Comments he made in 1998 during the investigation into President Bill Clinton seem to undermine the arguments he’s making today for Trump.
On Sunday, Giuliani said the president doesn’t have to testify even if subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“We don’t have to,” Giuliani insisted. “He’s the president of the United States. We can assert the same privileges other presidents have.”
But he sang a different tune in an interview with interviewer Charlie Rose two decades ago.
“You gotta do it,” he said. “I’m mean, you don’t have a choice.”
Rose then asked what would happen if the president refused.
“Then there is a procedure for handling that. You go before a judge and a judge decides whether or not he has a recognizable exemption or privilege from testifying. And if a judge decides that he doesn’t, you have to testify. You don’t have a choice about it.”
Later in the same interview, Giuliani said the Watergate case that brought down President Richard Nixon “resolved the fact that the president is not above the law, is not able to avoid subpoenas.”
He said the president has the right to go to a judge to see if the proceeding is improper. “And, if a judge agrees with that, fine,” Giuliani said. “But, if a judge doesn’t, then you have to testify.”
Giuliani said that, as far as criminal law is concerned, the president should be treated as a citizen.
The former mayor also torpedoed another argument that’s been used by Trump, that the investigation is hurting the country.
In 1998, he said the nation could handle it. “The wisdom of the American public may be far greater than we realize,” he said at the time.