Katy Tur: Donald Trump is not complicated: it’s a very simple formula — how does this affect Donald Trump
Joshua Green: Trump is an incredible intuitive politician (8:29) Sam Nunberg gave him the idea for the wall and he tried it out in Iowa and then he riffed on it: Mexico will pay for it, No one builds like Trump. He tries to figure out what will make the crowd roar.
19:30 He would bury one controversy with another controversy. He would steal coverage from Obama by calling for a Muslim Ban. During the Democratic convention, he asked Russia for help with the emails.
If there is any down time, he needs attention.
Trump wouldn’t have been president without Stephen Bannon, because Bannon brought the focus on immigration and egged him on. After the bad publicity for the Elevator Speech, Bannon had him pay a visit to the border. Bannon had spent years studying how to tear down Hillary.
Bannon, as a finance and Hollywood guy, had a lot of experience manipulating rich men.
28:04” : You can’t calculate how much WikiLeaks helped Trump: October 7, the day that the Access Hollywood tape came out, a few hours later the John Podesta emails were leaked. And the leaks came out every day until the election.
Donald and Stephen Bannon really like propaganda.
Donald Trump was a pioneer of Fake News. He would call Tabloids (Rupert Murdoch’s papers) and make up affairs with Kim Bassinger, Madonna, Carla Bruni.
Donald Trump was too much of a good story and he did/didn’t know who he was.
David Clay Johnson: the New York Times never scrutinized his drug/mafia connections. (40 minutes)
The media isn’t capable of dealing with the Presidency
You can’t say I’m not going to write about today’s story because I haven’t finished reporting on yesterday’s outrage (44 min)
The second, former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg, said in an interview Monday that Stone told him that he had met with Assange — a conversation Nunberg said investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III recently asked him to describe... “I wish him no ill will, but Sam can manically and persistently call you,” Stone said, recalling that Nunberg had called him on a Friday to ask about his plans for the weekend. “I said, ‘I think I will go to London for the weekend and meet with Julian Assange.’ It was a joke, a throwaway line to get him off the phone. The idea that I would meet with Assange undetected is ridiculous on its face.’ ’’.. “The allegation that I met with Assange, or asked for a meeting or communicated with Assange, is provably false,” he said, adding that he did not leave the country in 2016... Nunberg told The Post that the questions he was asked by Mueller’s investigators indicated to him that the special counsel is examining statements Stone has made publicly about WikiLeaks.“Of course they have to investigate this,” he said. “Roger made statements that could be problematic.”
.. He said he did not recall the exact date when Stone told him that he had met with Assange, adding that he did not take the comment as a joke at the time. He said he was glad to hear Stone told The Post that the remark was made in jest.
“No one connected to the president should be connected with Julian Assange,” he added.
.. WikiLeaks has come under intense scrutiny from U.S. officials for its distribution of hacked materials. Last year, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said it was “time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a nonstate, hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors, like Russia.”
.. In response, Assange said that Pompeo had chosen “to declare war on free speech.”
During the 2016 race, the organization released hacked Democratic emails at two key junctures:
- A cache of DNC emails landed on the eve of the party’s national nomination convention and
- a collection of Podesta emails appeared on the same day in October that The Post revealed a tape of Trump speaking about women in lewd terms.
.. On Aug. 8, 2016, in an appearance at the Southwest Broward Republican Organization in Florida, Stone answered a question about what he suspected would be the campaign’s October surprise by saying: “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
.. He later said he had not meant that he had communicated with Assange directly.
On Aug. 21, Stone tweeted that something grim was looming for Podesta.
“Trust me, it will soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary,” he tweeted.
On Oct. 3, he tweeted: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”
“Payload coming. #Lockthemup,” Stone tweeted on Oct. 5.
Two days later, WikiLeaks published a cache of Podesta’s hacked emails describing internal conflicts within the Clinton Foundation and excerpts of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street executives.
Sam Nunberg appeared on CNN, and towards the end of a wild and wide-ranging interview with Jake Tapper, he seemed to ask the host for legal advice on whether he should comply with a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Do you think I should cooperate? Should I spend 80 hours going over my emails, Jake?” Nunberg asked.
.. It’s really rare for an interview subject to ask a journalist for legal advice — and speaking as a journalist, I’d say it’s an astonishingly bad idea too.
