Giuliani Confirms That Trump Fired Comey Because Of The Russia Investigation

In addition to his admissions about the Stormy Daniels matter, Rudy Giuliani also confirmed what we've known for awhile, that James Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation.

In addition to contradicting past statements by President Trump and the White House regarding the payment to Stormy Daniels, Rudy Giuliani’s appearance last night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show was also notable because it appears to confirm that President Trump fired F.B.I. Director James Comey due to the Russia investigation:

Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday night said President Donald Trump fired James Comey because the former FBI director wouldn’t offer public assurances that Trump wasn’t a target of an investigation.

“He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation,” the former New York City mayor, who recently joined Trump’s legal team, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “He’s entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that and he couldn’t get that. So he fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy.'”

Comey had previously said that he told Trump that he wasn’t the focus of an investigation but that the president pressed him to make a public statement. The former FBI director said he never made a public statement for several reasons, including the possibility that Trump’s actions would eventually come under review by the FBI.

More from The Hill:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said Wednesday that President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey because Comey wouldn’t tell Trump that he wasn’t a target of the FBI investigation into Russia’s election interference.

“He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation,” Giuliani, who recently joined Trump’s legal team, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity.

“He’s entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that and he couldn’t get that,” Giuliani said. “So he fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy.’ “

Here’s the video of Giuliani’s statement on the Comey firing:

The roots of Trump’s decision to fire James Comey go back to well before the event happened just under a year ago today. Back in February 2017 when he asked Comey if he could end the investigation of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in a conversation that took place just days after Trump had fired Flynn because he lied to Trump campaign officials and to Vice-President Pence over the nature of his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the United States. Things kicked into high gear just under a year ago from today when the President fired Comey abruptly just days after Comey had testified about the investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign before a Senate committee. At the time Comey was fired, the Administration took the position that he was being fired due to his mishandling of the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and her handling of email investigation. They even released a long memorandum that had been prepared by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that sought to justify the President’s action on that basis. Very quickly, though, it became apparent that there were other motives involved in the decision to fire Comey that had nothing to do with the Clinton investigation. As the days went on, though, it became more and more apparent that Comey was been fired because of the President’s frustration with the Russia investigation, something that Trump himself seemed to confirm. Trump topped off this revelation by appearing to threaten Comey with ‘tapes’ of conversations between the two men. Later, we learned that Trump had told the Russian Ambassador to the United States and the Russian Foreign Minister that he had fired Comey because of the Russia investigation just days after Comey’s dismissal. Finally, by the end of the week that had begun with Comey’s firing last year, Trump admitted that to Lester Holt of NBC News that he had fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. More recently, though, Trump seemed to contradict himself when he said that Comey wasn’t fired because of the Russia investigation, although he didn’t offer any other explanation for why he abruptly dismissed the Director of the F.B.I.

What Giuliani said last night doesn’t so much contradict what Russia said a year ago about why he fired Comey so much as it presents it in a different light. Effectively Giuliani is saying that, yes, Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation, and he added to that the fact that at least part of the reason for that is because he apparently declined to make a public statement that Trump was not a target of the investigation. This is an interesting revelation in no small part due to the fact that it was just about a month ago that Robert Mueller reportedly told Trump’s legal team that the President was a “subject” of the Russia investigation but was not a “target” at that point in time. As I explained at the time, and as former Federal prosecutor Ken White explained further in his own blog post, this isn’t as significant a distinction as it might seem to a lay person since a person is not considered a “target” of an investigation until such a time as the prosecutor is on the verge of seeking an indictment. In that respect, saying that the President isn’t a target of an investigation doesn’t mean very much, especially since existing legal interpretation from the Justice Department states that a sitting President cannot be indicted until they have either been impeached and removed from office or they have left office, whether it be because of resignation or being defeated in an election. In this respect, Giuliani’s statement is less than meets the eye and, in the end, it seems to confirm yet again that Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation and that it was merely the first step in Trump’s year-long efforts to undermine the Russia investigation. This obviously opens the President up to questions regarding obstruction of justice.

Once again, Giuliani did nothing to help his client here, and a heck of a lot to hurt him.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Rudy and Fox are acting like this interview didn’t happen AND are pressing onward.. :))




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  2. Kathy says:

    I see no other explanation that Rudy is out to get Donnie.

