A former member of the Trump campaign gave a series of interviews today in which he pledged to not cooperate with a subpoena issued by special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller, and that President Trump knew about a meeting between his campaign and Russian during the 2016 presidential election for a week in advance. The President has maintained that he had no knowledge of the meeting either before or immediately after it took place.
Sam Nunberg, a longtime attache of on-again, off-again, Trump adviser Roger Stone, advised Trump back in 2014. He then came back into Trump’s orbit 2015 when he officially became a candidate in the presidential election. He was quickly fired that year for posting racist statements on Facebook.
His mentor, Stone, was fired not too long after that and since then both Stone and Trump have disagreed publicly as to whether he quit or was fired. Both Stone and Nunberg blame former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for their split with Trump.
In an interview today Nunberg said he would be defying a subpoena received from Mueller to hand over any emails he has exchanged with members of the Trump campaign including Stone, Lewandowski and others.
“They want every e-mail I had with Roger Stone and with Steve Bannon. Why should I hand them e-mails from November 1st, 2015? I was thinking about this today, Katy, I was preparing it. Should I spend 50 hours going over all my e-mails with Roger and with Steve Bannon? And when they wanted e-mails that I had with Hope Hicks, with Corey Lewandowsky. Are you giving me a break? It’s ridiculous,” he said to MSNBC’s Katy Tur.
Nunberg then asked Tur what she thought Mueller’s team of investigators would do to him for defying the subpoena. “I’m not a lawyer, but I think he’ll hold you in contempt of court,” Tur responded.
Tur asked Nunberg if he believes Muller’s team has something on the President. “I think they may. I think that he may have done something during the election,” Nunberg said.
In a subsequent interview with CNN, Nunberg was asked about a June 2016 meeting between members of the Trump campaign that included the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr. and individuals representing the Russian government. The Trump campaign maintained that the meeting was about a popular Russian adoption program.
Subsequently publicized emails though, would show Trump Jr. being offered, and accepting, the meeting on the basis that the Russian government was willing to hand over incriminating evidence on Donald Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton, in an effort to help the Trump campaign.
President Trump has maintained that he knew nothing of the meeting in advance and only became aware of it after news of it became public. Asked if he thought it was true that President Trump knew nothing about the meeting, Nunberg replied that he didn’t.
“No. It doesn’t… Jake, I’ve watched your news reports you know it’s not true. He even talked about it for a week before, and I don’t know why he did this,” Nunberg said to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“All he had to say was yeah we met with the Russians. The Russians offered us something and we thought they had something and that was it. I don’t know why he went around trying to hide,” Nunberg added.
Asked about Nunberg’s comments today during the White House Daily Press Briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied Nunberg’s accusations and maintained that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“I definitely think he doesn’t know that for sure because he’s incorrect,” Sanders said of Nunberg. “As we’ve said many times before, there was no collusion with the Trump campaign. Anything further on what his actions are — he hasn’t worked at the White House, so I certainly can’t speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought indictments against former members of the Trump campaign including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He also recently indicted thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian entities for interfering with the functions of the U.S. government during the 2016 presidential election.