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Giuliani claims Mueller waiting for Manafort verdict to negotiate President Trump interview

President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller is waiting for a verdict in the trial of Paul Manafort before resuming negotiations for a presidential interview.

“I think they’re waiting for the Manafort case,” Giuliani said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”

Giuliani said they were not close to an agreement for Mueller to interview Trump and had not heard from him “in a week.” He said his sense of the situation was that the stalled discussions were due to Manafort’s ongoing trial in Virginia.

“I think they feel if they win, they’re going to be empowered,” Giuliani said, adding that “it doesn’t have anything to do with us.”

Manafort’s defense rested on Tuesday without calling any witnesses, and closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday. Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, faces more than a dozen charges on financial crimes and has pleaded not guilty to every charge. He is also set for a trial in Washington, DC, for allegedly violating foreign lobbying rules.

Although he previously said he would like to testify under oath, Trump has yet to submit to an interview with the special counsel team and negotiations have unfolded for months regarding a presidential interview. Giuliani, in his interview on Tuesday, continued to dispute the validity behind a full interview and said a question about potential obstruction of justice by Trump in private discussions with then-FBI Director James Comey would be a “perjury trap.”

“Mueller knows exactly what Trump’s answer is going to be,” Giuliani said.

He added, “He doesn’t need anything more. He can say he’s lying, not lying, except he doesn’t get perjury if we don’t put him into a situation where he swears under oath.”