Giuliani calls timing of Mueller’s latest Cohen bombshell ‘hardly coincidental’

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, criticized the timing of Michael Cohen's guilty plea on charges of lying to Congress: just before the president was about to leave for a high-stakes G-20 summit in Argentina. Giuliani issued a statement Thursday saying Mueller's office was proving Trump's former lawyer lied to Congress by using documents that were … Continue reading “Giuliani calls timing of Mueller’s latest Cohen bombshell ‘hardly coincidental’”

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, criticized the timing of Michael Cohen's guilty plea on charges of lying to Congress: just before the president was about to leave for a high-stakes G-20 summit in Argentina.

Giuliani issued a statement Thursday saying Mueller's office was proving Trump's former lawyer lied to Congress by using documents that were already voluntarily disclosed by the Trump Organization "because there was nothing to hide."

"It is hardly coincidental that the Special Counsel once again files a charge just as the President is leaving for a meeting with world leaders at the G20 Summit in Argentina," Giuliani said.

Giuliani's statement called out Mueller's office for playing politics with the surprise announcement. Giuliani pointed to a similar decision in July when the Department of Justice announced that 12 Russian intelligence officers were to be indicted for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee and others.

The July indictment was announced days before Trump was slated to hold a key summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Trump was meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in Britain at the time of the announcement.

Politico spoke to White House officials who hoped the G-20 summit would showcase Trump's ability to negotiate. Trump's upcoming Saturday lunch with China's President Xi Jinping is seen by some to be a make-or-break meeting between the two leaders. Trump also called off a meeting with Putin over the recent naval clash with Ukraine.

Cohen confessed in a surprise guilty plea Thursday that he lied to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal he pursued on Trump’s behalf during the heat of the 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he lied to be consistent with Trump’s "political messaging."

GREGG JARRETT: COHEN GUILTY PLEA DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SHOW WRONGDOING BY TRUMP

The agreement made clear that prosecutors believe Trump's former lawyer was continuing to pursue the Trump Tower Moscow project weeks after his boss had clinched the Republican nomination for president and well after the point that Cohen has publicly acknowledged.

According to a report by BuzzFeed News, Trump’s company planned to give the tower's penthouse to Putin as they worked on a real estate deal for the building during the 2016 campaign. The claim was sourced by four people, including one of the plan’s creators.

But the plan would have been a “stupid idea,” the source told Fox News on Thursday night, adding that the president “never heard of it.”

Fox News is told Trump's legal team was unaware of such a plan.

Plans for constructing the building were ultimately scrapped.

There is no clear link in the court filings between Cohen’s lies and Mueller’s central question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. And nothing said in court, or in associated court filings, addressed whether Trump or his aides had directed Cohen to mislead Congress.

Giuliani told CNN that "neither of the two versions from Michael Cohen creates a problem for what the president testified."

Fox News’ Matt Richardson and Brooke Singman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

Trump contradicts CIA assessment on Khashoggi killing

President Trump on Thursday appeared to contradict the CIA’s assessment of the killing of The Washington Post writer,  saying the crown prince denies it “vehemently” and the intelligence agency only has "feelings" and there is no smoking gun in the death.

The  Washington Post reported that Trump was vague with who he blamed for the killing. He said, "Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a very, very vicious place."

Trump has been widely criticized for his reaction to the writer’s killing. Despite his intelligence,  Trump said he was not convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the murder.

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said in a lengthy statement.

Trump’s statement appeared to indicate he does not wish to take action against the Saudi government in response to the killing of Khashoggi.

“I hate the crime, I hate the coverup. I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do, and they have vehemently denied it,” Trump said.

Many Republicans — even Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, who share their views on the matter with the president — have denounced Trump’s decision not to levy harsher penalties on bin Salman over the death and dismemberment of Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday he was “astounded” by Trump’s statement and likened it to a press release for Saudi Arabia.

“It is a delicate situation when we have a long-term ally that we’ve had for decades, but we have a crown prince that I believe ordered the killing of a journalist,” Corker told Chattanooga TV station WTVC in his home state of Tennessee. “We don’t have a smoking gun. Everything points to the fact that he knew about it and directed it.”

The Associated  Press contributed to this report

Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.