NEW YORK — Rudy Giuliani pushed back against a Tuesday report that he recently asked President Donald Trump to give him a preemptive pardon, claiming he never made any such a request.
The New York Times, citing two anonymous sources, reported Giuliani and Trump talked about the potential pardon last week. The controversial topic came up in previous conversations between the two men as well, according to the report.
But Giuliani — who’s spearheading Trump’s baseless legal battle to subvert Joe Biden’s election victory — vehemently denied ever talking about pardons with the president.
“Not true at all,” he said in a text message.
Robert Costello, Giuliani’s attorney and friend, echoed his client’s denial, but also suggested that if such a conversation were to ever take place, the public wouldn’t find out about it.
“If there would have been such a discussion, it would have been between Giuliani and Trump. Do you think either one of them would be the source for The New York Times? It doesn’t make any sense. The whole story is ludicrous,” Costello told the Daily News.
Giuliani has not been charged with any crimes, but federal prosecutors in Manhattan are known to be investigating his business dealings in Ukraine and his role in the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to the European country — a move that prompted Trump’s impeachment.
The former New York mayor has also been the point person for Trump’s bid to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. As part of that fact-challenged effort, Giuliani has unleashed a torrent of unfounded accusations of voter fraud and even personally accused Biden of unspecified crimes.
Though unusual, presidents can pardon crimes preemptively. The most famous example was President Gerald Ford’s 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon for any and all crimes that he may have committed as part of the Watergate scandal.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s estranged former personal attorney who remains in home confinement for crimes he committed on Trump’s behalf, said he has no doubt his former boss is considering a pardon for Giuliani.
“There’s nothing new that’s going on here. Donald Trump has dangled pardons like a drunken sailor going back to 2017,” said Cohen, whose attorneys were at one point in talks with Trump about a possible pardon before he publicly broke with the president. “He does this to keep everybody’s mouth shut and on track with his message.”
Last week, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser.
Flynn was awarded the pardon after rescinding a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s 2016 campaign ties to Russia. Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political confidante, received a sentence commutation from the president earlier this year after similarly refusing to cooperate with prosecutors.
Trump’s likely to issue several more pardons before leaving office on Jan. 20. Beyond Giuliani, Trump has several other associates who remain in legal jeopardy, including Paul Manafort, his former campaign chair, and Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist.
Story by Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News.