Sam Nunberg and Last Night’s NASCAR Press Pileup [Updated]

YouTube screengrab

It was another breathless bombshell evening last night as media proclaimed that a “Former Trump Aide” said that he believed Trump “may very well have done something during the election with the Russians.” CNN carried a series of bizarre interviews with Sam Nunberg who was refusing to comply with a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller to produce documents and appear before a grand jury. Nunberg spouted off a series of accusations against Carter Page and others that were immediately picked up as potential confirmation of collusion. However, each CNN interviews made it more and more clear that the network had a virtual freak on a leash. Soon Nunberg denounced Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a “fat slob” and telling her to shut her “big fat mouth.” Nunberg was clearly neither credible nor under control but he drove the coverage for hours as a former aide supporting Russian collusion theories. It was part of our new media: NASCAR journalism where media rushes figures like Nunberg in front of cameras and viewers watch for the inevitable crash. Update: Nunberg now is saying that he will cooperate after all.

I do not blame CNN for running the initial interview. After all, Nunberg was defying Mueller, which is clearly news. However, it quickly became very sad and rather sordid as Nunberg became more and more unhinged.  Analysts tried to connect his free-flowing allegations to theories of collusion. In fairness to CNN, various hosts noted that he had an axe to grind against Trump and had not been part of either the general election campaign or the Administration.

Nunberg was fired in February 2014 by Trump but rehired as a communications adviser in February 2015.  He was fired against from the campaign in August 2015 and admits that he is bitter about his treatment by Trump.

Nunberg first gave an interview with the Washington Post to proclaim his defiance of Mueller over a wide-ranging demand for emails and communications with President Trump and others. CNN then landed the first of what became a litany of increasing painful interviews – leading to virtual self-immolation before CNN host Erin Burnett. It all made for riveting television at first but soon devolved into little more than a freak on a leash. After CNN ran the Nunberg interviews non-stop throughout the day, Nunberg finally imploded with Burnett who said that he smelled of booze.  It was like watching a media euthanasia.

Nunberg was never particularly credible given his short stint as a campaign adviser who was fired for racist postings. From the first interview, he careened wildly between saying that he “hated” Trump to saying that he still supported him. Finally, in his late interview with Burnett, Nunberg effectively destroyed the value of the full day of analysis and admitted that he had no personal knowledge of Page colluding beyond his public work  as a consultant in Russia. He also admitted that he had no basis to believe that Trump was aware of the meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower other than his assumptions based on the same news stories that Burnett was following.  His bombshell allegations were reduced to “if I had to guess” speculations on issues like the knowledge of President Trump.

The interviews became increasingly repellent to watch. However, Nunberg may have forced the hand of Mueller who may find it hard to walk away from a defiant witness. Nunberg could find himself in jail for contempt if he defies the subpoena from Mueller. He will be called to a show cause hearing and would have to come up with something other than saying that he resented having to go through his emails like a paralegal. Since he is unlikely to claim the Fifth Amendment after speaking for hours with investigators, he would likely be jailed for contempt if Mueller pursues the matter.

While Nunberg dismissed the notion that Mueller would ever try to put him in jail, he could be set for a rude awakening.  He would follow the same path as Susan McDougal in the Whitewater investigation. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr prosecuted Susan McDougal and her former husband, Jim McDougal, for fraud and other charges. After securing her conviction, Starr pulled her before a grand jury to testify about the Clintons but she refused. She spent 18 months in jail for contempt.

Ironically, Nunberg may have helped his case with Mueller by destroying any value as a witness. After his appearances on CNN, Nunberg could not take the stand to assert that the Pope was Catholic without jeering from the jury box. However, with subpoenas flying out of the Special Counsel’s office, it may be hard for Mueller to simply ignore Nunberg. Even if Nunberg was not drinking before the Burnett interview, that should serve to sober him up by Friday.  If so, he will make his way to the grand jury and start listening to counsel.

In the meantime, Nunberg has made himself into the Martha Mitchell of the Trump era.

Nunberg earned a B.A. from McGill University  and graduated from the Touro Law Center in Long Island, New York.

134 thoughts on “Sam Nunberg and Last Night’s NASCAR Press Pileup [Updated]

    • So it never was Trump/Russia collusion, it was Trump/Emirates collusion? What will it be next, Trump/East Timor collusion?

    • More from the “long on innuendo and short on facts” machine known as the American media. Hey, I heard Trump had Russian dressing in his salad last night. Call in the Special Prosecutor de Cuisine!

