US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, has claimed that he “never said there was no collusion” between members of Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials — but he did say that Mr Trump himself never colluded with Russian officials.
According to Fox News, the former New York City mayor also said on CNN that “if the collusion happened, it happened a long time ago. It’s either provable or it’s not. It is not provable because it never happened … I’m telling you there’s no chance it happened.”
Mr Trump previously denied any member of his campaign conspired with Russian officials. In May 2017, Mr Trump flatly stated: “There is no collusion, certainly myself and my campaign.”
Mr Giuliani made the startling statements during a contentious conversation with CNN journalist Chris Cuomo about allegations against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller last week.
Prosecutors said Mr Manafort lied to them about sharing internal Trump campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian businessman with alleged links to Russian intelligence.
Mr Giuliani admitted that Mr Manafort was “wrong” to give the data to Mr Kilimnik, but said “polling data is given to everybody.”
“There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here [and] conspired with the Russians to hack the [Democratic National Committee],” Mr Giuliani said.
“First of all, crime is not the bar of accountability for a president,” Mr Cuomo responded. “It’s about what you knew, what was right, what was wrong and what did you deceive about.”
“The president did not collude with the Russians, whatever collusion is,” Mr Giuliani shot back, later adding that “I have no idea, never have, what other people [on the campaign] were doing.”
“But [Mr Manafort] ran his campaign,” Mr Cuomo said.
Mr Giuliani also repeated his call for Mr Mueller to wrap up his investigation quickly, saying the probe was “over enough” and calling it “the most inappropriate investigation I’ve ever seen conducted on an ethical level that’s disgusting.”
“We’ve answered all the questions on collusion,” Mr Giuliani said. “We don’t need a special counsel to investigate a campaign chairman. We have [Mueller] because the President of the United States is involved as a subject.”
This story was originally published on Fox News and is reprinted with permission.