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August 19, 2019

Rudy calls Russian meddling investigation ‘rigged,’ but doesn’t rule out chance that low-level campaign folks colluded: ‘How do I know what’s going on?’

May 27, 2018
Rudy Giuliani criticized James Clapper and John Brennan on Sunday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that the investigation into Russian election meddling is “rigged” and not legitimate.

“We’re more convinced, as we see it, that this is a rigged investigation,” the New York mayor turned personal attorney for Trump said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Giuliani again sought to discredit the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, which is looking at Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election and any possible involvement by members of Trump’s campaign.

He made the claim even as he acknowledged he could not rule out the possibility that low-level campaign associates did collude with the Russians.

“This came as a surprise to me, to the President, and to the top four or five people around him,” he said. “You go out to the outer orbit – how do I know what’s going on? But I don’t think that would matter. You can’t – if there’s collusion with a guy 50 rungs down on the campaign, not that I’m saying it happened, but if it did, I don’t know what that means.”

Giuliani said he no longer views the Mueller probe as legitimate.

“Not anymore. I don’t. I did when I came in,” he said.

He insisted the special counsel should never have been appointed. “I’m not saying Mueller is illegitimate. I’m saying the basis on which he was appointed is illegitimate,” Giuliani said.

The latest line of attack against the Mueller probe comes from reports that the FBI informant met with Trump campaign advisers to gather information about links to Russia. Intelligence officials have said it was a standard investigatory tactic, but Trump says it amounted to the Department of Justice placing a “spy” in his campaign.

“You have a President peddling these falsehoods and you have essentially people putting out propaganda like Rudy Giuliani to further that fiction,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“There is no evidence to support that spy theory. This is just a piece of propaganda the President wants to put out and repeat.”

Former CIA director Michael Hayden said the use of an informant, like other law enforcement tactics Trump has attacked, was “stunningly normal.”

“He’s simply trying to delegitimize the Mueller investigation, the FBI, the Department of Justice and he’s willing to throw almost anything against the wall,” he told “This Week.”

Giuliani said that despite his attacks on Mueller, Trump would not fire him because it would make the special counsel look like a victim. He said Trump remains “adamant” about sitting down for an interview with Mueller.

Mueller may agree to limit questioning to the topics of collusion with the Russians and obstruction of justice, Giuliani said, adding he was “not comfortable” with Trump answering questions about obstruction because he might wind up being accused of lying.

“Then you can say it’s obstruction, and then you can say it’s perjury, which is even easier for them, which is where I think, if they’re sneaky, they’re going,” he told CNN.

Giuliani also ripped two veteran intelligence officials who have been critical of Trump’s attacks on law enforcement, James Clapper and John Brennan, as “clowns.”

“I have no regard at all for Clapper and Brennan,” Giuliani said of the former director of national intelligence and former CIA chief. “I think they are two clowns.”

“There are a lot of people with decades of service, some good, some bad,” Giuliani said. “Some get consumed with power and begin to lie.”

Trump again ripped the investigation in a series of tweets on Sunday morning, writing, “who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt? They journeyed down to Washington, D.C., with stars in their eyes and wanting to help our nation … They went back home in tatters!”

The President also again took aim at his opponent in the 2016 election, tweeting, “why didn’t the 13 Angry Democrats investigate the campaign of Crooked Hillary Clinton, many crimes, much Collusion with Russia? Why didn’t the FBI take the Server from the DNC? Rigged Investigation!”

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