    • Young Turks opined a year ago that the Seychelles meeting which included Blackwater’s Erik Prince (his sister is Trump’s Sec. of Ed.) would bring down the House.
      Unexpected- the cited quote from Russia media attributed to Scaramucci.

  1. REQUEST

    Professor Turley, please call for a second special investigation.

    There is a cancer growing on the DOJ, FBI, Obama, Hillary Clinton “deep state”.

    • It’s time for the REAL special investigation to begin…that of the FBI, DOJ, the intel “deep state”, Hillary’s entourage and the entire Obama gang.

  2. Julian Assange sez (via Twitter)

    @JulianAssange

    1/ While the US media’s exploitation of Sam Nunberg’s mental state is exceedingly distasteful, it is balanced by the strong public interest in understanding Mueller’s probe, PROVIDED THAT the media was not acting as a proxy for the DoJ/FBI.

    2/ It would have been improper for the DoJ/FBI to interview Nunberg in such a state, particularly without a lawyer. The coercive nature of the state creates responsibilities. That said, the power of billion dollar media giants like Comcast (NBC/MNSBC) approaches that of the state

    • Assange’s credibility was blown with Wikileaks’ selective dirt. Moscow’s favored candidate was inexplicably lucky.

        • Not true. Stormy is suin T rump. At this point. Stormy hss more credibility than Assange. Da women were more than likely tellin da truth about his assaults. He is Hannity’s man along with T rump.

          • You are certainly not one to judge credibility, for you have none and make it a point to make yourself look stupid at every opportunity.

            Your best course of action would be to make up another sock puppet and start over. At least then you could start with a clean slate, unhindered by the buffoonery repute you presently espouse.

          • Keep up the good work, Ken–original recipe or crispy. I like both just fine.

            P. S. Stormy has outsmarted both Trump and his consigliere at their own game: denial denial. Next up she’ll no doubt outwit the demented duo at admission admission. Exquisite. Delicato. Multi perfecto.

            • L4D- agree about Original Ken. In very few words, he drills down on the truth and provides the bonus of humor.
              Also appreciated, L4D’s cogent explanations that avoid legal parsing and tie together disparate relevant evidence into the damning whole of the Trump debacle.

              • Thanks much. Squekkky and da T rump w.n. ‘S got da blog administrator on their side so it is a tough place to be anti the Trump Putin or Koch bros agenda.

            • Remember when he wrote Putie da letter asking him to release da Clinton emails that there is all ya need to now Diane.

          • Autumn’s “cultists” might be inclined to reassess, if Wikileaks released negative information about Republicans who serve the richest 0.1% and, that includes Trump e.g. the tax scam bill. Has Wikileaks exposed the potentially embarrassing machinations behind efforts against unions or behind shadow state governing by American oligarchs. Nyet.
            But, there’s still time for Wikileaks to make itself credible.

            • Linda writes: “Republicans who serve the richest 0.1% ”

              (20017 data of donations to poltical parties)

              Top 300 zip codes nationwide (representing the top 1.4 percent of socio-economic status):
              Democrats $71 million
              Republicans $47 million
              (60 percent Democratic)

              Big Four metropolitan areas’ zip codes in top 5 percent by socio-economic status:
              Democrats $77 million
              Republicans $42 million
              (65 percent Democratic)

              Big Four central-city zip codes in top 5 percent of socio-economic status:
              Democrats $48 million
              Republicans $21 million
              (70 percent Democratic)

            • Let’s deal individually with the billionaires Linda complains about:

              Jeff Bozos $112 Billion Democrat
              Bill Gates $90 Billion Democrat
              Warren Buffet $84 Billion Democrat
              Jeff Zuckerberg $71 Billion Democrat

              Charles Koch $60 Billion libertarian (Republican for Linda’s benefit)
              David Koch $60 Billion libertarian (Same)

              Jeff Bozos has almost double what the Koch’s have yet for that .1% Linda always points to the Koch’s. This demonstrates how far astray Linda has gone and how little she actually knows about the world around her.

              • Bill Gates and others who are like him, uniformly advocate for the greed positions characteristic of the right wing- no increases in minimum wage, privatization of common goods like public education, preference for living in states with the most regressive tax systems, opposition to business regulation and worker pensions, etc. They’re not seen promoting universal healthcare nor unions, etc.
                During the Obama campaign, articles were written about a wealthy hedge funder who sought to donate to Obama while running an attack on pensions (rejected). The guy was simultaneously funding Republicans. To become a DINO to hedge one’s bets is in the DNA of the greedy, as are attempts to make the Dem. party the concubine party of the rich.