    And I wish him good luck.




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  3. CSK says:

    So maybe Trump and Rudy figured it would be better for Trump to admit to obstructing justice rather than lie about it under oath. As teve tory said in a prior thread, next week Giuliani will be announcing the unveiling of the Pee Tape on Pornhub and a recording of Trump begging Putin for assistance.

    Just to get all that stuff out of the way.




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  4. michael reynolds says:

    Some people age like fine wine, gaining character, nuance and unexpected depths.

    Others age like the leftover mu shu pork forgotten in the back of the refrigerator for three weeks. Giuliani is way past his prime. He was ‘America’s Mayor,’ and now he’s a laughingstock busily screwing his client in public venues.

    My guess: Trump is in a panic. His real lawyers are increasingly worried and no one is offering him a way out. Along comes Mayor Bluster and tells him, “Don’t worry, Don, I’ve got this.” Trump reaches for that lifeline. Then the lifeline strangles him.

    Trump has one huge, overriding, impossible-to-make-go-away problem: he’s guilty. He’s begun to realize the lawyers can’t save him. He’s seen Worm Nunes flop. He’s done nothing but stiffen Rosenstein’s spine. Trump is a weak man, a coward, and in this moment of crisis he goes to what he knows: bluster, bullsht, lies, stalls and evasions. Enter Mayor Bluster, another Trump mini-me, another man without a moral center.

    Don’s big trick was always declaring bankruptcy and slithering off to leave the little people to clean up after him. That trick doesn’t work in politics, and now, Trump is staring at an oncoming freight train and has no way to get off the tracks.




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  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Who do you think feels worse about their job this morning? Sarah Sanders, Emmett Flood, or Melania?




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  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    NB: I placed that bottle of Clos D’Ambonnay into the refrigerator just now. It seemed like the appropriate thing to do 🙂




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  7. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    NBC is reporting that Michael Cohen was wiretapped for some unspecified period of time prior to the FBI raid on his office. They claim at least one of the calls was between Cohen and a White House number.

    Phone call between Cohen and WH followed by an unannounced raid to seize Cohen’s data.

    I mean, maybe those dots don’t connect the way you and I both immediately assumed. . . . You chill the wine, I’ll bring the caviar.




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  8. Kathy says:

    Oh, Trump is well and truly f****d. It’s only a matter of time now.




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  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s like Christmahanukkwanzika in July. These clowns are the gang who couldn’t shoot straight.

    I can’t wait to see what tidbits nails in his coffin Trump adds to this shitshow via Tweeter




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  10. teve tory says:

    Trump will fire Rod Rosenstein, replace him with Wayne Allyn Root or Lou Dobbs, and then order him to fire Mueller and close the investigation and open some into Hillary.




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  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Kathy: @HarvardLaw92:
    I don’t know if either of you is old enough to remember the day Alexander Butterfield, testifying before the Irvin committee suddenly announced to a waiting world that Nixon taped his conversations, but I was living in DC in those days and I swear all sound ceased, hearts stopped beating and birds fell from the sky.

    If this NBC story pans out, we’ve just had our Butterfield moment.




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  12. michael reynolds says:

    Mod rescue please?

    Is it the Wikipedia link that did it?




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  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    I’ll take “landslide victory control of Congress in November” for $1,000, Alex … 🙂




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  14. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I made a comment stuck in moderation, the short version of which is: Alexander Butterfield, July 1973.




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  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Mmhmm. I said on FB earlier today that I put us right about June / July, 1973 here in Stupid Watergate. Rudy Giuliani, starring as a cut-rate John Dean.

    I can only hope that Trump is dumb enough to fire Cox in October …




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  16. teve tory says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I read this morning the GOP is thinking of running on ‘vote for us or the mean ol dems will subpoena trump’.

    …I’ve heard better campaign slogans.




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  17. Kathy says:

    It’s tragic, in a way, that the richest Orange Clown ever to inhabit the White House turned out to be the poor man’s version of Richard Nixon.




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  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Dennison was in NY and NJ real estate development…how many other deals do you think Cohen has done for him over the years? Dennison is truly fvcked.
    Michael Avenatti may be right…Dennison may not last his full term…not with legal help like Guiliani.




