Sam Nunberg, who was an aide with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign before being fired, told The Washington Post on Monday that he would not comply with a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, preferring to face jail instead.
Nunberg also told the paper he also would not provide the records requested by the panel about Hope Hicks, Stephen Bannon, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, Corey Lewandowski, and Roger Stone, saying: “Let [Mueller] arrest me.”
This was big enough. To make matters much worse for himself, Nunberg proceeded to call in for an interview with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, where he had what can only be described as a meltdown on national television. Then he went on CNN and did it again—twice.
On MSNBC, Nunberg said he thinks Mueller has dirt on the president, and that if he’d had his way during the campaign, “We would have Bill Clinton’s illegitimate black child there at the second debate.” He also stuck up for notorious Trump friend Roger Stone.
“I’m not going to cooperate when they want me to come into a grand jury for them to insinuate that Roger Stone was colluding with Julian Assange. Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family,” he told Tur.
Nunberg continued: “I think it would be really, really funny if they wanted to arrest me because I don’t want to spend 80 hours going over emails I had with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone.”
Asked if he thinks Mueller’s team “has something” on Trump, Nunberg replied, “I think that he may have done something during the election,” but qualified that answer by saying he doesn’t know for sure.
This also happened:
Like a train crash in slow motion, Nunberg moved over to CNN, where he continued slinging mud at his former associates, said Mueller wants him to testify that Stone bragged about collusion with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and boasted that he came up with all of Trump’s best ideas.
“I came up with the wall, I came up with the Muslim ban, I came up with everything to attack Jeb Bush,” he told CNN’s Gloria Borger, adding, “I’m not a Donald Trump fan, he treated me like crap.”
Then the former aide really set off fireworks for a big finish, saying, “Mueller thinks that Trump is the Manchurian candidate.”
Then he took a break. Then he went back on CNN to talk to Jake Tapper.
He concluded by asking Tapper if he thought he should cooperate with Mueller. Tapper said yes.
This is what a breakdown looks like in high definition. Have fun in jail, Sam!
UPDATE, 03/05/2018, 7:08 P.M. ET: Nunberg continued his self-sabotage media tour tonight and went on MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber, and Melber, Maya Wiley, and Barbara McQuade — all lawyers — tried to explain to Nunberg how subpoenas and the law works. This picture says it all:
For thirty minutes, Nunberg lobbed bombs at former coworkers like Corey Lewandowski and Hope Hicks (“They colluded to get me and Roger fired,” he said), and gave multiple reasons for why he wasn’t answering the subpoena, claiming at several points that he didn’t want to aid a potential case against Roger Stone and at others that the information requested in the subpoena was “not fair” and “too much.”
Number listed off the names of multiple people with whom Mueller requested his communications, and denied talking to them. “Do you think that I communicated with Corey on November 1?” Nunberg said Melber exasperatedly. “I despise Corey. If I could find Corey in an alley, it wouldn’t be very nice for him.”
Nunberg repeatedly insisted that he won’t go to jail, despite the fact that he’s defying a subpoena and going to jail is one possible punishment for defying a subpoena. Nunberg said he thought his lawyer had dropped him because of his antics today, and mentioned his father (his real father, not Roger Stone, who he also referred to as his father) was opposed to him sabotaging himself on television. “I think your family wants you home for Thanksgiving,” Wiley told Nunberg.
In response, Nunberg assured Melber and the other panelists that he is not mad, and in fact, the idea of going to prison is very funny to him.
“Mr. Mueller can send me to jail, and then you know what I’m gonna do?” Nunberg asked rhetorically. “I’m gonna laugh.”
UPDATE, 03/05/2018, 7:47 P.M. ET: Nunberg is back on CNN and it’s going very well.
UPDATE, 03/05/2018, 11:00 P.M. ET: Nevermind.