Rudy Giuliani called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to intervene in the Michael Cohen case and put the people behind the probe “under investigation” in a phone call with The Hill on Thursday.
“I am waiting for the Attorney General to step in, in his role as defender of justice, and put these people under investigation,” Giuliani said. He was reacting to an NBC News report that had initially stated phones belonging to Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, had been tapped by investigators.
The former New York City mayor argued that if the reported wiretapping of Cohen were true — and he emphasized he was not sure that it was — it would be a blatant transgression of attorney-client privilege.
Giuliani, who joined President Trump’s personal legal team about two weeks ago, predicted that Trump would share his anger at the matter, though he said he had not yet spoken to the president about it.
When he does so, Giuliani predicted, “He is going to say to me, ‘Isn’t there an attorney-client privilege?’ And I am going to tell him, ‘No, the Department of Justice seems to want to trample all over the Constitution of the United States.’ ”
Giuliani’s explosive comments were made, however, before NBC News issued a significant correction to its story.
The news organization changed its original piece to reflect that “three senior U.S. officials” were disputing the idea that a wiretap was placed on Cohen’s phones. Those officials said, according to NBC, that “the monitoring of Cohen’s phones was limited to a log of calls, known as a pen register, not a wiretap where investigators can actually listen to calls.”
Speaking when the original story was still operative, Giuliani said that a wiretapping of Cohen would amount to “gross misconduct” by the government. He added sarcastically, “And they don’t even notify us? I mean, he’s only the president of the United States.”
The NBC report in its updated form also stated that “at least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was logged” by law enforcement.
Before the furor over the monitoring of Cohen’s phones erupted Thursday, Giuliani dropped a bombshell by telling Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel on Wednesday evening that the president reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 that the attorney paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels a short time before the 2016 presidential election.
Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One last month that he was not aware of the payments to Daniels and that he did not know where Cohen had gotten the money.
Trump is battling on several legal fronts, including the Cohen matter, the ongoing Russia investigation led by Mueller and accusations of sexual misconduct from women.
Giuliani reiterated in his phone call with The Hill that Trump was aware in general terms that the former New York City mayor was going to put out the version of events he presented on “Hannity” — though not exactly when he would do so.
As if to push back against those who suggested that he had committed a gaffe, Giuliani said he had spoken to the president “several times” since his Wednesday evening Fox News appearance.
Asked if Trump was content with his performance, Giuliani responded: “Yep.”
Giuliani also hit back at criticism — including from fired FBI Director James Comey — about his use of the term “stormtroopers” in relation to the FBI raids last month on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.
On Twitter, Comey wrote: “I know the New York FBI. There are no ‘stormtroopers’ there; just a group of people devoted to the rule of law and the truth. Our country would be better off if our leaders tried to be like them, rather than comparing them to Nazis.”
Giuliani countered that he had not made a Nazi comparison, arguing, “there are stormtroopers all over.”
But, he added, “If you don’t like it, don’t act that way.”
BY NIALL STANAGE – 05/03/18
This story was originally published before NBC News issued a correction to its original report, which contended that Michael Cohen’s phones had been wiretapped. The Hill’s story has been updated to reflect the NBC correction.