After a brief media absence, Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned to the Sunday shows with a vengeance this weekend with appearances on ABC's "This Week", CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press" to offer an official response to Michael Cohen's claim that he would put "family and country first" when deciding whether to cooperate with prosecutors who are reportedly investigating him for bank fraud and possible campaign finance violations following raids on his office, hotel and home.
During his interview with George Stephanopoulos, the former Bill Clinton Press Secretary asked Giuliani about who knew what regarding the payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels, Giuliani insisted that Cohen "should cooperate with investigators" and that attorneys for Trump and Cohen didn't find anything that could incriminate either man after sifting through the more than one million documents seized during the Cohen raids.
"As long as he tells the truth, we're home free" Giuliani insisted.
He offered a similar defense during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union," where he said "I don't know what he has to flip over. What I do know is there is no evidence of wrongdoing with President Trump."
CNN’s Dana Bash: “You’ve said ... you don’t think Michael Cohen will flip. Do you still believe that?”— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 8, 2018
Rudy Giuliani: “I don’t know what he has to flip over. What I do know is there is no evidence of wrongdoing with President Trump” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/fAn6qXExRq
But while Giuliani maintained his defensive tone during the interview, he also managed to slip in a brief soundbite that could go a long way toward convincing Cohen to stand his ground. To wit, when asked by Stephanopoulos about the possibility of a pardon, Giuliani said that, while there hasn't been any discussion of a pardon for Cohen up until this point, the president and his legal team haven't ruled it out.
Asked by @GStephanopoulos if Pres. Trump or anyone on his team talked with Michael Cohen or Cohen's attorneys about a possible pardon, Rudy Giuliani says, "No. Not at all," but adds, "you can't abridge your power to do it" https://t.co/IK2UIiHS5f #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/9kk4CzMeOO— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 8, 2018
STEPHANOPOULOS: Has the president or anybody on his team had any conversations with Cohen about a possible pardon?
GIULIANI: "No not at all. I've advised the president which he understands no discussion of pardons. You can't abridge your power to do it, that's something you can decide down the road one way or the other.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not going to rule it out in the future?
GIULIANI: Well I don't think you should, that wouldn't be fair for the president, it wouldn't be fair to Cohen and it wouldn't be fair to future presidents. But, the fact is there's no reason for a pardon right now or even to consider it - and quite honestly it would just confuse everything.
Anybody who has been following the Cohen legal saga (a drama that has been surprisingly intense considering that no charges have been filed since the raids back in April) should recognize that Giuliani has effectively thrown Cohen, who has publicly fretted about the impact the investigation is having on his family and finances, a life preserver. That's because the incessant stream of leaks about Cohen's purported dissatisfaction with his treatment by the president have sounded more like subtle hints from Cohen that he needs some assurance that Trump will have his back should he refuse to turn on his former boss.
But for now, the White House line remains the same: Cohen did nothing wrong - and the fact that Mueller "handed off" the investigation to federal prosecutors in New York shows that even the special counsel himself didn't see Cohen as a significant part of his case (because if it was, Mueller presumably would've kept the Cohen probe "in house").
Pres. Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tells @GStephanopoulos: "Michael Cohen should cooperate with the government. We have no reason to believe he did anything wrong. The president did nothing wrong with him" https://t.co/IK2UIiHS5f #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/lFewJyvaw3— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 8, 2018
STEPHANOPOULOS: What was the president's reaction to that interview with Michael Cohen?
GIULIANI: Same as mine which is fine, Michael Cohen should cooperate with the government. We have no reason to believe he did anything wrong. The president did nothing wrong with him so we've gone through every document we can, we see no evidence of it...also, Mueller himself has indicated there's nothing here because he wouldn't have given it away. I hope Michael is able to clear himself because what is being done to him is really unfair.
Giuliani also added that Cohen hasn't "flipped on the president" because, if he did, the case would need to be sent back to Mueller because Rod Rosenstein has "made the decision" that the "presidential part of this" must be handled by the special counsel's office.
Giuliani on whether he is concerned that Michael Cohen will flip on Pres. Trump: "I have no concerns that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth and if he does, as I said, there's no suggestion that anything happened" https://t.co/IK2UIiHS5f #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/CMCcrrFjTC— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 8, 2018
STEPHANOPOULOS: I just want to be very clear: You have no concerns that Michael Cohen will flip on the president?
GIULIANI: I have no concerns that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth...the way you'd find out that he decided to flip on the president...the case would have to go back to Mueller because Rosenstein has made the decision that the presidential part of this must be handled by the independent counsel.
While President Trump initially denounced the investigation into Cohen as "an attack on our country" shortly after the raids took place, he was conspicuously silent following Cohen's interview with Stephanopoulos a week ago, which marked the first time that Cohen had spoken out publicly about his legal issues since the raid. Clearly, the president understands that there are some sensitive topics where it's better to let the attorneys do the talking.