Inside the West Wing, multiple White House officials were watching Sam Nunberg’s interviews on Monday about refusing to comply with special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury subpoena with rapt attention.
Several say they are stunned by the former Trump campaign aide’s freewheeling interviews, calling them “bizarre” and “nuts.”
Aides have said that before they try to tune out daily developments on the Russia investigation – the only way, they say, they’d be able to continue about the business of running the country.
But Nunberg’s blanket phone interviews on television made that task difficult on Monday.
Nunberg called into cable news three times between 2:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. ET to explain his decision to refuse to appear before a grand jury.
In them, he suggested that President Donald Trump may be implicated in Mueller’s ongoing probe into Russian election meddling.
In the middle of his cable spree, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders delivered her daily briefing and suggested Nunberg was woefully misguided in his allegation that Trump may have committed wrongdoing during the campaign.
“I think he definitely doesn’t know that for sure because he’s incorrect,” Sanders said. “There was no collusion.”
Nunberg dismissed Sanders’ response later during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, saying he didn’t “want to hear from what’s-her-name today attacking me.”
“If she wants to attack me, I can attack her,” Nunberg said. “I’ll be more than happy to deal with her face to face.”
Trump himself was due to meet with his UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, in the midafternoon, though didn’t have any events listed on his schedule past 2 p.m. ET.