Sun, 21 Apr 2019

Giuliani retreats from repeated previous claims of 'no collusion'

By Sheetal Sukhija, The Fiji News
19 Jan 2019, 01:10 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, U.S. - In a shocking about-face, the U.S. President Donald Trump's top lawyer Rudy Giuliani has changed his stance on the alleged collusion between Russia and Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign.

Despite the conclusions drawn by U.S. intelligence agencies, that have said that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election campaign to bolster Trump's side, both Trump and his lead lawyer have repeatedly and publicly denied any collusion.

However, this week, in an interview with CNN, Giuliani retreated from his previous statements.

Trump's personal attorney said that he had no idea whether any aides colluded with Moscow during the time of the election.

Giuliani clarified during the interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo that there's "no chance" that Trump colluded with the Russians, but added that he can't say the same about the President's campaign aides.

The former New York City mayor, who has been one of Trump's earliest supporters, said that he "never said there was no collusion" between Russia and the Trump campaign during the election.

He pointed out that he has only stated that Trump wasn't the one doing the colluding.

Giuliani claimed, "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign. I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC (Democratic National Committee)."

During the 2016 Presidential election, DNC servers were hacked and emails exchanged between the teams were released publicly.

Later, confirming his statement during the interview, Giuliani repeated, "The president did not collude with the Russians," and pointed out that he only represented Trump.

Giuliani said, "I know the president wasnt involved in collusion. How would I know about anybody else? I wouldnt know."

So far, federal prosecutors leading a probe into the alleged collusion, have charged over 30 people as part of their probe, including Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Over two dozen Russian individuals and entities have already been charged as part of the investigation being led by the Justice Department appointed Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.

Ever since the probe was initiated, Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion and has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt."

Meanwhile, Russia has also denied any meddling in the election.

'Polling data shared'

Last week, CNN quoted sources as revealing that while serving as Trump's campaign chairman, Manafort tried to send internal polling data from the Trump campaign with two Kremlin-supporting Ukrainian oligarchs.

The sources quoted in the report claimed that Manafort sent this data through his associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who is a Russian national linked to Russian intelligence.

Commenting on the report, Giuliani said in the interview that Trump never shared the polling data himself and only found out about it recently in the news.

Trump's top lawyer added, "Donald Trump wasn't giving polling data to anyone. He did not know about it until it was revealed a few weeks ago in an article."

Following the interview, Cuomo commented on Twitter through the show handle, Cuomo Prime Time that "Giuliani allows for the possibility of collusion with the campaign while saying it didn't happen."

It quoted Giuliani as saying, "If the collusion happened, it happened a long time ago. It's either provable or it's not. It's not provable because it never happened.... there's no chance it happened."

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