CNN's Chris Cuomo sparred with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani over Attorney General's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation and charges of collusion and obstruction. Giuliani demanded several times that Cuomo apologize on behalf of CNN for how they "tortured" Trump.
"You guys on this network have tortured this man for two years with collusion and nobody has apologized for it," Giuliani said to the CNN host.
"Apologize for the overreaction of collusion," Giuliani told Cuomo again.
"Not a chance, not a chance," Cuomo responded.
"Of course you’re not, because you're not being fair," Giuliani said.
"No, please, you know better than that or you wouldn’t be here," the CNNer said.
"No, I don’t know better," the former mayor of New York City said. "I'm outraged by the behavior of these networks. Collusion, collusion, collusion, collusion, collusion, collusion. No collusion, Chris. No collusion."
"Apologize," he once again said.
"Never, I didn't do anything wrong," Cuomo claimed. "These questions are real. They needed to be regarded as such."
Transcript, via CNN:
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s personal lawyers, welcome back to Prime Time.
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.
CUOMO: Important moment.
CUOMO: The idea of disclosure, do you believe that the people, Congress, certainly, deserve to learn more?
GIULIANI: Sure I do, and I, like the president, would like to have the whole thing out, because I believe that there's nothing that will hurt us, and I believe if there is any argument there that tries to hurt us, we can rebut it.
We have a 97 page report ready to rebut anything they say, about 30 of it is devoted to obstruction of justice, which I think is a totally specious charge. However, the Democrats are being unfair. There are laws that have been to be followed. One of them is a criminal law. If Barr were to release grand jury testimony or make a mistake and release it, it's a federal felony. Five years in prison. In order to release the grand jury testimony, he's going to have to go to a federal judge, and he’s going to have to get an order to do it. Just with the Watergate prosecutors.
GIULIANI It commonly takes (ph) -- the judge is going to read through it. I mean, if he did it fast, it would take three to four days, maybe five days. It could take two weeks.
CUOMO: But there are things they could release.
GIULIANI: There are things but –
CUOMO: For instance, obstruction, there was no grand jury.
GIULIANI: It would be unfair to release it piecemeal. I mean, that I would really be opposed to.
CUOMO: What about charge by charge?
GIULIANI: You could do collusion first and then -- I don't know, honestly, the best way to do it is figure out what you can release and then put it all out.
CUOMO: Here’s the problem.
GIULIANI: And look, we’ve waited long enough.
GIULIANI: If we have to wait two weeks to do it right. But look, Barr has no interest in holding any of it back. You heard what he said.
CUOMO: I hope that's the case.
GIULIANI: It is the case. And the reality is, why would I want something hidden where everybody is going to start saying “Gee (ph), what's hidden?” when I know that I can rebut every single piece of what they have –
CUOMO: Well I agree, if the president wants closure, closure comes from clarity. People have to see things. Here's why, counselor, it's because the idea of criminality matters, that's what the Special Counsel was looking for in the main, but we know that he believes there was wrongdoing. There are political ramifications. Criminality is not the standard for responsible behavior by a president. We need to know the information so people can make a judgment.
GIULIANI: But it is the standard for impeachment, if you read the Constitution strictly, high crime or misdemeanor.
CUOMO: But that’s not legal standard, as you know (ph).
GIULIANI: This says no high crime, certainly no high crime provable and no misdemeanor, provable.
CUOMO: President Ford said a high crime or misdemeanor is what Congress says it is.
GIULIANI: With all deference to president –
CUOMO: One of yours, one of yours. Republican president.
GIULIANI: -- not exactly a constitutional (inaudible)
CUOMO: No, but look, It's about votes. You know that.
GIULIANI: He says “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime.”
GIULIANI: So no conclusion that he committed a crime. How can you even go forward? This is all the prosecutor --
CUOMO: Also said -- what's the part after that?
GIULIANI: It does not exonerate him. They don't have to exonerate him. You’ve got to prove he's guilty.
CUOMO: That's absolutely true.
GIULIANI: Even for impeachment.
CUOMO: I don't know why the A.G. echoed that –
GIULIANI: This is a cheap shot.
CUOMO: I don't know why Mueller said it. He either makes a decision for a prosecutor –
GIULIANI: -- this is unprofessional.
CUOMO: Fair point, his job is not to exonerate.
GIULIANI: He is exonerating in the next two paragraphs. The next two paragraphs say not sufficient evidence and no obstructive conduct.
CUOMO: Right. Well –
GIULIANI: That's exoneration by Rod Rosenstein, the Attorney General and the Office of Legal Counsel.