                There is no fight among the Republican Party constituents. On the other hand, the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party is being played out in situations like the current primaries in Texas.
                The votes for Trump and against Hillary are evidence that citizens are desperate to throw off the shackles of the donor class who finance ALEC and the falsely interpreted, Center for American Progress.

                • “Bill Gates and others who are like him, uniformly advocate for the greed positions characteristic of the right wing”

                  In other words, if you don’t agree with Democrats they suddenly become right wing. Wow! This is the craziness of Linda.

                  “Everybody has a right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege.” __Stalin

              • Allan’s false equivalency.
                The Koch’s bought an interest in TIME magazine. AND, they targeted their money, with attached covenants, at universities which provoked both UnKochMyCampus.org and Kochs Off Campus, two groups that work to prevent college curriculum from being supplanted by oligarch propaganda. When Bezos attempts to change school curriculum and to eliminate public education, when he is inextricably linked to an organization like ALEC, when he has governors like Pence, Greitens and Walker, and when he finances a network similar to the Kochtopus, there will be organizations formed to fight him and, I will donate to them.

                • “Allan’s false equivalency.”

                  Another nutty reply that doesn’t tell us what the false equivalency was. Linda is devoid of knowledge, common sense, and ideas. She is a perfect candidate for the gulag.

                  “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” __Joe Stalin

                  • And, there it is, the Koch mouthpiece quoting Stalin. What the Koch’s learned from Stalin was how to be like him. They enjoy the duplicity of painting their opposition with the brush that colors them. We’ve seen the approach used often by the Koch’s. For example, “join with us, we are for freedom and we’re for limited government”, while ALEC erodes elected representation and while ALEC, writes laws that expand the prison population. Cigarette advertising did something similarly duplicitous, “Show your independence by smoking.” In contrast, there’s no product that makes a person more dependent.

                    • “And, there it is, the Koch mouthpiece quoting Stalin. ”

                      I am quoting from your now deceased leader Stalin and I am quoting from ALEC, not Koch. Koch’s father was in Russia for a short time until he learned to despise Stalin something you never learned. His children are libertarians an ideology you should learn about. Yes, the Koch’s are for limited government as you say. That would upset you since you support the type of government Stalin created. Maybe you are quiet about the Stalin part because it is embarrassing for the world to know how many people your hero killed.

                    • Democracy Now, Oct. 3, 2016, “How ALEC and the Koch’s Publicly Back Criminal Justice Reform and Privately Expand Mass Incarceration”.
                      Exploitation and hatred of democracy are built into Koch DNA. The Koch’s borrowed Stalin’s methods… false facades, ratcheting up fear and anger in the population, driving down wages to make people desperate,… Their small tweak- fostering a parallel government like ALEC, in addition to the politicians mouthing and enacting the Koch’s agenda, directly.

                    • “Exploitation and hatred of democracy are built into Koch DNA.”

                      More demonization by Linda. Should people like Linda ever gain complete control of this nation expect concentration camps and mass killings.

                      The Koch’s provide their opinion, an opinion you are free to disagree with. You provide a “state-sponsored truth” where dissidents are killed or enslaved just like in Stalin’s times. Don’t confuse the two. You are generally factless.

          • “Da women were more than likely tellin da truth about his assaults. ” says proofless ken with a sheepish smile.

  3. SIDEBAR

    Turns out Australia’s top diplomat in Britain, Alexander Downer, who had a conversation with a drunken Papadpoulos which “set in motion the FBI investigation of Donald Trump”, facilitated a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation.

      • They wonder in Australia.
        ___________________________________________________________________

        “Australia ceases multimillion-dollar donations to controversial Clinton family charities”
        ___________________________________________________________________

        “AUSTRALIA has poured millions of your taxpayer dollars into Hillary Clinton’s scandal-plagued charity. It begs an obvious question.”

        Rohan Smith@ro_smith
        news.com.auNovember 28, 201612:02pm

        AUSTRALIA has finally ceased pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to Hillary Clinton’s charities.

        Which might make you wonder: Why were we donating to them in the first place?

        The federal government confirmed to news.com.au it has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.

        The Clinton Foundation has a rocky past. It was described as “a slush fund”, is still at the centre of an FBI investigation and was revealed to have spent more than $50 million on travel.

        Despite that, the official website for the charity shows contributions from both AUSAID and the Commonwealth of Australia, each worth between $10 million and $25 million.

