Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is trying to frame President Donald Trump.
Addressing a business conference, Giuliani, now Trump’s lawyer, also boasted that the president had brought North Korea’s leader to his “hands and knees” after cancelling a high-profile summit.
Giuliani’s comments about Mueller were the latest salvo in his attacks on the probe into Russia’s potential meddling in U.S elections. Trump’s team and allies have waged a public relations campaign against Mueller and the Justice Department to discredit the investigation and soften the impact of the special counsel’s potential findings.
“There are a group of 13 highly partisan Democrats who make up the Mueller team, excluding him, and are trying very, very hard to frame him to get him in trouble when he hasn’t done anything wrong,” said Giuliani, who has been serving as Trump’s lawyer amid the Russia scandal.
“They can’t emotionally come to grips with the fact that this whole thing with Russian collusion didn’t happen. They are trying to invent theories of obstruction of justice,” Giuliani told a business conference in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
“They have revealed no evidence that President Trump has done anything wrong,” he added. “None.”
Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates co-ordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump took steps to shut down that investigation through actions, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Though Trump insists he did nothing wrong, the statements from him and his lawyers have made clear that much of their defence revolves around establishing that he was constitutionally empowered to take the actions he took.
Speaking to the Globes capital market conference Wednesday, Giuliani said Trump has the power to pardon himself but would not do so.
“The law of the United States is that the president of the United States has unlimited, unreviewable power to pardon people from federal crimes even before they are convicted,” he said. “Does he have the power to do it? Yes. Is he going to do it? No. He’s innocent. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Giuliani also told the crowd that Trump’s tough line had forced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to plead to reschedule their summit.
Giuliani said there was no choice but to cancel the June 12 summit after Kim insulted the U.S. vice-president and national security and threatened nuclear war.
“We said, ‘Well, we’re not going to have a summit under those circumstances,“’ Giuliani said. “Well, Kim Jung Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
The summit is now back on for next Tuesday in Singapore.
Giuliani suggested similar tactics should be used with the Palestinian Authority, which has cut off ties with the U.S. to protest Trump’s decision to recognize contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“They have to be seeking peace. You gotta change the dynamic and put the pressure on them,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani has become a lightning rod during his tenure on Trump’s team, drawing the president’s ire for a series of scattershot interviews.