Sam Nunberg, a former aide to presidential candidate Donald Trump, had already made news. “Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg called before grand jury, says he will refuse to go,” reads the headline on a Washington Post story that debuted about 2:30 p.m. Monday. In addition to seeking Nunberg’s appearance before a grand jury on Friday, the subpoena seeks copies of correspondence with a range of Trump intimates, including outgoing White House communications director Hope Hicks, departed White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and booster Roger Stone. Nunberg, who was fired from the Trump campaign in summer 2015, has already spoken with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s legal team.
“Let him arrest me,” Nunberg told The Post’s Josh Dawsey. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.” Nice quote: Nunberg is interesting in print.
Now check him out on television, a medium in which he just completed a 15-minute discussion with MSNBC host Katy Tur that will surely be sampled by historians.
Some quote highlights:
Nunberg on why he’s saying no to Mueller:
Because what they said to me was absolutely ridiculous. They wanted every email I had with Roger Stone and with Steve Bannon. Why should I hand them emails from November 1, 2015. I was thinking about this today, Katy, I was preparing it. Should I spend 50 hours going over all my emails with Roger and with Steve Bannon. And then they wanted emails that I had with Hope Hicks, with Corey Lewandowski, are you — give me a break. It’s ridiculous.
Nunberg on whether he’s worried that failure to cooperate would land him in jail:
I’m not going to go to jail. He’s not going to do anything. He’s not going to do anything.
Nunberg’s further commentary on getting arrested for refusal to cooperate:
I think it would be funny if they arrested me.
Nunberg on what Mueller would find if, indeed, he did get access to Nunberg’s email traffic (hatred, that is):
When I get a subpoena like this, Roger’s right — it’s a witch hunt. I mean, Mr. Trump’s right, the president’s right. It’s a witch hunt. And I’m not gonna cooperate. Why do I have to spend 80 hours going over my emails that I had with Steve Bannon and with Roger Stone? What does Bob Mueller need to see my emails when I send Roger and Steve clips and we talk about how much we hate people?
Nunberg on the value of mentorship, loyalty:
I’m not going to cooperate when they want me to come in to a grand jury for them to insinuate that Roger Stone was colluding with Julian Assange. Roger is my mentor, Roger’s like family to me. I’m not going to do it.
Nunberg on some of the stuff that Mueller’s people had already asked him about:
You know what they asked — they asked things like, ‘Did you hear people speaking Russian in the Trump office?’ Katy, I did not hear people speaking Russian in the Trump office. They asked things like, ‘Did you hear about Trump Tower Moscow?’ No, I never heard about Trump Tower Moscow.
There’s so much more to this interview. At one point, Tur asked Nunberg if there was a single email he’d found that he didn’t want to disclose to the legal team. Ever the media-savvy fellow, Nunberg asked Tur if a producer had whispered that question through her earpiece. “No, it’s a question I came up with off the top of my head,” parried Tur.
And this exchange happened after Tur asked whether Nunberg thought Mueller & Co. had anything on the president:
Nunberg: I think they may. I think he may have done something during the election but I don’t know that for sure.
Tur: Why do you think that?
Nunberg: I can’t explain that unless you were in there.
Tur: Explain the atmosphere.
Nunberg: The way they asked questions about anything I heard after I was fired from the campaign to the general election to even Nov. 1, it insinuated to me that he may have done something.
A riveting interview, to be sure. Here you have a guy stacking up legal fees while he openly taunts SPECIAL COUNSEL BOB MUELLER. All the while, he’s all but conceding that perhaps he is speaking against his own interest. “By the way, I think my lawyer’s gonna dump me right now,” said Nunberg.
Moments later, Nunberg landed on “The Lead” with CNN’s Jake Tapper, who kindly suggested that his interviewee might consider taking the 80 hours to plow through all those old emails.