Former Trump campaign official Sam Nunberg thought it was a good idea to a) ignore an apparent subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller and b) go on CNN and talk all about it.
The legal soundness of that decision is, um, questionable. But from a news perspective it was absolute gold. In that vein, I scoured the transcripts of Nunberg’s conversation with CNN’s Gloria Borger and Jake Tapper for the best – and, by that, I mean most absolutely bonkers – nuggets. The shiniest ones are below.
1. “Do you think I would ever talk to that moron?”
And, we’re off! This is Nunberg talking about Carter Page, another former Trump staffer. Page, it’s worth noting, might be the only person who has handled the PR around the Mueller investigation worse than Nunberg.
2. “I’ll send you the full subpoena.”
I’m no lawyer – sorry Mom! – but this doesn’t feel like the smartest move by Nunberg. Not only is he rejecting Mueller’s subpoena but he’s also offering to send it, in full, to a reporter?
3. “I’ve been warned not to go after [Mueller]. I’ve been warned that you’re wrong, that he’ll take you down.”
4. ” I suspect that they suspect something about [Trump].”
SIREN. A former campaign adviser to Trump says he believes Mueller thinks he has “something” on Trump in regard to the Russia investigation. And that’s actually only the second worst quote on the subject Nunberg gave Monday afternoon! He told MSNBC’s Katy Tur: “I think he may have done something during the election. But I don’t know that for sure.”
5. “[Trump] may very well have not done anything.”
Well, I’m convinced! What a Trump advocate, this Nunberg!
6. “Irregardless of whether or not he had money coming to him during the election, OK, during the general, he won that election and he doesn’t get credit for it.”
Irregardless of your husband being shot, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
I am exaggerating, but not entirely. I mean, the whole question Mueller is investigating is how Russia sought to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor and whether anyone in his campaign colluded with them to so it. It’s not about whether Trump won or not.
7. “They think that Roger [Stone] colluded with Julian Assange. I can tell you Roger did not collude with Julian Assange.”
“No collusion.” – Donald Trump
8. “I was fired, correct?”
Well, this is going swimmingly so far!
9. ” 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.”
“I invented the piano key necktie. I INVENTED IT.” – Jacobin Mugatu
10. “Now, Roger is more loyal to trump than me. I don’t care.”
[narrator’s voice] He cares. A lot.
11. “I just came around having to spend 80 hours over the weekend, I started this, Gloria, on Saturday.”
The weekend lasted 72 hours.
12. “Screw that! Why do I have to go? Why? For what?”
Me, every time my wife tells me I haven’t had a physical in 15 years and need to go to the doctor.
13. “I’m not a Donald Trump fan, as I told you before, okay? He treated me like crap.”
REMINDER: This is a guy who is ostensibly on Trump’s side in all this.
14. “They ask me to go to the grand jury after I sat there for close to five and a half hours, Gloria, I’m not going back in.”
I think this is my favorite part of Nunberg’s defense for refusing the Mueller subpoena: It takes too long. What Nunberg is saying, essentially, is: This whole grand jury thing is, like, a total time suck. I’m not doing it.
15. “I was told that if you had asked [Trump], he would lie and tell you that Putin was there.”
This is Nunberg describing what he knew about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Russia. It’s going to get lost amid some of his more bananas quotes, but, holy cow, this is a good one.
16. “I was told that that idiot had offered to send women up to Trump’s room but Trump didn’t want it. He’s too smart for that.”
First of all: Amazing!
Second: What Nunberg is referring to is the offer by an associate of Russian pop star Emin Alagarov to send prostitutes up to Trump’s room during the Miss Universe pageant. Former Trump body man Keith Schiller testified about this episode last year.
17. “Trump is too smart to have women come up to his room.”
This is fine.
18. “The idea that we were the Manchurian candidate.”
Sam Nunberg is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.
19. “Trump may have very well done something during the election with the Russians.”
I mean. I mean. I MEAN.
