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Giuliani says Trump legal team wants 'factual basis' for Mueller interview

He says Mueller needs to prove investigation is not a "witch hunt" before Trump agrees to interview.
Image: Rudy Giuliani Meet the Press
Rudy Giuliani speaks with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on July 8, 2018.NBC

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday that the president wants to testify in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, but his legal team won't recommend an interview unless "they can satisfy us that there is some basis for this investigation."

Giuliani said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Trump's legal team is asking investigators for a "factual basis" for any interview. "We're not asking to show us that he committed a crime," he said. "Of course he didn't commit a crime. They can investigate forever. They're not going to find any of that. What we're asking them for is: Is this the witch hunt that a lot of people think it is? Or is there a factual basis for this?"

Giuliani emphatically stated on Sunday that the president’s hypothetical testimony about a key Trump Tower meeting with Russians in June 2016 would “be exactly the same” as those who attended, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, but noted there is “real, real hesitation” about letting the president provide that testimony.

An individual working on behalf of Russians ahead of that New York meeting told Trump Jr. that the Russians had damaging information on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

“The president is very anxious to testify because he’s done nothing wrong,” Giuliani said, adding: “Please be clear. President Trump wants to testify. We have to hold him back.”

“There was no discussion with [President Trump] about this [meeting], and nothing happened from it,” he said.

Giuliani said the president’s legal team has determined the investigation seems “kind of really shaky” and believe it is an “attempt to trap [the president] in perjury.”

“It's our firm belief, and we think nothing contradicts this, the president did nothing wrong,” he added. “In all the leaking that's gone on there's been no leak of any fact that's said the president conspired with anybody in Russia.”

Giuliani said the president and his legal team “await the decision of the independent counsel” on an interview request.

Giuliani also welcomed the cooperation of Michael Cohen, Trump’s now-former personal lawyer, with federal investigators.

“If he wants to cooperate, I think it’s great,” he said, suggesting Cohen has “no evidence” that he was “involved in anything untoward with the president. The fact is that Michael has been a victim here like a lot of other people.”

“It’s going to lead to nothing,” Giuliani said about Cohen’s potential testimony.

Amid the investigation into the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia, which has resulted in multiple indictments and guilty pleas, the president will now meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month to discuss the two countries’ relations.

“He has to sit down with Vladimir Putin,” he said, noting Trump’s willingness to meet with the foreign agitator is “a sign of how confident the president is that he did nothing wrong. He’s not going to be stopped by this.”