TRANSCRIPT: Major Garrett Interviews former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome to Face the Nation.  I'm Major Garrett, filling in for Bob Schieffer.  Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani starts us off this morning.  He is New York.  Mr. Mayor, good morning. 

(LAUGH)

RUDY GIULIANI: Good morning.

MAJOR GARRETT: So--

RUDY GIULIANI: It's an exciting day in New York today.

MAJOR GARRETT: Indeed.  Governor Chris Christie.  The question seems to be what did the governor know and when did he know it.  As you know, those two questions have sort of an historical echo to them.

RUDY GIULIANI: Right.  They sure do.

MAJOR GARRETT: Now, David Wildstein's attorney says there is evidence that Governor Christie knew more than he has disclosed and knew earlier than he's disclosed.  Not thinking about this politically, but thinking about it as your former role as a U.S. Attorney, does this strike you as legally significant?

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, no, it isn't.  I think the Times kind of acknowledged that when they kind of pulled back on the story.  I mean, they first played it as a big bombshell evidence.  Here's what it is.  It's an offer from a guy who says he has evidence, hasn't given the evidence yet.  However, you have to take that into context.

This is a lawyer who's writing for a man who wants somebody else to pay his legal bills and he can't get them paid unless the governor is responsible.  And he's a guy that's seeking immunity.  You factor all those things in-- well, first of all it's not evidence.  It's the suggestion, the tantalizing suggestion, that there may be evidence.

And then you've got at least two big credibility issues with it.  So my advice to everyone would be, instead of overplaying it as a bombshell which the Times did and then had to back off, I would say put this in context.  This is a long investigation.  It's going to take a while.  There's going to be stuff like this that just jumps out and everybody's going to exaggerate.  They're going to have to back off.

The governor has denied it.  So far, there's no evidence to suggest that he's not telling the truth.  I think the governor knows the consequences.  If he's lying, it's a really bad situation.  If he's not lying, then something very unfair is being done to him.  So let's see what happens.

MAJOR GARRETT: How bad a situation, Mr. Mayor, the Newark Star Ledger said Friday, "If this is true, two words must encroach in this conversation:  impeachment or resignation."  How do you factor that?

RUDY GIULIANI: The important words there are, "If it's true."  And that's where, you know, I could do about 50 different situations where "if it's true, this guy has to be impeached, this guy has to resign."  The "if it's true" is the kind of unfair part.  I mean, the reality is we don't know if it's true.  All we have is this allegation with a lot of questions about it ratcheted up from just an allegation and a suggestion to evidence, which it wasn't.

So, that "if it's true" thing is really unfair.  Of course, if the governor didn't tell the truth, the governor is in serious trouble.  We all know that.  But we shouldn't jump to that conclusion until there's evidence to suggest that.

MAJOR GARRETT: For the time being, should the governor resign from his leadership position at the Republican Governor's Association?  As a loyal Republican, do you believe he is hurting the party's image and should step down from that position--

(OVERTALK)

RUDY GIULIANI: No, if I were a governor, I'd vote to keep him there.  Look, Major, maybe I suffer from, you know, having been a Republican office holder in a Democratic city, lots of newspapers coming after you, some that have real biases.  If we have our guys step down any time they do this, "Let's get a Republican, let's get the Democrats to have a special committee, with a guy running the special committee who announces that he believes the governor is lying before he begins the investigation," they're going to harass us during this entire campaign.

There's nothing wrong with saying the following, "Until and unless there's evidence that proves he did something wrong, we're going to take the governor at his word.  We're going to let him do his job."  I believe it's going to come out all right.  If it doesn't, there's always time to take action then.

MAJOR GARRETT: What I hear you saying, Mr. Mayor, is that you believe this is something of a political opposition witch hunt against the governor.  Is that what you're saying?

RUDY GIULIANI: I believe two things, Major.  First of all, I think there's a real incident that was unfortunate and bad and the governor apologized for that.  I don't want the minimize that.  But what I'm saying is, you take that real incident and now you've got pile on.

You have a Democratic legislature with a guy who'd like to be governor, who very, very oddly announces at the beginning he doesn't believe the governor.  And no Democrat in the state sees that it's odd that he should be running an investigation when he's already announced that he knows the answer that none of us know the answer to.  He knows the answer the governor is lying.  He should not be running that investigation.

       

MAJOR GARRETT: And do you believe--

RUDY GIULIANI: That tells me--

MAJOR GARRETT: --reporters are--

RUDY GIULIANI: That tells me all I need to know about the credibility or the political motive of what's going on.  But I don't want to minimize the fact that there's a real issue here.  That's a serious one.

MAJOR GARRETT: Okay, very good.  Super Bowl security.  Are you satisfied with where things are and what is your prediction for today's big game?

             

RUDY GIULIANI: I'm very satisfied.  I think both on the New York side and on the New Jersey side, and I've seen a lot of it-- I was walking the streets yesterday, took a look at it on Friday.  A few people have come to me to ask me some advice about it.  I think it's really, really good security.  I think that--

MAJOR GARRETT: Who's going to win?

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I think the New York police and the New Jersey police are going to win.  I think Commissioner Bratton is going to win, and Chris Christie, for doing a great job.  And then you want to know who I think is going to win?  I think Peyton Manning's going to win.  I think that's the key.  The key to the game--

MAJOR GARRETT: Very good.

RUDY GIULIANI: --is two evenly matched teams.  One guy that's been there before and may be the greatest guy at that position except for Joe Montana in the history of football.

MAJOR GARRETT: Very good.  Mr. Mayor, thank you, so much for joining us.  It's great to have on Face the Nation.

RUDY GIULIANI: Thank you.

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