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Rudy Giuliani on Sept. 11 Trials

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," January 29, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, now the White House is looking at moving the 9/11 terror trials from New York City.

America's mayor relieved at that, but he's angry about this, the trial still set to happen in a federal court, still here in the U.S. of A. Rudy Giuliani says, keep Gitmo open, prosecute the terror suspects there, all of them.

Former Republican mayor of New York, presidential candidate as well, joining me right now.

Mayor, good to see you.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, R-FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Good to see you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Everybody is blinking in the wake of this. And you were steadfast on it. And now your successor seems to be singing more your tune now, Michael Bloomberg, and now the administration looking for not Gitmo, but an alternative.

GIULIANI: I predicted about a month ago that the president was going to move the trial out of New York; he just didn't know it, right?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What do you think happened?

GIULIANI: Now I think he's going to move it to a military tribunal.

CAVUTO: I know, but what brought that?

GIULIANI: But he's not quite there yet. And he's just going to go through a lot more pain until he gets there.

What brought him there is, it was — as Pete King says, it was one of the most irresponsible decisions an American president ever made. It makes no sense at all to try this man in a civilian court. We're not proving anything to anybody, except maybe some left-wing ideologues.

There's no constituency for, oh, my gosh, it's much fairer to try him in civilian court than a military tribunal. It's particularly no fairer after you've already announced, as the president did and the attorney general, that he's guilty, that he's going to be convicted, and, if he doesn't get convicted, you are going to keep him in jail anyway.

So, this is a public relations thing we're dealing with.

CAVUTO: But, you know, there is — we have had all these constitutional purists — I do want to talk about that in a second — but who say, well, you know, we never declared an act of war. So, by not doing that, or Congress not doing that, all this other stuff we have been doing with these guys is weird.

GIULIANI: OK. I will give you an example, the attack on Pearl Harbor. There was no act of war declared. It wasn't declared until a day or two later. Would we have treated those people as civilian criminals who just committed murder or treated them as war criminals, enemy combatants?

The designation...

CAVUTO: But the act of war was declared a day later, right?

GIULIANI: OK, but it wasn't at the time the act was being...

CAVUTO: Fair enough.

GIULIANI: ... and it was on American soil.

All throughout the Civil War, all throughout the Second World War, all throughout the Korean War, which was not necessarily declared — it was a — considered a military action, a police action, I think it was called — we treated them as enemy combatants. Truman did. Eisenhower did.

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: ... like we did during in the Vietnam War.

CAVUTO: So, there is precedent.

GIULIANI: Yes. And what better case? Why would you want to give terrorists more rights and more benefits than you have to give them?

Military tribunals are fair. They're just. We're giving them a lot more justice than they ever gave any of their innocent victims, who they just killed for horrible reasons.

CAVUTO: So, that there is legal precedent?

GIULIANI: And who the heck is going to be impressed with a trial in a civilian court that is going to become a circus, that the president of the United States and the attorney general have already announced the results of?

CAVUTO: Yes.

GIULIANI: So, let's say we try them in civilian court and we convict them. If they're trying to impress these terrorists, the terrorists are just going to say, well, that was a foreordained conclusion.

So, this makes no sense. It's not necessary. Scott Brown was absolutely right when he said we shouldn't be spending money on terrorists' lawyers. We should be spending money on catching terrorists.

And the reality is, give them exactly what they're entitled to, nothing more. I think that's where the American people are. And I think the president is going to get there. And it's going to take him longer. I mean, I wish we didn't have to go through all this.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I do watch "Law & Order." So...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: I have been on it.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: I know you have.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: But, again, not being a lawyer, and I'm watching the State of the Union, covering it, down in Washington, and the president singles out those nine Supreme Court justices.

GIULIANI: Horrible.

CAVUTO: Leaving aside the accuracy of what he said, which I know you want to get into, just the theater of that, and everyone standing up and surrounding these guys, what did you make of that?

GIULIANI: I thought it was horrible.

I argued in the Supreme Court — it's one of the great highlights of my career as a lawyer — when I was in the Reagan administration. I brought my mother to watch me argue.