.. “I’m not a Donald Trump fan, as I told you before, okay? He treated me like crap,” and, “Trump may have very well done something during the election with the Russians, and if you find it out if he did that, I don’t know. If he did that, you know what, it’s inexcusable.”
.. It is not often we get to watch, live on television, a man simultaneously risk contempt of court and antagonize the one man who can pardon him.
.. CNN’s Erin Burnett awkwardly told Nunberg on-air that she could smell alcohol on him; Nunberg denied he had been drinking.
.. Page is the strange kind of man who is smart enough to get a master’s degree from Georgetown University and become an energy consultant with Merrill Lynch, but not smart enough to bring a lawyer with him when he testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, or Mueller’s grand jury.
.. In October, Page agreed to appear on the program of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes — light-years away from being a “friendly interviewer” — and his answers were so breathtakingly forward that Hayes was left in disbelief: “I genuinely hope, Carter, that you are innocent of everything, because you are doing a lot of talking.”
.. Perhaps we could push aside Nunberg and Page and give the award for most self-destructive former Trump adviser to Steve Bannon, who invited Michael Wolff into the White House to gather material for his book Fire and Fury and seemed to think he could trash the president’s children on the record and live to tell the tale... a president who
- announces new trade tariffs without informing his own staff,
- runs an ongoing campaign of public humiliation against his own attorney general,
- tweets furiously about what he sees on cable news, publicly fumes in the morning about Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live.It’s as if the White House mess is serving Tide Pods... Ed Markey claimed, without any evidence, that a “grand jury has been impaneled up in New York” to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russians... Congressman Ted Lieu speculated that a Republican campaign staffer’s suicide was secretly a result of foul play stemming from a conversation with former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn... People are asking, “How sane is Nunberg?” How sane are any of these people? How are cable-news networks supposed to assess the mental health of a former presidential aide when the baseline for “sane” has been adjusted downward so rapidly?
Mr. Nunberg said he couldn’t have been colluding with Russia during the campaign because he was spending his time trying to oust former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. He said he believed former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whom he called a “weird dude,” had colluded with Moscow.
.. Mr. Nunberg also told CNN that the special counsel’s team asked about a June 2016 meeting arranged by Mr. Trump’s eldest son at Trump Tower between top campaign aides and a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied that he knew about the meeting. In the CNN interview, Mr. Nunberg said he believed Mr. Trump was aware of the meeting.
“He talked about it for a week before, and I don’t know why he did this,” Mr. Nunberg told CNN. “All he had to say was, ‘Yeah, we met with the Russians. The Russians offered us something, and we thought they had something,’ and that was it. I don’t know why he went around trying to hide it when he shouldn’t have.”
Trump fired Nunberg — a self-described protégé of political operative Roger Stone — in August 2015 after the disclosure of racially offensive Facebook posts he had written.
.. “Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family to me. I’m not going to do it,” Nunberg told MSNBC.
.. Nunberg also disobeyed requests from Mueller’s investigators to avoid publicly discussing his five-plus hour interview with Mueller’s team in Washington last month.
.. And he called “ridiculous” a question about whether he had ever heard anyone speak Russian in Trump’s office.
.. Nunberg speculated that the grand jury appearance he plans to skip on Friday was arranged in part so he could be asked about what he’s heard from senior Trump associates involving Trump’s attendance in 2013 at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
.. Nunberg said he’s spoken with Trump’s longtime security guard Keith Schiller about that Trump visit — specifically including what Nunbeg calls an offer by Trump’s Russian partners in staging the pageant to send prostitutes to his hotel room.
.. “Trump flat out refused it,” Nunberg said. “I can tell you that Trump is too smart to have women come up to his room.”
.. Disobeying a grand jury subpoena is considered civil contempt and can be the basis for arrest, and prosecutors typically respond with a motion asking the court to hold the witness in contempt.
.. Legal experts pointed to the precedent of Susan McDougal, a former Arkansas business partner of President Bill Clinton who spent 18 months in prison in the 1990s for civil contempt after refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating his Whitewater real estate deals.
.. Nunberg also has ties to one of Trump’s personal attorneys, Jay Sekulow, who he credits with helping him get his start in campaign politics.
.. Nunberg was working as a volunteer for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign when he first met Sekulow, who also is the chief counsel of the non-profit American Center for Law & Justice. Sekulow hired Nunberg to work in ACLJ’s New York office to help stop the construction of a mosque near the World Trade Center site.
