Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has said US special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is trying to frame President Donald Trump.
Mr Giuliani, who has been serving as Mr Trump’s lawyer amid the Russian collusion scandal, said in Israel that Mr Mueller’s team includes “13 highly partisan Democrats … (who) are trying very very hard to frame him to get him in trouble when he hasn’t done anything wrong”.
Speaking to the Globes capital market conference in Tel Aviv, Mr Giuliani said the US leader has the power to pardon himself, but will not, because he is innocent.
Mr Trump’s team and allies have waged a public relations campaign against Mr Mueller and the Justice Department to discredit the investigation and soften the impact of the special counsel’s potential findings.
“They have revealed no evidence that President Trump has done anything wrong,” he added. “None.”
Mr Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump took steps to shut down that investigation through actions, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Though Mr Trump insists he did nothing wrong, the statements from him and his lawyers have made clear that much of their defence revolves around establishing that he was constitutionally empowered to take the actions he took.
On Mr Trump’s ability to pardon himself, Mr Giuliani said: “The law of the United States is that the president of the United States has unlimited, unreviewable power to pardon people from federal crimes even before they are convicted.
“Does he have the power to do it? Yes. Is he going to do it? No. He’s innocent. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
He said Mr Trump’s tough line had forced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to plead to reschedule their summit.
The former New York mayor said there was no choice but to cancel the June 12 summit after Mr Kim insulted the US vice president and national security and threatened nuclear war.
“We said, ‘Well, we’re not going to have a summit under those circumstances,’” Mr Giuliani said.
“Well, Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
The summit is now back on for next Tuesday in Singapore.
Mr Giuliani suggested similar tactics should be used with the Palestinian Authority, which has cut off ties with the US in protest over Mr Trump’s decision to recognise contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“They have to be seeking peace. You gotta change the dynamic and put the pressure on them,” he said.