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  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    ORLLY? 😀




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  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    I see no other explanation that Rudy is out to get Donnie

    My favorite Trumpian idle speculation is that Chris Christie convinces Prez Moron to sack Sessions and appoint him instead. He then immediately turns on Trump and brings him down. He does this because it literally is the only way his political career could be resurrected. And it would be sweet revenge for all the humiliations bestowed on him by Mango Boy.




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  21. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    I was thinking the poor man’s Rod Blagojevich, only with less hair. And–bonus points–Blago was even on The Apprentice!




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  22. CSK says:

    Jeffrey Toobin said it all: “How stupid do they think we are?”




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  23. Mister Bluster says:

    Goldwater, along with House Republican Leader John Jacob Rhodes and Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott, entered the Oval Office around 5 p.m. The Arizona senator sat directly in front of Nixon’s desk, the others to the side. Goldwater told Nixon he had perhaps 16 to 18 Senate supporters left – too few to avoid ouster. Congressman Rhodes said House support was just as soft.
    Christian Science Monitor

    Which of the Craven Weasels that are today’s SATAN’S FAMILY VALUES REPUBLICANS in Congress will sit directly in front of Pud’s desk to tell him he has no support in the legislature?
    Ryan?..Mitch? Rand Paul? (that’s a joke) Who?




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  24. CSK says:

    Giuliani claims that Trump had a right to be notified if the wiretap picked up any of his calls with Cohen.

    What???????




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  25. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I had been born by then, but wouldn’t have comprehended much on TV past cartoons 🙂




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  26. Bill says:

    @Kathy:

    I had been born by then, but wouldn’t have comprehended much on TV past cartoons

    Who needs Washington politics when you have The Flintstones, Magilla Gorilla, and Rocky &Bullwinkle?

    I was 12-13 at the time of Sam Irvin’s Watergate hearings and can remember watching a little of it.




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  27. Bill says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Phone call between Cohen and WH followed by an unannounced raid to seize Cohen’s data.

    I mean, maybe those dots don’t connect the way you and I both immediately assumed.

    Time for a quote from Garak.

    “I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don’t trust coincidences. ”

    Neither do I.




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  28. Kylopod says:

    You know why the Trumpaloons have been MIA all day so far? Their masters haven’t settled on a narrative yet.




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  29. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Others age like the leftover mu shu pork forgotten in the back of the refrigerator for three weeks. Giuliani is way past his prime. He was ‘America’s Mayor,’ and now he’s a laughingstock busily screwing his client in public venues.

    He wasn’t that good before he was left in the back of the refrigerator.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/11/16/more-on-the-time-rudy-giuliani-helped-incite-a-riot-of-racist-cops/?utm_term=.4d83f930226b




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  30. teve tory says:

    @Kylopod: I haven’t checked the trumper sites. But I do wonder what trial balloons they’re…uh trying.




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  31. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory: I just glanced at Breitbart. They’ve gone full Dershowitz.




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  32. teve tory says:

    I saw this tweet:

    David French

    Verified account

    @DavidAFrench
    16h16 hours ago
    More
    Dear Trump evangelicals. It looks like Trump has now been caught lying to you about paying off a porn star to silence reports about an affair shortly after his son was born. He had an affair. He paid hush money. He lied about it. Let that sink in. Is that your man?

    And decided to see what the responses are, so I read a few dozen. They fall into the following categories:

    1) The media is lying
    2) There’s no proof
    3) Even IF it happened it was consensual
    4) And wasn’t a crime
    5) And happened years ago
    6) And why are you ignoring North Korea???




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  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    You’ve got to read this. I’m still laughing …

    These people are a whole new level of stupid …




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  34. teve tory says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    covfefe999 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 9:08 am
    Right, Bob. Mueller and Rosenstein are the honest people here and Trump is a liar. lol So nice of you to roll over and accept the lib propaganda.

    Jesus Key-rist.




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  35. Charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If this NBC story pans out, we’ve just had our Butterfield moment.

    That’s just painting the lily and gilding gold. The Butterfield moment was the day Michael Cohen’s premises were raided.




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  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    IK,R?

    By definition, half of the country is of below average intelligence. Now you know where their Stupid Batcave is located …

    It truly boggles the mind that people who are this mind-blowingly stupid dumb manage to survive without being hooked up to a machine that breathes for them.