        News.com.au approached the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment about how much was donated and why the Clinton Foundation was chosen as a recipient.

        A DFAT spokeswoman said all funding is used “solely for agreed development projects” and Clinton charities have “a proven track record” in helping developing countries.

        Australia jumping ship is part of a post-US election trend away from the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate’s fundraising ventures.

  4. Ain’t American freedom great? The 19th Amendment brought America the full measure of incoherence and hysteria. May we officially title this epoch “The Hillary Clinton State Tantrum”?

  5. Lil Adam Schiff and Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller’s “Investigation of Nothing” has entered the “Silly Season”.
    The psycho-libs have run out of material. It’s time for AG Sessions to rescind the special prosecutor or submit his resignation.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “a dupe which will live in infamy”.

  6. 2 points: 1. Sarah H. Sanders IS a fat slob. 2. This guy worked for Trump, who has proven time and again that he doesn’t hire the best of the best. He re-hired the freak on a leash after firing him. His bizarre performance reflects poorly on Trump, not Mueller.

    • Trumpsters, Hannity and everyone at Fox News: stop claiming that HRC is the one who originally commissioned the “dossier”. From the New Yorker article: “The funding for the project originally came from an organization financed by the New York investor Paul Singer, a Republican who disliked Trump. But, after it became clear that Trump would win the Republican nomination, Singer dropped out. At that point, Fusion persuaded Marc Elias, the general counsel for the Clinton campaign, to subsidize the unfinished research. This bipartisan funding history belies the argument that the research was corrupted by its sponsorship.”

      A Republican is the one who started the investigation against Trump.

      • Another snippet: “For all the Republicans’ talk of a top-down Democratic plot, Steele and Simpson appear never to have told their ultimate client—the Clinton campaign’s law firm—that Steele had gone to the F.B.I. Clinton’s campaign spent much of the summer of 2016 fending off stories about the Bureau’s investigation into her e-mails, without knowing that the F.B.I. had launched a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump team’s ties to Russia—one fuelled, in part, by the Clinton campaign’s own opposition research. As a top Clinton-campaign official told me, “If I’d known the F.B.I. was investigating Trump, I would have been shouting it from the rooftops!” ”

        So, Trumpsters, the next time Hannity or anyone else at Fox claims that HRC orchestrated the Russia investigation, you now know they are lying.

      • The “Empty Wheel” article link below references Jane Mayer’s New Yorker article on Christopher Steele.
        It adds that she reported “new bits” of information, one being that Paul Singer initially started the Steele Russian Dossier project.
        It also notes that according to the public record, that Steele started compiling the Russian Dossier AFTER Paul Singer/ The Free Beacon ended its funding of the opposition research on Trump.
        Paul Singer and the Free Beacon have denied any involvement with the Russian Dossier project.
        Virtually every major news organization has reported that the Russian Dossier project was started after Paul Singer/the Free Beacon stopped it’s opposition research on Trump.
        The Empty Wheel article also notes the the “muddled timeline” in Ms.Mayers New Yorker article.
        In the absence of strong evidence to the contrary ( beyond claims made in the New Yorker or Vox) that Singer was involved in the Steele/ Russian Dossier project, the consensus ( and the public record) that the project began with the Perkins Coie> to Fusion> to Steele with DNC funding still stands.
        If credible evidence does emerge that Singer and/ or the Free Beacon initiated the Russian Dossier project, they will be shown to be liars and can share responsibility with the Democrats for the Russian Dossier.

  7. This is a perfect storm of political activists posing as journalists, their cravings for scandal, and an audience addicted to political infotainment. The President is a master at getting his adversaries to overplay their hand.
    Score another win for Trump. Meanwhile, the March 5th deadline for Congress to pass DACA law has passed — a dismaying forfeit. Where is the media’s outrage over Congressional irresponsibility?

    • “Where is the media’s outrage over Congressional irresponsibility?”

      The media has covered it quite a bit. You may not like the way they have seeing as how a lot of blame is placed on congressional Republicans for refusing to act and on Trump for causing the problem but the truth is Republicans control Congress and Trump did create the problem.

      Sucks eh?

      • Trump did not create the problem – Obama and a wussy congress created the problem. The Republicans do not “control” congress. They have a nice majority in the House, but a slim majority of one in the Senate, and that is on paper only.
        Other than that, your comment is spot on.

