WASHINGTON — Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, took to afternoon cable news channels to defiantly say that he would not comply with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s subpoena to testify before a grand jury and turn over thousands of emails.
The spectacle, starting with a phone interview with Katy Tur on MSNBC and continuing into the night on other shows, was a bizarre twist in the Russia investigation, as Nunberg said that he was willing to go to jail rather than take the time to provide the information.
He called the subpoena “ridiculous.”
“Should I spend 50 hours going over all my emails with Roger [Stone] and with Steve Bannon?” he asked Tur, referring to the notorious political operative who briefly had an official capacity in the campaign and Trump’s former chief strategist, respectively.
“And then they wanted emails that I had with Hope Hicks, with Corey Lewandowski. Are you giving me a break? It’s ridiculous.” Hicks, who recently announced her departure as White House Communications Director, was press secretary on the campaign. Lewandowski was campaign manager.
Later, in another interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Nunberg said, “If they are going to arrest me, arrest me.”
He said that he agreed with Trump that Mueller’s investigation was a “witch hunt,” yet also seemed to lend some credence to the special counsel probe. He also slammed the president, saying that he treated he and Stone, his mentor, “like crap” during the campaign and called Trump an “idiot.”
Nunberg said that he met with Mueller’s office once before, and was “impressed” by them. He also said that he thought Mueller “has enough” on Trump without his testimony. He said in one interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger that Trump “may very well have done something with the Russians during the election.”
“I am the first one in history to flat-out say, ‘I am not going,'” he told Tapper.
Near the end of the interview, he asked Tapper was he thought. “Do you think I should cooperate, Jake?”
“If it were me, I would,” Tapper responded.
He said that he would send Tapper a copy of the subpoena, and finished the segment by adding, “It’s always an honor to be on the show with you.”
Nunberg, who worked in an official capacity on the campaign in 2015, also talked with print outlets, including the New York Times and Bloomberg.
Update: On Monday evening, Nunberg appeared in person on Ari Melber’s MSNBC show, and said that he thought that Mueller’s team was interested in Trump’s businesses. He also said that he was offered immunity.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 5, 2018
— The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC 📺 (@TheBeatWithAri) March 5, 2018
By the end of the evening, there were questions about Nunberg’s emotional state. Appearing on “Out Front with Erin Burnett,” the host said that she smelled alcohol “on your breath.” He said that he was not drinking but had taken antidepressant medication.
He also later indicated in subsequent interviews that he would cooperate will Mueller.