In a Wednesday night interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani claimed he's never said there wasn't collusion between the president's campaign and Russia—only that Trump himself did not collude—sparking an immediate public discussion of both his and Trump's past public remarks to the contrary.
Over the last few months, Rudy Giuliani tweeted things like "No collusion, no obstruction," "Mueller’s crew has no evidence of collusion" and "NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION."
Now he says, "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign [and Russia]." https://t.co/u4ygNUYzLl
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) January 17, 2019
"I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign," Giuliani told Cuomo, who pushed back with a puzzled expression and said, "yes, you have."
Doubling down, Giuliani continued: "I have not. I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here: conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC."
"I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign... I have not. I said the President of the United States," Pres. Trump’s attorney @RudyGiuliani tells @ChrisCuomo https://t.co/Jy0gttT6Ac pic.twitter.com/JGISmtgrdy
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) January 17, 2019
The Daily Beast responded to the exchange on Twitter with a video clip of a previous Fox News interview in which Giuliani was asked, "Is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?" Giuliani simply responded, "Correct."
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 17, 2019
Others quickly pointed to Giuliani's various comments on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into allegations of Russian election interference and any potential collusion or obstruction of justice by Trump, his campaign, or his administration:
Trump team's collusion denials:
1) No contact
3) Contacts not *planned*
4) Okay planned, but not re: campaign
5) Okay, but not meaningful or used
6) Collusion is not a crime
7) Can't collude if you don't know Putin
8) Repeat 6
9) Maybe *someone* colludedhttps://t.co/oNYCsymF2A
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) January 17, 2019
"I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign [and Russia]. I have no idea" - Giuliani, 1/16/19
"There was no Russian collusion. We're now a year and a half, two years into this, no Russian collusion, case over" - Giuliani, 5/2/18
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 17, 2019
Giuliani previously garnered attention last summer, when he said during interviews that he's not even convinced collusion with a foreign government that is trying to influence a U.S. presidential election is actually a crime.
Trump, for his part, has called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt." The president has also tweeted: "Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX" and "The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!"
Giuliani's interview comes after a court filing revealed last week that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort gave 2016 presidential campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant who was previously an interpreter for his country's military and is said to have ties to its intelligence services.
The interview also comes amid speculation about when Mueller's report will finally arrive and who will get to see it. Trump's legal team reportedly may try to block it from being released to Congress and the public, but Giuliani denied that to Cuomo on Wednesday, claiming the president's lawyers just want the opportunity to see it first and respond.
Can't help but wonder what shoe may be about to drop in the Mueller investigation if Rudy Giuliani is on cable news saying things like, "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 17, 2019