    I almost can’t even muster contempt for them amongst the enormous sense of pity …

    (note: I said almost … 🙂 )




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  37. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    They’re morons. But Gawd, do they love them some Trump.




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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    They’d love anybody who validated their enmities and told them what they want to hear. Sad people leading sad lives.

    In retrospect, I feel better about the sense of contempt thing now




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  39. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Ok, could some of the US lawyers pitch in on this?

    The guy is a NYU cum laude graduate, made Law Review and became US Associate Attorney General. He also made millions at high-level white shoe firms. So he clearly has all the qualifications and pretty much has to be a rather smart guy.

    However, for a decade, every time I have seen, read or heard the guy he comes over as a total tool that I wouldn’t take on as unpaid intern. Could anyone give me a hint on what’s going on here?




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  40. Steve V says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Those comments, my god.




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  41. teve tory says:

    @Steve V:

    I have now read the giuliani-related comments on two Trumper sites. Also today I read about a GOP senate primary candidate in CA who said that The Daily Stormer is too pro-Jew.

    I can’t decide what the dumbest thing I’ve read today is, but my god I read some stupid shit.




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  42. teve tory says:

    The Cohen investigation might also relate to Cohen’s numerous connections to russia mafia scams.

    Weren’t some of the prosecutors Mueller hired experienced with prosecuting mobsters?




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  43. Kathy says:

    Do you think that in a few weeks or months, Trump’s friends, relatives, associates, the people he’s done business with, the producers of his old show, etc. will be going around saying “Oh, sure, we knew he was dirtier than a pig wallowing in sewage.”




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  44. Charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    NBC is reporting that Michael Cohen was wiretapped for some unspecified period of time prior to the FBI raid on his office. They claim at least one of the calls was between Cohen and a White House number.

    Phone call between Cohen and WH followed by an unannounced raid to seize Cohen’s data.

    Tom Winter

    Correction: Earlier today NBC News, and this reporter, said that Michael Cohen’s phone lines were wiretapped. 3 Senior U.S. Officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring was limited to a log of calls (pen register) not a wiretap of Cohen’s lines. We will continue to report.




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  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    Rudy is, and generally always has been, much more talented as a self-promoter than he’s ever been as an attorney. He’s notorious for it.

    I would view this as just another instance of Rudy trying to garner some notoriety by inserting himself in front of a camera.




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  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steve V:

    Agreed. Just when you think you’ve seen the limits of human stupidity, along comes something like that to let you know that yes, Virginia, it can get a great deal worse than you imagined. I went back and forth between pity and contempt before finally settling on contempt. People can’t help being born stupid, but they can help choosing to be ignorant and self-deluded.




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  47. Barry says:

    @Kathy: More like: “Who? Tar-emp? Drumf? Never knew him”




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  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    Bob essentially hired the team – prosecutors, forensic accountants, the whole group – from the Southern District that gutted the Gambinos along with a few others. The hires include one of the top – if not the top – financial crimes guys in the business, as well as a guy I personally liken to a walking encyclopedia of the US Code, one who’s argued more than 100 cases before SCOTUS. Michael is probably the smartest lawyer in the country with respect to federal criminal law and appellate advocacy.

    The short version is that Bob recruited the very best. They’re very motivated, extremely good at what they do and they’re true believers with respect to no one being above the law.

    This scenario (pitting that team against what has essentially been Jay Sekulow and his revolving roster of nobodies) is somewhat like Notre Dame taking on Harvey Mudd in football. The game is over before it begins.




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  49. Franklin says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Laughing, or crying that such people exist? Christ that was another planet.




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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Franklin:

    Sort of both. Pity and contempt, which I suppose are both probably variant expressions of disdain in their own way. It’s like “I would feel sorry for these people if their stupidity wasn’t leading them to wreck the place in a fit of pique.”

    It’s possible to be stupid without being malignant. These people are both, and that malignancy makes them the enemy.




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  51. Daniel Hill says:

    @Kathy: You have to wonder if Rudy hasn’t done a deal with Pence to move into the VP office once they throw Donald under the bus…




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  52. teve tory says:

    Looks like the trump admin’s position is going to be that Rudy is new and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.




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  53. long time listener says:

    @HL92 : what are your thoughts on Drebben’s run-in with Judge Ellis, down here in Virginia, regarding Manafort?




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