Sam Nunberg, a former aide accused by Donald Trump of violating a confidentiality agreement, said he will refuse a subpoena from special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and Nunberg unleashed a series of colorful quotes that included the comment, “screw that.”
However, later in the evening – after a series of unusual and incendiary comments made in interviews – Nunberg indicated he would probably cooperate with Mueller after all.
It’s not the first time that Nunberg has found himself the center of controversy. Donald Trump previously sought $10 million from Nunberg, a former aide he accused of violating a confidentiality agreement for supposedly leaking confidential information to reporters that involves an alleged affair between two controversial Trump staffers, said CNN.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign communications director Hope Hicks are those accused in the scandal, but they deny the affair, The New York Post said, adding that the legal action was in private arbitration.
The supposedly leaked information related to a “public spat between two senior campaign staffers,” said Talking Points Memo.
The Associated Press broke the earlier story on the Trump leak accusations:
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nunberg Challenged Robert Mueller to Arrest Him If He Refuses a Subpoena
Nunberg made the Mueller-related comments during interviews on March 5, 2018. He challenged Mueller to do something about it. “I’m not cooperating. Arrest me,” Nunberg said of Mueller to CNN. “You want to arrest me? Arrest me.”
Nunberg said he shouldn’t have to appear before a grand jury or collect his communications for Mueller. But Nunberg also had harsh words for Trump, blaming the Mueller probe on the president being an “idiot” by firing James Comey and mentioning the Russian investigation in connection with it during an interview.
Nunberg provided part of the subpoena document to The New York Times. It asks him to preserve documents relating to Trump and a series of Trump officials or former officials, such as Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski.
According to CNN, Nunberg said on March 5, “I suspect that they suspect something about [Trump].” But he added, “[Trump] may very well have not done anything.” He also said, “I’m not a Donald Trump fan, as I told you before, okay? He treated me like crap.” He also alleged that Mueller believed Trump was a “Manchurian Candidate,” but Nunberg said he didn’t agree.
Nunberg then appeared to back down from his earlier statements about not cooperating with Mueller, according to NBC News, but called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.”
2. Nunberg Claimed Trump Was Upset Because He Switched His Support to Ted Cruz
The AP reported previously that Nunberg was accusing Trump of using the legal tactics to silence him “in a misguided attempt to cover up media coverage of an apparent affair between senior campaign staffers,” said Raw Story.
The New York Post says the squabble was partly over a story in its Page Six page. Page Six says the relationship between Nunberg and Trump’s campaign went further south “after Page Six exclusively reported in May on a public ‘screaming row’ between the mogul’s polarizing former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, 42, and Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, 27, who deny rumors they had an affair.”
Lewandowski was fired by Trump in June 2016 after a series of controversies including a misdemeanor battery charge that was dropped.
CNN says that Nunberg’s affidavit alleges that the Trump campaign is trying to “silence media coverage” of a “sordid and apparently illicit affair” between Lewandowski and Hicks, described as a 27-year-old former teen model.
CNN quotes Nunberg’s lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg, as saying that Nunberg is being accused of violating confidentiality provisions “by talking about Donald Trump after he was no longer associated with the campaign” and added that the alleged violations have to do “with information within the campaign and relationships between the various people within the campaign.”
Nunberg claims in his written response to Trump’s lawsuit that the suit is “frivolous” and retaliatory” and retaliation for “my change of political opinion and the free exercise of my First Amendment right to abandon my political backing of Mr. Trump and to endorse and associate with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.”
According to Nunberg’s response, posted by The Guardian, he is a political consultant who provided consulting services to Donald Trump through a third party consulting company from January 2011 through December 2012 and then was “directly retained as an independent contractor with the now defunct and non-existent Trump 2012 PCA.”
You can read Nunberg’s response to Trump’s lawsuit here.
3. Nunberg Is a Lawyer Who Worked for the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign
According to his LinkedIn page, Sam Nunberg has a law degree from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, which he received in 2009. He has a B.A. from McGill University.
He says on LinkedIn that he has worked as worked as director of the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project from 2012 to 2014, as deputy political director of the American Center for Law and Justice from 2009 to 2011 and as Students for Mitt NYC Chair, a position he held with the Mitt Romney presidential campaign for less than a year. According to CNN, the American Center for Law and Justice is “a politically conservative, Christian-based nonprofit organization.”
Why file a contentious lawsuit in the middle of a major presidential campaign? It’s unusual, to say the least. Washington Post political reporter Robert Costa says it’s because Trump is so angry with Nunberg.
Some on Twitter are pointing out that Nunberg might hold a lot of secrets.
Trump’s legal counsel has put out a statement:
However, Nunberg claims he was once a valued member of the campaign, telling CNN, “I came up with the wall, I came up with the Muslim ban, I came up with everything to attack Jeb Bush, all that stuff.”
4. Nunberg Was Fired for Allegedly Writing ‘Racially-Charged Facebook Posts’
Nunberg has run into controversy before; he was fired previously by the Trump campaign for allegedly writing racially-charged posts, an accusation he denies, said Bloomberg.
In 2015, CNN reported that Nunberg was fired by Trump “after racially charged Facebook posts he allegedly wrote were uncovered.”
According to CNN, Nunberg was accused of writing “racially charged and disparaging political posts dating back to 2007,” with one labeling Rev. Al Sharpton’s daughter a “N—!” and another dubbing President Barack Obama a “Socialist Marxist Islamo Fascist Nazi Appeaser.” Nunberg denied writing the posts and said even if posts were under his name, it would not necessarily mean he had posted them, said CNN.
Bloomberg said Nunberg said he didn’t remember writing the posts.
5. Nunberg is a ‘Longtime Confidant’ of Roger Stone
Washington Post political reporter Costa says Nunberg is an associate of Roger Stone, a controversial top political adviser of Trump’s who also left the campaign.
He has also written articles for Breitbart, including one with Stone on Hillary Clinton.
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