Rudy Giuliani is now claiming that Donald Trump “doesn’t remember” how long he was in discussions with Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, despite previous statements from Trump throughout the 2016 campaign that he had no business with or in Russia.
Giuliani, who has emerged as Trump’s most public surrogate and his personal lawyer for the Russia investigation, said this week that the discussions could have gone up right up until the election in November.
“The simple fact is he doesn’t remember how long it went,” Giuliani told Fox News‘s Brian Kilmeade in a radio interview on Wednesday (via Real Clear Politics).
“And he says as far as he’s concerned, it could be anywhere up to November of 2016. But if you ask him to pinpoint the dates, he’d say to me 2015 and 2016 merged together.”
Though Trump has been criticized for what many saw as misleading statements that he had no business with Russia, Giuliani said that Trump did not consider the negotiations to count as any business, as the deal never came to fruition.
But Giuliani has been caught in misleading statements in the past regarding the Trump Tower Moscow project. He had previously said that Trump never signed a letter of intent to move forward on the project, though CNN later reported that Trump indeed had signed the letter in 2015.
Now backtracking, Giuliani downplayed the letter and said that it did not count given that no money changed hands.
“I knew there was a Moscow project. I still don’t know how long it went, and I don’t consider it a Moscow project. I consider it a letter of intent without any money every being put up, nonbinding, which is the earliest stage of, you know, taking a look at a project,” Giuliani said.
The Russia investigation has continued to move closer to Trump’s inner circle, leading to convictions against a number of top insiders including former campaign manager Paul Manafort as well as Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer.
As the investigation moves closer to Donald Trump himself, Rudy Giuliani has emerged as the president’s chief attack dog, frequently making personal attacks against Robert Mueller in claiming that the investigation is politically motivated. The former New York City mayor has also taken steps to distance Trump from the investigation itself, including a recent statement that he would only allow Trump to interview with Mueller’s team “over my dead body.”