And when he said it — I was on an airplane, watching it on an airplane — I really kind of lost it, for two reasons. First of all, embracing the Supreme Court of the United States in a partisan — here is a president talking about wanting to be bipartisan, and he makes this, like, unprecedented partisan attack on the Supreme Court, so that his congressmen and senators who agree with him, not the Republicans, all get up and cheer. They are leaning over them and cheering.

That's an absurd thing...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But your issue was that what he was saying was false, that they were not giving a green light to governments and all...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Dead — dead wrong.

CAVUTO: Right.

GIULIANI: I mean, if the president is going to do that, my goodness, and you're a lawyer and constitutional law professor, at least read the opinion.

The opinion says, by Justice Kennedy, we need not reach the question whether the government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associates from influencing our nation's political process. That's page 46 and 47 of the opinion.

He didn't read the opinion. He's also wrong that it overturned 100 years of precedent. It overturned 19 years of precedent — big difference.

CAVUTO: But maybe he was really trying to score political points here.

GIULIANI: Well, but you don't — you don't — you don't do something unprecedented, which is to embarrass the Supreme Court, certainly bad manners, certainly very unfair to do, because they can't answer.

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: And then you're wrong.

CAVUTO: Well, that certainly poisons the well with the court going forward, right? What is to make them show up for the next State of the Union?

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: I think it also creates more of the credibility gap that this president has. He wasn't telling the truth. He wasn't accurately stating the opinion.

CAVUTO: Well, he's — this has been brought up, by the way, not to the degree you have, but...

GIULIANI: This is what Justice Kennedy wrote. I didn't make it up.

CAVUTO: I know, but that is why Alito was blanching when he...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Well, I'm sure Justice Alito said to himself...

CAVUTO: Right.

GIULIANI: It must have been almost spontaneous. And what did he say, it's not true? That's not true?

Well, it's not, Mr. President. You're wrong. Now apologize for it.

CAVUTO: But he hasn't done that.

GIULIANI: Well, he should.

CAVUTO: And he hasn't done, sort of like after the Boston incident...

GIULIANI: Just, almost lawyer to lawyer, he should apologize. He misrepresented the opinion of the Supreme Court, in an attempt to humiliate the court.

And, my goodness, I mean, he has a responsibility, as a lawyer, to apologize to the court and set the record straight.

CAVUTO: I don't want to switch gears too dramatically, but you were getting a rousing reception in Utah, Salt Lake City, right? And I would not say, offhand, that's your base, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: It wasn't Yankee Stadium.

CAVUTO: It wasn't Yankee Stadium.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: And I don't mean that disparagingly. So, what am I to glean from that and the fact that both you and Mitt Romney were rock stars there?

GIULIANI: Well...

CAVUTO: Now, he, I know — from that area for...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: First of all, I was talking to mayors. And I have a natural affinity with mayors.

CAVUTO: Right.

GIULIANI: I mean, they — we have kind of...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: It wasn't a presidential ticket, I was thinking?

GIULIANI: Oh, no, no, no. One mayor brought that up, that it would make an excellent presidential ticket.

But I think what we're — I was talking about the responsibilities mayors have. I was explaining to them the CompStat system, how you can use it effectively to...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But, Mayor, they were all but chanting, "Rudy, Rudy," you know?

GIULIANI: Well, they were very enthusiastic.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: They were great.

CAVUTO: No, but you don't see that out of a lot of...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Right. I thought it was good.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: ... which was nice, but, I mean...

GIULIANI: It was very, very nice. I think mayors have a — most of them were Republicans. Maybe a third were Democrats. But they seemed to be all pretty enthusiastic.

And we were talking about accountability in government...

CAVUTO: OK.

GIULIANI: ... I mean, how to make government accountable.

CAVUTO: So, that wasn't the next ticket, presidential...

GIULIANI: No, it was more of a — a little more of a technocrat speech than it was a political speech, about how to manage government agencies to get the most out of them.

CAVUTO: All right, Mayor, very good seeing you.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Very good seeing you. I didn't know you were so big in Salt Lake. Now I know.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: All right.

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