Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s legal team should be allowed to “correct” special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report before Congress or the American people get the chance to read it.
The claim, made in a telephone interview with The Hill on Thursday evening, goes further than the president’s legal advisers have ever gone before in arguing they have a right to review the conclusions of Mueller’s probe, which is now in its 20th month.
“As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you — so we can correct it if they’re wrong,” said the former New York City mayor, who is a member of Trump’s personal legal team. “They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong.”
Up to now, speculation has focused on the idea that the White House Counsel’s office might push back on certain disclosures within Mueller’s final report if it believes the details violate executive privilege.
Giuliani repeated that claim in a 20-minute phone interview with The Hill but went further with the suggestion of correcting purported factual errors.
Any such attempt would spark an instant political firestorm.
The question of whether Mueller will be allowed to complete his work without undue interference is already at the heart of the debate over whether the president’s nominee to be attorney general, William Barr, should be confirmed.
Republicans have insisted that Barr will behave appropriately but Democrats are dubious. Barr, they note, submitted an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department last year in which he expressed concern about “over-zealous prosecutors” investigating the president.
Even Giuliani admitted that a battle to withhold parts of Mueller’s final report would be tough to win in the court of public opinion, irrespective of its legal merits.
“Yes it is, sure. I acknowledge that,” he said.
Legal experts were skeptical of his claims.
“I don’t believe that Mueller would, unless it was so apparently wrong, correct something,” said Mark Zaid, a D.C.-based attorney who specializes in national security and whistleblower cases, and has represented clients from both parties.
One clue came with an NBC News report this week that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had decided to step down after Mueller finishes his work — and expects to leave by early March. The New York Times also reported on Rosenstein this week, saying he plans to step down after the Senate confirms Barr as the next attorney general. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and need just 51 votes to confirm Barr.
A Washington Post report on Wednesday detailed how White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has hired 17 lawyers to beef up his team.
The report asserted that Cipollone and his colleagues were “gearing up to prevent President Trump’s confidential discussions with top advisers from being disclosed to House Democratic investigators and revealed in the special counsel’s long-awaited report.”
On the Manafort matter, Giuliani insisted that there was nothing criminal in the former campaign chairman’s actions, however ill-judged they might have been.
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