  8. the mass media, they are attack dogs of the left, they just like to pressure people, lie, ruin lives, for everybody but themselves. the first amendment is becoming a sham, a shield behind which miscreants sow social mischief and strife. in this case they trotted the fool out on leash and baited him. it’s very disappointing.

  9. One King of note “feigned himself mad” in order to fool his enemy.
    Perhaps feigned madness is advised when you are up against the power mongers

  10. “Freak on a leash” and “media euthanasia”? I cannot watch excruciating self destruction. It’s too painful to watch.

    Why would Nunberg defy Mueller when he clearly wants revenge on Trump, and is willing to take to media? It’s not like he’s trying to hide his opinions in refusing the subpoena. So, he’ll talk to news anchors for hours but not an investigator?

    Now, Mueller may not want to subpoena him, as he’s already revealed that he will crash and burn, and bring the interviewer down with him.

  11. Nunberg is an emotional guy. My take on it is that he received the subpoena for the emails, had a strong negative emotional reaction, and went public without thinking. There are undoubtedly emails that would prove embarrassing to him and his mentor. It could prove to be a very big job to sort through them one at a time. I don’t see him as someone who would know how to sort his emails to make the selection easier. He seems flummoxed by the request for emails to/from people he claims not to communicate with. If he thought for a moment, that means that his job got easier in that he had to look for emails to/from fewer people. Again, he had an emotional over-reaction before thinking it through.

    otoh, if he wasn’t totally forthcoming in his interviews with the FBI, maybe he’s afraid his emails will prove it. Isn’t immunity based on what he disclosed in his FBI interview? If he didn’t disclose everything and something shows up in his emails, would he not be subject to lying to the FBI and any crimes that are shown in the emails? Given his loyalty to Stone, it’s possible that there is something there.

    • bettykath, I truly enjoyed reading your post, above. So sane. So reasonable. I miss that sometimes. BTW, did you know that Trump sued Nunberg for $10 million for violating a confidentiality agreement? The suit was settled out of court. But I can’t find any reporting on the details. It might help explain Nunberg’s emotional reactivity.

  12. The state prosecutor in the county in which this nunnut resides needs to file a civil commitment proceeding to 1) have him immediately examined by MD psychiatrists for mental illness; 2) if nuts then take any guns away; 3) if nuts and poses a threat to self or others lock him up for compulsory treatment. Thorazine would be good.

    • What happened to our nut houses? They are all now part of some reality found footage horror movie. Right now we can go right after it and spend a lot less money doing so.

  13. For anyone with a lick of objectivity, this is a very good article and a detailed explanation of why conservatives view this investigation as a fraud. Here is an excerpt:

    A pall hangs over Mueller, and a pall hangs over the DOJ. But the darkest pall hangs over the FBI, America’s premier federal law enforcement agency, which since the demise of J. Edgar Hoover has been steadfast in steering clear of politics. Even during L. Patrick Gray’s brief tenure as acting director during Watergate, it was not the FBI but Gray personally who was implicated. The current scandal pervades the Bureau. It spans from Director Comey to Deputy Director McCabe to General Counsel Baker. It spread to counterintelligence via Peter Strzok. When line agents complained about the misconduct, McCabe retaliated by placing them under investigation for leaking information.

    https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/the-politicization-of-the-fbi/?appeal_code=MK218EM5&utm_campaign=imprimis&utm_source=housefile&utm_medium=email&utm_content=feb_2018_politicization_fbi&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–zu03A9TGsIaP0ty7x-Ct55W2H7g5c5pbzu8-KcVsNPTCMINGm8s4gAT9rBXheikb0fXPqb96BkQH-pPOY5n26B_7eUw&_hsmi=61107704

    • Correct. This is to be expected of by an exclusive control system. Can happen with any system that has income by the way. I am not really sure if it is possible to get around it. Other than purging perfectly smart people out of it what do you do?

    • There is little objectivity coming from the left. Hillsdale is a great resource but you won’t see any anti-Trumpers reading or commenting on what you posted here. That requires questioning one’s ideology.

      I don’t know but based on the DOJ’s actions we may have tipped over the edge, something that in the long run will upset all sides that do not believe in an autocratic nation where justice is determined by the state rather than the people.

      • I should have added that I am disappointed that on this issue Turley seems so enthralled with the drama rather than the law. I would have expected him not to be so superficial.

    • We are returning to the times of Hoover abuses, only it’s not limited to one agency.

      This bias casts a pall on all agents, which is unfortunate. This comes from the top down, and it is only a matter of time before hiring practices ensures that those on the front line are plucked out of Fahrenheit 451.

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