CUOMO: Right, now look, I would argue that he was a little bit more circumspect than that. The reason he says he couldn't come to a conclusion about obstruction is because there was proof both ways and there was some division, either internal or internal to his own mind. So obviously there was proof of wrongdoing when it came to obstruction sufficient enough that he couldn't just make a call, I can’t prosecute (ph) --
GIULIANI: No, no, no, there isn't proof of wrongdoing. What there is – he’s got a staff of at least eight people that are rabid partisan Democrats, never should have been on the staff. One of them was the counsel to the Clinton foundation. Suppose I was investigating Hillary Clinton with the counsel to the Trump foundation --
CUOMO: But that's like saying Mueller shouldn’t be the Special Prosecutor to a rock-ribbed conservative --
GIULIANI: Weissman -- he's not a rock-ribbed conservative.
CUOMO: What are you talking about?
GIULIANI: He wouldn't have selected Weissman. He wouldn’t have selected Jeannie Rhee
CUOMO: He’s a (ph) Republican his whole life.
GIULIANI: He wouldn’t have selected a Democrat.
CUOMO: He’s bonafide, he’s never questioned –
GIULIANI: Well then he's certainly not a rock-ribbed Trump Republican. In any event he had 8 people work for him who hate Trump. He had a lead investigator that was all over the text saying he hated Trump. That's disgraceful.
CUOMO: And when he found out about –
GIULIANI: You think this is objective?
CUOMO: Hold on, let’s not move backwards.
GIULIANI: You think this is objective?
CUOMO: Let’s not move backwards. What I’m saying is --
CUOMO: I agree with you that his job is to make a call (ph) --
GIULIANI: It's not objective. It's a cheap shot.
CUOMO: -- not to punt. I'm with you on that. What I'm saying is this, criminality, again, you know my line, felony -- if not a felony, then it's fine, that doesn't work for me as a standard for presidential conduct. You know there was enough wrongdoing here --
GIULIANI: It doesn't work for presidential conduct, but for overturning the will of the electorate and throwing out a Democratically elited (ph) leader, it better be a darn serious crime. That's why they said high crime.
CUOMO: Or a pattern of abusive power that turns up –
GIULIANI: But he didn’t –
CUOMO: -- that turns up the nose of Republicans and Democrats.
GIULIANI: Let’s think about this, how fair was this investigation? Let's go to the first part of it.
CUOMO: It's only four pages. It's been like a year and a half.
CUOMO: It’s pretty light.
GIULIANI: These are conclusions. Conclusions are (ph) top notes.
CUOMO: Well, some, nothing about counter intelligence –
GIULIANI: How about the first conclusion. We should just take a breath and stop, and everybody should apologize for accusing the president falsely of collusion. That turns out to be totally false, totally speechless (ph), completely unsupported. He's completely exonerated. There's no evidence of it. No evidence. How did he (ph) investigate --
CUOMO: All right, let’s take them one at a time (ph).
GIULIANI: No, let’s not, because they bear on each other.
CUOMO: No, no, I’m saying let’s take that one count.
GIULIANI: No, you have to look at Barr’s brilliant analysis. It begins with very hard to obstruct a non-crime. You can do it, but very hard.
CUOMO: He says – well, hold on, he says more than that. He says there's no obstruction in the context of there being no underlying crime found. You don't need to have an underlying crime to have obstruction --
GIULIANI: No, he doesn’t say that.
CUOMO – Martha Stewart.
GIULIANI: He said it is very rare that you can have corrupt intent when there is not an underlying crime. He is exactly right. It is very rare. Yes it is possible, but it's a very heavy burden to overcome. There's also something extremely Bush league about investigating something, there's no crime committed, and now you're going to trap the guy in some kind of crazy (inaudible) obstruction theory --
CUOMO: You don’t know if obstruction is a crime or not until you investigate. And the idea that we didn’t need to look at this, Russian interference wasn’t real, there weren’t real questions about who was meeting with whom and then lying about it repeatedly --
GIULIANI: -- absolutely not a scintiller (ph) of evidence that the President of The United States was involved. Do you know how absurd that charge was to me? Being on that campaign? It was ridiculous. It would not have been believed about Hillary Clinton. Now tell me how you can make –
CUOMO: Why would it be believed about Hillary Clinton, she had nothing to do with this the way he did –
GIULIANI: Tell me how you can make an obstruction case, when he didn't destroy 30,000 e-mails. He didn’t chop up (ph) --
CUOMO: When is that the standard? He got rid of Comey. He said it in a way that seemed to be related to what Comey was looking at --
GIULIANI: He is allowed to fire anyone that works for him, and he had seven good reasons to do it.
