MANHATTAN (CN) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told a federal judge Monday that he played no role in crafting President Trump’s “so-called Muslim ban executive orders,” despite Giuliani’s previous claim to the contrary on Fox News.
Giuliani told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Jan. 29 of a conversation he’d had with President Donald Trump. “I’ll tell you the whole history of it,” Giuliani said. “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”
Giuliani’s statements also were reported in The Washington Post.
To opponents of the travel ban, Giuliani’s comments confirmed suspicions that the Trump administration reverse-engineered a pretext to stop Muslim immigration, fulfilling a campaign promise.
Federal judges in Maryland, Hawaii and at the Ninth Circuit cited Giuliani’s remarks as evidence of religious discrimination behind Trump’s executive orders temporarily barring refugees from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.
But Giuliani backtracked on Monday.
In a high-profile federal case in Manhattan, Giuliani is representing Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is accused of laundering millions of dollars for Iran.
Giuliani’s work on the case raised eyebrows for U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who ordered the former mayor to disclose any possible conflicts of interest.
During months of proceedings, Giuliani disclosed that he met with Turkey’s authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in January, and that his law firm, Greenberg Traurig, is a registered agent for the Turkish government.
Berman questioned whether Giuliani’s divided loyalties could backfire on his client Zarrab and compromise the integrity of the proceedings.
Berman also demanded that Giuliani disclose his work for the White House.
Giuliani distanced himself from the Trump administration in an affidavit he signed Monday.
“Neither I nor my firm has represented the Trump administration,” he wrote. “In particular I have not served on any Trump administration commission ‘relating to the so-called Muslim ban executive orders.’”
The carefully worded denial allows room for Giuliani to have convened the commission.
“For clarity, I have not participated in writing any of the executive orders on that subject issued by the Trump administration,” his affidavit states.
Giuliani also downplayed his role as a White House cyber security adviser.
“With regard to cyber security, I am leading a group of experts from the private sector that will provide information regarding their experiences with cyberattacks, vulnerabilities, and solutions identified by the private sector,” he wrote. “This is a nondeliberative body charged with sharing information with the president and administration officials in a direct and unfiltered manner regarding private sector experiences and expertise. It is not an official agency or commission of the government, it does not have any government funding or staffing.”
Also Monday, federal prosecutors said that the relationship between Giuliani’s firm and the Turkish government could be compromising.
“This relationship obliges Mr. Giuliani to, as noted above, protect Turkey’s confidential information and to act in its best interest – an obligation that may result in ‘inconsistent duties’ with his representation of Zarrab – but it is not an attorney-client relationship for the purpose of providing legal advice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard wrote in a letter to Judge Berman, who will investigate the matter further in a Thursday hearing.