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Rudy Giuliani's 'disgraceful' comments about Mueller could backfire on President Trump, experts say

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© Andrew Harnik / AP

New York Daily News

“America’s Mayor” has fully become President Trump’s pit bull.

Rudy Giuliani’s public offensive against special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation may not be sound legal strategy — but his showmanship could sway the court of public opinion, experts told the Daily News.

“His comments have been disgraceful,” said Sol Wisenberg, a white-collar criminal-defense attorney who was deputy independent counsel under Kenneth Starr during the Whitewater/Monica Lewinsky investigation. “He’s a lawyer and an officer of the court.”

Giuliani ramped up his provocative offensive last week, telling Fox News that if the special counsel's investigation is not completed by September, there would be a "very, very serious violation of Justice Department rules.”

There is no such rule.

[post_ads]The Trump legal team’s media blitz reached new heights Friday as Giuliani joined Jay Sekulow, another of the President’s lawyers, in guest-hosting conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s syndicated radio show.

During their time on air, Giuliani channeled the commander-in-chief in ripping the investigation as “illegitimate,” a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”

Trump has labeled the investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election a “witch hunt” and has continuously cast doubt on the Kremlin’s involvement. He has publicly berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the probe and painted the FBI and Justice Department as hotbeds of political bias.

Giuliani, Sekulow and the rest of Trump’s legal team have been negotiating with Mueller for months about a possible interview with the President to determine whether he attempted to obstruct justice.

Trump claims he wants to his clear his name, but his attorneys have advised against an interview.

Mueller, meanwhile, has made no public comment on any subject since being appointed in May 2017.

© Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

But his probe has led to charges against four people affiliated with Trump's campaign or administration, 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian intelligence officers, three Kremlin-linked companies and two others.

“Mueller is a professional and he’s not going to be taking to cable news to make his case,” Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist who served as a spokesman for Mitt Romney, told The News.“The Trump team realizes that this is more of a public relations battle for the President than an actual legal defense.”

Further muddying the legal waters around Giuliani is his purported connection to eleventh-hour leaks from the FBI ahead of the election.
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Giuliani revealed in June that he was questioned by investigators working for the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office about his hinting ahead of the 2016 election that a “surprise” was in store that would help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Two days after his remark, then-FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s emails.

The timing of the outspoken former New York City mayor and Trump campaign surrogate’s cryptic comments led Democrats and other critics to question whether he had been tipped off by agents in the New York FBI office.

© AP

A June report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that Comey took the unusual step of publicly announcing the reopening of the investigation because he feared a leak.

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Horowitz that Comey conceded there was a “cadre of senior people” at the New York office “who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton.”

Horowitz — asked directly about leaks involving Giuliani — said during June testimony before the Senate that he doesn’t “believe disclosures of this sort are appropriate at any time in a criminal investigation.”

“Our work is ongoing,” he added.

The report, which contradicted Trump’s oft-repeated belief that the investigation was rigged to get Clinton off the hook and that the probe was rife with bias, notes that there are “profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review.”
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It also said a group of retired FBI agents was briefed on “investigative decisions” in October 2016, around the time of Giuliani's boast.

The one-time mob-boss buster denied being on the receiving end of a leak, but admitted to being in contact with former agents who are “close, personal friends.”

Wisenberg said said Giuliani’s behavior comes as no surprise.

“The President doesn’t care about the background of any of his people,” he said. “He’s associated with thuggish types throughout his career. I don’t like the way (Giuliani) is acting, but you’re allowed to attack the prosecutor.”

© Steve Helber / AP

American University history professor Allan Lichtman said Giuliani’s “obvious connections” to leaks during the campaign show that his true role is more showman and surrogate than presidential legal adviser.

“It certainly undermines his credibility, or really anything he has to say about the ongoing investigation. It shows that Giuliani has long been compromised and cannot be considered as a reputable legal guide.”

Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Rudy Giuliani's 'disgraceful' comments about Mueller could backfire on President Trump, experts say
Rudy Giuliani's 'disgraceful' comments about Mueller could backfire on President Trump, experts say
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