CUOMO: But not – well he could have had some bad reasons too.
GIULIANI: That doesn't matter as long as he had good reasons.
CUOMO: It does in terms of why you look. Come on Rudy.
GIULIANI: No, there's no reason to have looked. He had every right to fire Comey. In fact, that was an intrusion on the president's power.
CUOMO: Then why do the guys around him – and including the president, keep lying about these kind of things (ph)?
GIULIANI: Because people lie all the time. You told me Martha Stewart lied when there was no underlying crime. Maybe they're embarrassed. Maybe they forget.
CUOMO: But if you lie, people look.
GIULIANI: Maybe they get tricked by tricky prosecutors like Weissman, who has been cited three times for unethical behavior. Disgraceful that Mueller had him working for him. The man is a menace. The man is an absolute menace. How could you have –
CUOMO: You can argue the personality, I'm arguing points of fact.
GIULIANI: How can you possibly, with a straight face, say that you would find a crime with Trump obstructing when Hillary Clinton destroyed --
CUOMO: What does she have to do with it --
GIULIANI: She has a lot to do with it, because of the president (ph) –
GIULIANI: Let me finish my sentence. She destroyed 30,000 e-mails. She took a hammer to her cell phone. She whitewashed her servers. He didn't do any of that. How can you say this was obstruction? Second, what was obstructed? The thing went forward. We finished. He had 500 --
CUOMO: It went forward but Comey was taken out. That's the reason Rosenstien asked for the Special Counsel.
GIULIANI: Good. It didn’t obstruct anything. What did it obstruct? Five hundred witnesses, $40 million --
CUOMO: But if you make -- obstruct doesn’t have to be a completed act.
GIULIANI: Ninety agents –
CUOMO: If you attempt to obstruct, that's something that we want to look at, not saying he’s guilty.
GIULIANI: Oh my God, now we have an attempt to obstruct a non-crime. This is like stretching to prosecute the man.
CUOMO: That’s -- you are defining it that way and it’s very clever, but what I’m saying is --
GIULIANI: No, it's not very clever, it’s (ph) justice.
CUOMO: You had a –
GIULIANI: You guys on this network –
CUOMO: Yes, what have I done?
GIULIANI: -- have tortured this man for two years with collusion and nobody has apologized for it.
CUOMO: First of all –
GIULIANI: Before we talk about obstruction –
CUOMO: There was –
GIULIANI: -- apologize for the overreaction of collusion.
CUOMO: Not a chance, not a chance.
GIULIANI: Well of course you're not.
CUOMO: Not a chance and I’ll tell you why
GIULIANI: Of course you’re not, because you're not being fair.
CUOMO: No, please, you know better than that or you wouldn’t be here.
GIULIANI: No, I don’t know better. I'm outraged by the behavior of these networks. Collusion, collusion, collusion, collusion, collusion, collusion. No collusion, Chris. No collusion.
CUOMO: Here's my case.
CUOMO: Never. Here’s my case --
CUOMO: Never, I didn't do anything wrong. These questions are real. They needed to be regarded as such.
CUOMO: And they needed to be investigated. Did you hear me say that?
GIULIANI: No, but I heard the (ph) network say it –
CUOMO: Do I hold you accountable for what people that I – that you don’t?
GIULIANI: There were people that were on this network that did. How about this network should apologize, how about Jeff Zucker should apologize.
CUOMO: Do I ask you to apologize for everything the president says that’s not true?
CUOMO: OK. Good, so we’re even.
GIULIANI: But you ask me to apologize for what I do, and I do. If I accuse somebody --
CUOMO: Tell me what I did, and I'll apologize.
GIULIANI: I'm not saying that you should do it.
CUOMO: Then why should I apologize?
GIULIANI: Your network should apologize.
CUOMO: I don’t apologize for the network.
GIULIANI: Your network should apologize.
CUOMO: I’m proud of the network, I’m proud the job it does (ph) –
GIULIANI: And NBC should apologize –
CUOMO: -- but I only control what I say.
GIULIANI: And the New York Times should apologize.
CUOMO: All right, hold on.
GIULIANI: -- and the Washington Post should apologize –
CUOMO: I’m not a media critic.
GIULIANI: -- and Adam Schiff should apologize.
CUOMO: Look, that's a question for him. I’m happy to ask it. This is what I’m saying --
GIULIANI: Before we start jamming him up on obstruction, couldn't we take a day off and say the man was falsely accused? This is a --
CUOMO: I’m not jamming him up, I’m saying --
GIULIANI: This is a cockamamie.