Former White House counsel to Richard Nixon John Dean told CNN’s Don Lemon that Rudy Giuliani is “deluding” President Donald Trump about the extent of trouble he may be in. Dean’s statements came in response to the revelation that special counsel Robert Mueller is not planning to pursue a jail term for former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, as reported by the BBC.
In a memo released ahead of Flynn’s sentencing on December 18, Mueller maintained that Flynn had provided “substantial assistance” in the criminal probe regarding Trump’s transition team’s contacts with Russian government officials and, as a result, should not be incarcerated for lying to the FBI.
Flynn admitted to lying to the agency when he was asked about having discussed lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador prior to President Trump taking office. But in the memo, large parts of which were redacted, Mueller wrote that his office would not pursue incarceration for Flynn, owing to his previously “exemplary” record, and because of him having accepted “responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government.”
A number of experts speculate that Mueller is not playing all of his cards, and that it is likely that Trump’s transition team was in contact with Russian government officials. Trump’s lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, dismissed the revelations in a mocking response, once again underlining the president’s initial line of defense: that the special counsel investigation is a “witch hunt.”
“If he [Flynn] had information to share with Mueller that hurt the president, you would know it by now. There’s a Yiddish word that fits. They don’t have bupkis.”
Rudy Giuliani via text to @politico on tonight’s Flynn filing: “Wow big crime for a SPECIAL WHATEVER maybe a group of Angry Bitter Hillary Supporters who are justifying themselves by the goal justifies the means....Over the top In ethical behavior.” pic.twitter.com/5fZhFCNTVV— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) December 5, 2018
Dean, however, questioned Giuliani’s response on CNN, saying he was “deluding” the president by not communicating the gravity of the investigation’s progress and the subsequent trouble he may find himself in.
“I think it looks very bad,” Dean told Lemon.
“I think the first signal between the lines — really stands out — is his ‘substantial’ cooperation, which has to cause a lot of heartburn in the White House. I think the fact that there are clearly three very live investigations going on is going to also trouble him.
The fact that Rudy Giuliani just dismisses it really surprises me. I think he’s spinning it the wrong way — he may be deluding his own client in doing so.”
Dean also dismissed Giuliani as Trump’s “PR lawyer,” saying the “real” White House counsel is Emmet Flood, who won’t go on television and would instead argue his case in the courtroom. Stating that Trump seems to get most of his information from what Giuliani says on television, Dean concluded that the president was being led to believe that he wasn’t in trouble, which may not be the case at all.