Over the past couple of weeks, President Donald Trump has made a concerted effort to intimidate former attorney Michael Cohen by making not-so-veiled threats towards Cohen’s father-in-law, suggesting that the Department of Justice should look at Fima Shusterman and his business dealings ahead of Cohen’s House testimony.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union this morning, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani dismissed the notion that the president’s actions could be construed as obstruction of justice and witness intimidation, stating that it is completely acceptable because he believes Shusterman has ties to organized crime.
After host Jake Tapper asked him about Trump calling for an investigation into Shusterman during an interview with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro and whether that constituted obstruction, Giuliani said that was merely “defending yourself.”
“If you made that obstruction, I can’t defend anybody,” he added. “To say you’re telling me — no, wait, wait, Jake. We are so — we are so distorting the system of justice just to get Donald Trump.”
Tapper wanted to know if that means it is okay to go after the father-in-law, leading Giuliani to respond that “of course it is” if Shusterman “is a criminal in the southern district of New York.” He further noted that they had talked about Ukrainians and Shusterman “may have ties to something called organized crime.”
“Because he’s Ukrainian?” Tapper asked.
“Well, there’s an organized crime group in Ukraine and in Russia, organized crime,” Giuliani responded.
“Organized crime in Brooklyn, in the Bronx,” Tapper stated. “I think that’s making the leap.”
The former New York City mayor went on to claim that Cohen is just looking to testify against Trump because he’ll get applauded by “crazy anti-Trumpers” but he won’t testify against organized crime figures because they ain’t going to be applauding for him when he goes into a restaurant in Brighton Beach.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.