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Giuliani says Trump did not intervene to nix AT&T-Time Warner merger

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Saturday that the president did not intervene in the Justice Department’s decision to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger — walking back earlier comments appearing to suggest that Trump did.

“I just want to be clear the president did not intervene,” Giuliani told NBC News Saturday.

The former New York City mayor added that the president was out of the loop on Michael Cohen’s consulting deal with AT&T. The telecom giant paid Cohen, who had served as Trump’s personal lawyer until recently, $600,000 for help with “insights” into the president’s thinking.

“He said he had no knowledge at all of the payment to Cohen,” Giuliani said of the president.

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Giuliani also said Saturday that discussions are on hold about a possible Trump interview with the Office of the Special Counsel in the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. The president, he said, is instead focused on other major news, such as the return of three Americans held in North Korea and the announcement to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.

“We were hoping to get it done next week,” Giuliani said.

If the president were to submit to an interview, he added that Trump’s team would request a delay until after the North Korea summit with Kim Jong Un.

“We think we have a couple of weeks to decide,” Giuliani added. “We can’t prepare him in the way that he deserves to be prepared before the summit.”

Looking ahead, Giuliani said they plan to “make a little fuss” next week about the length of investigation on the one year anniversary of Robert Mueller’s appointment, May 17.

Giuliani also said on Saturday that the president also told him that he had “no idea” of the influence Cohen claimed to have in his business contracts and that Cohen “certainly never lobbied” him.

He added that Trump “doesn’t like lobbying. He doesn’t need it.”

Since Trump took office, Cohen had been in contact with the president and Giuliani characterized their conversations as being “all about politics” and early on “maybe about the [Russia] investigation.”

Cohen is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors for alleged payments to two women who claim they had affairs with the president, including adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“The president is concerned for him,” Giuliani said. But lawyers for the president and Cohen agreed there should be no contact. “We don’t want them talking right now,” he added.

After Daniels’ counsel, Michael Avenatti, claimed that he has evidence of additional consulting contracts involving Cohen, Giuliani said he’s not aware of any other business relationships beyond those already made public. “I have no further knowledge,” he added.

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