Giuliani Floats Trump–Mueller Interview for Revelation of Russia Investigation Origin

By Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.
July 8, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, lawyer to President Donald Trump, said he’d consider allowing Trump to be questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller if Mueller can demonstrate that there’s a factual basis for his Russia investigation.

“We’ve got to see something. I mean, something started this investigation. What we’re asking him for is, ‘Is this the witch hunt that many people think it is, or is there a factual basis for this?’” Giuliani told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on July 8.

Giuliani’s offer marks a shift in strategy. While previously he wanted Mueller to explain what he needs to learn directly from Trump that he doesn’t know already, now Giuliani is probing the origins of the investigation.

The same day on ABC’s “This Week,” Giuliani said Trump’s legal team had to postpone multiple times the decision on whether to allow the questioning because of “the extraordinary things that happened that we didn’t expect”—most recently, a report by Justice Department’s inspector general delving into the investigation of Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information.

The report showed the lead investigator on the probe, Peter Strzok, who also led the Russia probe, was strongly biased against Trump and even vowed to “stop” Trump from being elected, according to text messages he sent. Strzok later continued the investigation on the Mueller team.

While Giuliani didn’t say Mueller himself is biased, he said Mueller is “surrounded by biased people, almost exclusively.”

“He’s got a guy who donated over $30,000 to Hillary [Clinton]. He’s got someone who was crying at her loss party/victory party, whatever you want to call it. And his lead investigator is probably going to go to jail—the FBI agent who said you have to ‘stop’ Trump,” Giuliani said. “I mean, has there ever been an investigation of this magnitude with such obvious indications of extreme, disgusting bias which totally corrupts the process?”

Indeed, Mueller’s team member James Quarles III donated close to $40,000 to Democratic candidates, including Clinton and Barack Obama.

Another team member, Andrew Weissmann, attended Clinton’s election night party. He has given $10,000 to Democratic candidates, including nearly $5,000 to Obama.

Team member Jeannie Rhee represented Clinton and her organization, the Clinton Foundation, in two 2015 lawsuits. She also gave $5,400 to Clinton’s campaign.

Strzok was fired from the team, but only after text messages documenting his bias emerged.

All in all, most of the known team worked at the DOJ or FBI headquarters during the Obama administration. At least 13 are registered Democrats, according to The Daily Caller. That’s why Trump dubbed the team “13 Angry Democrats.”

At least 11 of them made campaign contributions to Democratic candidates, mostly Obama and Clinton. None are currently registered as Republican.

Giuliani’s focus on the origin of the Russia investigation strikes at the heart of its legitimacy.

Mueller was appointed to take over the previous FBI probe into Trump–Russia “collusion” after former FBI Director James Comey claimed he was fired by Trump because of how he handled the FBI’s Russia probe.

Based on leaks to The New York Times, the FBI started the probe on July 31, 2016, after Australians had passed intelligence to the FBI earlier that month about a drunken conversation between volunteer Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and the top Australian diplomat in Britain, Alexander Downer.

But that rationale has fallen apart with the revelation that FBI informant Stefan Halper was already in contact with the Trump campaign before that date.

Moreover, the man who was supposed to tell Papadopoulos about Russian’s having “dirt” on Clinton had extensive ties to Western intelligence.

Congress investigators have been asking the Justice Department for months to provide documents that would shed light on the origin of the probe, suspecting it was politically motivated.

Mueller has indicted 19 people and three companies. None of the charges are related to allegations of Trump–Russia collusion.

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Petr Svab
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.