Former Trump aide says ‘screw that’ to Russia investigation subpoena
A former aide to Donald Trump declared on live television that he was refusing to co-operate with a subpoena requiring him to hand over campaign information to the investigation into Russian election meddling.
Sam Nunberg, who helped launch Mr Trump’s White House run before being fired when racist comments on his Facebook page were exposed, conducted a string of interviews in which he said he would refuse to help Robert Mueller’s probe of the 2016 election.
And he made a number of embarrassing claims – suggesting Mr Trump would have endorsed Hillary Clinton if he had not won the Republican nomination, and that Mr Mueller may have evidence of the president’s wrongdoing.
He said collecting emails other communications with key Trump advisers, including Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, would be too much effort.
“They want me over at the grand jury. Screw that. Why do I have to go?” he told CNN.
“I’m not going to build the case that they are trying to build.”
Refusing to comply with a summons could bring contempt of court or even obstruction of justice charges and a possible prison sentence.
“Let him arrest me,” Mr Nunberg told The Washington Post earlier in what turned out to be his first interview of a day filled with media appearances. He said he would not appear before the grand jury on Friday and would tear up court documents on Bloomberg TV.
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I am worried for Sam Nunberg‘s well-being but if he ignores a federal subpoena, he should be sent to jail until Hell freezes over.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 6, 2018
Mr Nunberg reportedly began working for the Trump Organisation in 2011 before joining the property mogul’s election campaign when it launched in 2015. But he was sacked after only a few weeks amid media scrutiny of his Facebook posts.
Since then he has been a frequent critic of Mr Trump. Despite his criticisms, however, he said on Monday he would not comply with what had become a “witch hunt”.
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He added that he had been interviewed by Mr Mueller’s team for more that five hours last month as it investigated possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Since then, he said, he had been asked to turn over communications.
"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," he told MSNBC.
"Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family to me. I’m not going to do it."
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He also claimed on CNN that Mr Mueller likely had some kind of evidence about Mr Trump’s misbehaviour, “but I don’t know about that for sure”.
The White House said it was co-operating with the investigation and dismissed Mr Nunberg’s concerns.
"I definitely think he doesn’t know that for sure because he’s incorrect," said Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman.