Trump discussed Russian Federation tower deal well into 2016, Giuliani says

Trump discussed Russian Federation tower deal well into 2016, Giuliani says

That would have extended the timeline for the Russian business deal well beyond what the president has publicly acknowledged.

- January 18, 2019: In a rare public statement, a spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller disputes the BuzzFeed report.

The BuzzFeed News story sparked immediate backlash from Democratic lawmakers and a denial from Giuliani.

There have been reports that Trump is unhappy with Giuliani's recent interviews, one that included an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" where he said Trump had conversations with his former lawyer Michael Cohen about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow that could have spanned "throughout 2016". This is a familiar defense from Giuliani (i.e.it didn't happen, but if it did it's not a crime). "The building design you sent over is very interesting", the Russian real estate developer Andrey Rozov wrote to Cohen in September 2015, "and will be an architectural and luxury triumph". The president feels they distracted from a public relations victory over an explosive BuzzFeed report that was later brought into question.

Giuliani has been the subject of intense scrutiny this week after talking himself into hot water during interviews on Sunday morning news programs.

"It was such a minor matter, he wouldn't have equated it", Giuliani said.




Then, hours later in an interview with The New Yorker, Giuliani raised eyebrows again when he seemed to suggest he had listened to tapes of Trump and Cohen that had not previously been discussed.

Giuliani said Monday in a three-sentence statement that his comments "did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any discussions". Giuliani on Monday insisted that he had never said Trump was involved in negotiations until the "day" he won the 2016 presidential election, as reported by the Times, and claimed the newspaper was "absolutely wrong".

BuzzFeed confirmed the link to Fox on Tuesday, with a spokesperson saying, "NBCU is indeed an investor and a great strategic partner, but I'm afraid you'd have to ask them about how and when they disclose that information".

Giuliani then went on to walk back his earlier comment about his legacy amid more questioning from Chotiner, saying he does not reflect on the historical significance of his tenure. "So any time during that period, they could have talked about it", he said.

For Trump, Giuliani plays the role more of spokesman than attorney, unleashing public attacks on investigators while throwing out wild accusations created to muddle the narrative of the probe.

Trump's discussions with Cohen about the Moscow project - regardless of when they ended - happened while Trump cozied up to Russian Federation with his rhetoric on the campaign trail. A former federal prosecutor, he has also been the team's public face and, even if not the primary author of letters and other documents to the Mueller team, he has nonetheless helped develop strategy.

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