.. Nunberg on why he’s saying no to Mueller:
Because what they said to me was absolutely ridiculous. They wanted every email I had with Roger Stone and with Steve Bannon. Why should I hand them emails from November 1, 2015. I was thinking about this today, Katy, I was preparing it. Should I spend 50 hours going over all my emails with Roger and with Steve Bannon. And then they wanted emails that I had with Hope Hicks, with Corey Lewandowski, are you — give me a break. It’s ridiculous.
.. Nunberg on the value of mentorship, loyalty:
I’m not going to cooperate when they want me to come in to a grand jury for them to insinuate that Roger Stone was colluding with Julian Assange. Roger is my mentor, Roger’s like family to me. I’m not going to do it.
.. Nunberg on some of the stuff that Mueller’s people had already asked him about:
You know what they asked — they asked things like, ‘Did you hear people speaking Russian in the Trump office?’ Katy, I did not hear people speaking Russian in the Trump office. They asked things like, ‘Did you hear about Trump Tower Moscow?’ No, I never heard about Trump Tower Moscow.
The former Trump aide’s decision to announce that he was defying a subpoena from Robert Mueller is more likely to pique the special counsel’s interest than dispel it.
.. When former Trump aide Sam Nunberg called into MSNBC on Monday to declare his intention to defy a grand-jury subpoena in the Russia investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team was almost certainly watching with interest.
“I’m not going to cooperate! Why do I have to spend 80 hours going over my emails that I’ve had with Steve Bannon and with Roger Stone?” Nunberg asked NBC News reporter Katy Tur on Monday afternoon. “Why does Bob Mueller need to see my emails when I send Roger and Steve clips and we talk about how much we hate people?”
.. Nunberg, an attorney, said he was willing to go to prison if necessary... Rather than dissuading Mueller, though, Nunberg’s strange appearance on cable television may convince Mueller that Nunberg has a story to tell.
“That’s a pretty amazing interview, I have to say,”
.. “‘It’s hard to cooperate with law enforcement’ is just not a valid reason to refuse to cooperate with law enforcement.” Barrett points out that the the government could argue that, if gathering the relevant emails is too burdensome, prosecutors could take possession of the server and perform the search themselves.
Pressed by Tur about whether he believed Mueller “had something” on Trump, Nunberg said: “I think that he may have done something during the election. But I don’t know that for sure.”
.. That admission on its own may sabotage whatever chance Nunberg had of fighting the subpoena.
.. Nunberg elaborated on the same sentiment—even confirming that the special counsel was now looking into Trump’s business deals. “The way they asked about his business dealings, the way they asked if you had heard anything even while I was fired, it just made me suspect that they suspect something about him,” Nunberg said.
.. “By admitting that Trump ‘may have done something’ and that he may have specific knowledge about that something, Nunberg may have provided a probable cause tipping point that would allow Mueller to obtain a search warrant for all the information—i.e. email content
.. A grand-jury subpoena to turn over information can be fought—either by alleging an excessive burden, or invoking the Fifth Amendment, or seeking to narrow its scope.
.. Nunberg told Tapper that the president had been aware of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, set up by Donald Trump Jr., on the premise that Kremlin intermediaries would provide them with derogatory information on Hillary Clinton.
.. Nunberg might be attempting to put his continuing loyalty to Trump on display, or encourage other potential witnesses to defy Mueller. He could be trying to goad the president into firing the special counsel by publicly announcing Mueller’s interest in Trump’s business practices. Or he may be auditioning for immunity
.. “I wouldn’t take his appearance at face value
“I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Stephen K. Bannon and producing them,” Nunberg told the newspaper. “Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his ass off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”
.. “Even if you have someone’s emails from other parties to them or from the service provider, you ask for them anyway,” Bharara tweeted Monday afternoon. “Among other things you learn a lot when people selectively disclose.”
.. Nunberg was fired in 2014 after an unflattering piece about Trump ran in BuzzFeed. Nunberg was blamed by Trump for the bad press.
Nunberg was rehired for the campaign, but was fired again by Trump in August 2015, after past racially-charged Facebook posts dating back to 2007 were discovered.
.. Unlike Trump, Nunberg did not deny quotes in Wolff’s book, though he did say at least one may have been taken out of context.
- Trump Tower Moscow
- Verify that he heard Russian Spoken at the Campaign