To summarize Nunberg so far in this interview:
- Trump is the worst
- He won fair and square
- There was no collusion
- Trump may have done something with the Russians during the election
20. “Am I the first person you ever heard to flat-out say I’m not going in?”
If we’re being honest: Yes.
21. “You had Mueller indict Russians for what? He indicted Russians for what?”
Oooh ooh. Call on me! I know this one. “For executing a widespread and complex attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy and hurt Hillary Clinton’s.”
What do I win?
22. “Let me take this for two seconds, OK?”
This is the BEST. Nunberg, on cable TV to announce he is ignoring a federal subpoena, tries to take a call on the other line. Epic.
23. “He thinks Trump is the Manchurian candidate, and I will tell you I disagree with that.”
“BREAKING: Former Trump aide says President is not the ‘Manchurian candidate’”
24. “I despise Corey [Lewandowski]. Why would I communicate with Corey? Hope Hicks? Who was having an affair with Corey?”
Aaaaand, Nunberg is off the Lewandowski Christmas list!
25. “I am not a fan of Donald Trump.”
Yes, you made that abundantly clear.
26. “All we were doing was trying to get Corey fired.”
An amazing explanation by Nunberg for why he and Stone didn’t collude with the Russians: They were too busy trying to get Trump’s campaign manager fired! They didn’t have the time! Even if they wanted to!
27. “Granted, Donald Trump caused this because he’s an idiot.”
So, according to Nunberg, Trump is: a) an “idiot” b) likely under investigation by Mueller for interactions with Russia c) totally innocent of any charges of collusion.
28. “I’m going to be the first one in history to flat out say, I’m not going.”
Nunberg is very interested in making history here. You might even say he has an inflated sense of his place in history. I mean, someone might say that.
29. “I think Mueller has enough on Trump.”
Nunberg logic: I don’t need to testify before a grand jury because Mueller is already good on Trump. So, OK.
30. “I’m not cooperating. Arrest me.”
[Bob Mueller thought bubble]: “I might”
31. “I’m not a fan of Donald Trump.”
As a careful observer of the human condition, I had surmised this – even without Nunberg telling me.
32. “And they know something on him and Jake I don’t know what it is.”
So, Mueller has “something” on Trump. Don’t know what it is. But, it’s something.
33. “I think she’s terrible, by the way. I mean how do you have – it’s the funniest thing to me that Trump likes her.”
Nunberg is also not a fan of Sarah Sanders! Who does he like? Also: Trump liking Sanders is the “funniest thing” to Nunberg.
34. “Do you know why Trump was so stupid to fire [James] Comey?”
Is this a rhetorical question? Also, I am starting to get the sense Nunberg doesn’t like Trump…
35. “Who in the hell advised him to allow those Russians in the Oval Office?”
Nunberg is referencing a May picture in which Trump is shown shaking hands and smiling with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Also, I have been wondering the same thing about that meeting since it happened.
36. “Robert Mueller is a professional person. Robert Mueller is an honorable man.”
We found someone Nunberg likes!
37. “Do you think I would communicate with Carter Page? He’s a scumbag.”
Um, so, no, I guess?
38. “I believe Carter Page was colluding with the Russians.”
In some ways – a lot of ways – Sam Nunberg and Carter Page are made for each other. Like Batman and Robin. Or that weird movie where Superman and Batman fought.
39. “I think that Carter Page is a weird dude.”
40. “Do you think should I cooperate?”
Without question my favorite part of the Tapper-Nunberg interview. As Jake is trying to wrap things up, Nunberg looks for some validation for his decision. Which Jake, um, does not give; “If it were me, I would,” he responded.
41. “Jake, I’m definitely the first person to ever do this, right?”
The insecurity. It stings.
42. “I’m definitely the first person to do this.”
This is, without question, the first time anyone has annotated two interviews by the same guy in a single day. I think. Right? Eh, forget it. I am a history maker. You know it. I know it. The American people know it.
CORRECTION: This story initially misidentified the person Nunberg referred to as a “moron.”