Political News

Investigators Questioned Giuliani as Part of Leak Inquiry, He Says

Posted June 19, 2018 8:10 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was questioned this year in an inquiry into whether he was told about the FBI’s reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation before it was disclosed to Congress and the public, he confirmed on Tuesday.

During an hourlong interview in Washington in February, Giuliani said, he told investigators for the Justice Department’s inspector general that he had not learned anything before the public did.

Giuliani, a Trump campaign supporter, made statements in late October 2016 on Fox News hinting that a surprise was coming about Clinton before Election Day. The inspector general is examining leaks from the FBI during the presidential campaign, including what prompted Giuliani’s statement, but he said it was about another subject entirely.

“I was talking about a possible speech Trump would give the Friday before the election on national television in which he would outline all the reasons that he should be elected and crooked Hillary should go to jail,” Giuliani said.

He said he told investigators that he had only spoken with retired FBI agents during the campaign about how Comey had handled the email investigation but that they did not share with him any sensitive information about the inquiry.

He said that a friend, the New York lawyer Marc L. Mukasey, accompanied him for the interview at the offices of his former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, which parted ways last month with Giuliani. He had told HuffPost, which first reported his interview with investigators, that he was questioned at the Trump Hotel in Washington, but Giuliani said he had misspoken.

The FBI’s investigation into whether Clinton mishandled classified information shadowed her throughout the campaign. The FBI director at the time, James Comey, was criticized in a new inspector general report for flouting Justice Department policy to announce at a news conference in July that the bureau was not recommending she be charged. The investigation was closed soon after.

In late September, FBI agents in New York discovered possible new evidence in the case when they found relevant emails on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the now-estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton.

About a month later, Comey wrote to Congress, informing members that the FBI had found the emails. The revelation upended the campaign in its final days, and Democrats have said he cost Clinton the election.

But it was the timing of Giuliani’s remarks to Fox News that stirred suspicions that he had inside knowledge of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.

Two days before Comey’s letter to lawmakers, he told Fox News: “I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. He’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days.”

Comey later ordered an investigation into whether FBI agents had tipped off Giuliani. Former and current FBI agents have privately lamented that Giuliani’s grandstanding has hurt the reputation of the New York office.

At a congressional hearing Monday, Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, declined to discuss the leak investigation. Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, said his office continued to examine possible leaks as part of another investigation.

Last week, Horowitz released a lengthy report that looked at the FBI’s actions in 2016. As part of the report, the inspector general reviewed more than 1.2 million documents and interviewed more than 100 people, including Loretta E. Lynch, the former attorney general.

As part of the review, Lynch recounted how she had complained to Comey in late October 2016 about the FBI office in New York. According to Lynch, Comey told her there was a “cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton.”

Comey agreed with Lynch that leaks from the New York office had become a problem.