After a day of bizarre interviews - possibly while under the influence of one or more substances - Trump campaign associate Sam Nunberg says he will "probably end up cooperating" with special counsel Robert Mueller after previously stating he would not comply. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday,” Nunberg told the Washington Post.
Nunberg, who was fired from the Trump campaign in 2015 over offensive Facebook posts, was subpoenaed by Mueller to appear before a grand jury investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
"I’m not going to cooperate with Mueller. It’s a fishing expedition," Nunberg told Bloomberg News. "They want me in there for a grand jury for testimony about Roger Stone. He didn’t do anything. What is he going to do? His investigation is BS. Trump did not collude with Putin. It’s a joke."
“Let him arrest me,” said Nunberg.
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After an awkward appearance on CNN, host Erin Burnett wrapped up the interview by suggesting Nunberg had been drinking.
“We talked earlier about what people in the White House were saying about you ― talking about whether you were drinking or on drugs or whatever had happened today,” said Burnett. “Talking to you, I have smelled alcohol on your breath.”
Here's CNN's Erin Burnett telling former Trump aide Sam Nunberg that she can smell alcohol on his breath. He says he hasn't been drinking. pic.twitter.com/tryye9AiqA— Jim Dalrymple II (@Dalrymple) March 6, 2018
Nunberg claimed he had not had a drink and had only taken antidepressants earlier in the day - however the Daily Beast reported on Monday evening that Nunberg had been acting strangely in reaction to Mueller's subpoena, and that they were worried he had been "drinking again," and was about to enter into a tailspin.
Starting Monday morning, Nunberg began calling several close associates that he was flatly refusing, at this time, to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Three Nunberg friends said they walked away from those conversations fearful that he was “drinking again” and was about to embark on a personal tailspin. They didn’t know it would play out on daytime TV. -Daily Beast
Fellow former campaign aide Carter Page said that Nunberg's claim he colluded with the Kremlin was bogus, and implied that Nunberg had a drinking problem. "There's been a lot of people that have been quite intoxicated for over a year and a half now, so nothing new here," Page told Sean Hannity on the Fox News.
After admitting to host Katy Tur that he’d been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators, Nunberg was then asked if he believes the special counsel “has anything” on Trump. “I think they may,” the ex-aide responded. “I think he may have done something during the election. But I don’t know that for sure.”
That was enough for both the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News Tonight - which kicked off their programs with the possibly drunk, possibly high Nunberg's bumbling admission:
“The former Trump campaign aide believes investigators have evidence that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians, but Nunberg refuses to appear before a federal grand jury,” hyped CBS Justice reporter Paula Reid. She also played audio of Nunberg suggesting “Trump may have very well done something during the election with the Russians.”
The [ABC] network’s Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas also hyped Nunberg’s “stunning suggestion” about Trump and collusion. “Nunberg suggesting on yet another cable show that he believes the President knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians,” the ABC reporter added before playing a clip of his phone interview on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.
Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt described the off the wall interviews and phone calls as “a fascinating twist in the Russia investigation.” And NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker touted Nunberg’s antics: “Tonight, defiant and digging in. Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide turned Trump antagonist dropping this bombshell, becoming the first former adviser to publically suggest candidate Trump may have done something wrong.” -Newsbusters.org
Mueller has requested all emails, text messages, work papers, telephone logs and other documents pertaining to a list of individuals dating back to November 1, 2015 - approximately four-and-a-half months after Trump launched his campaign.
NBC News reported last week that Mueller's team is asking pointed questions about whether Trump knew about hacked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign before the public found out. The subpoena indicates that Mueller may be focused not just on what Trump campaign aides knew and when they knew it, but also on what Trump himself knew.
The list (via NBC):
- Steve Bannon, who left the White House as chief strategist in August.
- Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer for Trump who testified before congressional investigators in October.
- Rick Gates, Trump's former deputy campaign manager, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
- Hope Hicks, who resigned last week as Trump's communications director.
- Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager until June 2016.
- Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager and Gates' business partner, who pleaded not guilty to money laundering, conspiracy and making false statements last week.
- Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
- Keith Schiller, a former bodyguard for Trump who left as director of Oval Office operations in September.
- Roger Stone, a longtime Republican political operative and Trump campaign adviser who sources have told NBC News is the focus of investigators interested in his contacts with WikiLeaks during the campaign.
In response to the laundry list of deliverables, Nunberg told Bloomberg News "They want me in there for grand jury on Friday. I’m not paying the money to go down there," Nunberg said. "What’s he going to do? He’s so tough - let’s see what they do. I’m not going to spend 40 hours going over emails. I have a life."