Giuliani Says There Is ‘Nothing Wrong With Taking Information From Russians’

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, insisted on Sunday that it was acceptable for a political campaign to use hacked information about its opponent obtained from a foreign adversary — though he personally would have advised against it.

“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Mr. Giuliani said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that he would have argued against using it, “out of excess of caution.”

“It depends on where it came from,” he said, adding on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a political campaign’s decision to use stolen information from foreign adversaries “depends on the stolen material.”

Mr. Giuliani’s assertion, which built on similar previous remarks that he had later backed away from, was offered partly as a rebuttal to questioning about a meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 in which Trump campaign aides met with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. It also underscored another aspect of the special counsel’s report, released last week by the Justice Department, that the president has largely avoided addressing: that Russia secretly influenced the 2016 presidential election.

“They shouldn’t have stolen it, but the American people were just given more information,” Mr. Giuliani said on “Meet the Press.”

The interviews by Mr. Giuliani were part of the parallel interpretations of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, that played out on national television on Sunday, as Trump allies and Democrats battled for control over the narrative on the report’s conclusions. Mr. Trump, who spent the holiday weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, has only commented on the report’s publication via Twitter, usually between golfing and spending time with his grandchildren.

“Despite No Collusion, No Obstruction, The Radical Left Democrats do not want to go on to Legislate for the good of the people, but only to Investigate and waste time,” the president wrote on Twitter shortly before attending an Easter service at the Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea in Palm Beach. “This is costing our Country greatly, and will cost the Dems big time in 2020!”

Mr. Giuliani and other Trump aides claimed vindication and offered a vociferous defense of the president in a series of television interviews, even as senior congressional Democrats vowed further investigation.

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on “Meet the Press” that he would call Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, to testify, adding him to a list of key figures in the inquiry he will seek to hear from, including Mr. Mueller and Attorney General William P. Barr. Investigators in the special counsel’s office relied heavily on Mr. McGahn’s cooperation, notably including his account of an episode in which Mr. Trump told him in June 2017 to have Mr. Mueller ousted.

Mr. Nadler said some of the president’s actions detailed in the Mueller report, if proved, might warrant impeachment. But asked about beginning an impeachment inquiry, he said that “we may get to that, we may not,” adding that his committee’s task at hand was “to go through all the evidence, all the information and to go where the evidence leads us.”

His conditional response showed how House Democrats as a whole are continuing to grapple with how to answer the impeachment question — and present a united front.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, conceded on “Face The Nation” that Democrats must be “very careful” in weighing whether to begin impeachment proceedings, but went further than Mr. Nadler in his analysis.

Even if the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump but the Senate failed to remove him, Mr. Cummings said, “I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.”

With representatives back home in their districts on a recess, House Democrats will convene on Monday on a caucus conference call in the hopes of getting on the same page. Democrats, while doubling down on demands for an unredacted copy of the report and testimony from the Justice Department, have splintered into two camps on the issue of impeachment. Democratic leaders in the House, cognizant of the political perils of initiating an impeachment inquiry without bipartisan buy-in, have repeatedly thrown cold water on the idea. The party’s left flank, however, has urged leadership to begin proceedings, arguing that anything less would amount to an abdication of constitutional responsibility.

“What we are going to have to decide as a caucus is: What is the best thing for the country?” Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Is the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office? Or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up an impeachment that we know will not be successful in the Senate?”

Mr. Trump displayed no such hesitancy in his position. “How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats?” he tweeted on Sunday evening. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

And even as the president and his allies trumpeted their vindication — “I have never been happier or more content,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning — they also lashed out at their perceived enemies.

“The Trump Haters and Angry Democrats who wrote the Mueller Report were devastated by the No Collusion finding!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, less than two hours after wishing the country a happy Easter. “Nothing but a total ‘hit job’ which should never have been allowed to start in the first place!”

They also singled out the testimony of certain aides who testified before Mr. Mueller’s team and conservative lawmakers who criticized Mr. Trump’s behavior as outlined in the report.

On Saturday night, Mr. Trump, ostensibly in response to a scathing statement from Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, shared a video mocking Mr. Romney’s unsuccessful presidential run in 2012.

Mr. Giuliani added to the criticism of the Utah senator, calling Mr. Romney a “hypocrite” for his statement. Mr. Romney had said he was “sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection” from administration officials, “including the president.”