week before Election Day, that the Bureau had reopened its investigation into Clinton.
The investigation closed days before the election, but the damage was done. Trump gained just 78,000 extra votes in critical swing states, a small enough margin to hand him the electoral college victory.
HuffPost reports that neither the Inspector General’s office nor the FBI have replied for comment in the wake of Giuliani’s revelation.
Fears of leaks from the FBI’s New York field office are nothing new, as Giuliani’s attachment to Trump gave his campaign an upper hand given that Giuliani was the former U.S. Attorney for New York’s Southern District and had connections therein.
Not only that, but given that New York is home to the greatest “legal” scam in American history, Wall Street and the stock market, there were many “big Trumpers” in the New York field office. Comey himself conceded that there was a “cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton,” according to Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s statement to the inspector general.
In spite of all the concern, Giuliani told HuffPost that he claimed to the FBI agents he had neither inside knowledge of the status of the email probe nor advance warning of the October 28 Comey memo.
Supposedly, Giuliani merely speculated that FBI agents were were so upset by Comey’s earlier decision not to charge Clinton with any crimes that they would “revolt,” either by leaking damaging information about her or by resigning en masse.
(The latter only came to pass once Trump took office, of course.)
Giuliani claims that the “surprise” he mentioned was a 20-minute television ad he had been urging Trump to purchase so he could make a speech criticizing Comey. He repeated his insistence that he hadn’t received any leaks from the FBI.
This excuse is a bit hard to believe, considering Trump never misses an opportunity for a photo-op or to hear himself talk. He’s also a TV veteran, having hosted “The Apprentice” and various iterations for most of the early aughts. That a confidante like Giuliani was unable to convince Trump to get in front of a camera is puzzling, to say the least.
Giuliani says he received the initial call from FBI agents in February while he was in Bogota, Colombia before a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. He said they coordinated a meeting after a brief phone call for a time when he was back on American soil.
That meeting would take place a week and a half after the phone call at a Trump property in Washington, D.C.
“It was at the Trump hotel, believe it or not,” Giuliani said. “They said they would come to me, and I said that was the place to do it.”
Technically, Giuliani was still a private citizen at this point. Even though he had been an adviser on the campaign, he wouldn’t formally rejoin Trump’s team for two more months as a legal adviser, after Ty Cobb’s abrupt departure.
Apparently, Giuliani was in D.C. coincidentally that week, handling matters for one of his private businesses. As a friend and ally of Trump, he frequently stays at Trump properties.
No questions were asked of Russia, as Giuliani is probably too much of a loose cannon to have been involved in that particular subversion of American democracy. The questions pertained only to his “surprise” comment and how it might have related to the Comey memo. One of Giuliani’s private security guards was reportedly also present to oversee the interview, which was not recorded.
“They seemed like straight kids,” he said of the agents.
Giuliani’s disclosure of the February interview confirms the existence of a Justice Department investigation into leaks from the Bureau’s New York field office that may have cost Clinton the election, making it the third known federal probe related to the Trump team.
The first and most well-known is Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling.
The second is the investigation into another of Trump’s high-profile attorneys, Michael Cohen, whose office, home, and hotel room were raided by the FBI earlier this year over his business dealings. Specifically, agents were interested in Cohen’s involvement in the $130,000 hush payment Trump paid to adult film star and former mistress Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford.
All three of these investigations are still very much open, despite of Trump continually calling them “witch hunts,” even after his former campaign manager Paul Manafort was jailed amid allegations of witness tampering while awaiting trial for his December 2017 indictment.
Unlike Manafort, Giuliani seems to believe that the interview went well enough and doesn’t seem to fear jail time pertaining to his curious statement.
“They said they were satisfied,” Giuliani said of the two agents who interviewed him. “If they want to interview me all over again? They can interview me all over again. … Maybe they’ll come raid my office like Michael Cohen.”
Be careful what you wish for, Rudy… it just might come true.