US President Donald Trump’s former aide Sam Nunberg has admitted that the president “may have done something illegal”. In an extraordinary interview, he has also stated that he would defy a grand jury subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller.
A number of associates who are part of the Trump presidential campaign have been implicated in the ongoing investigation about Russia’s alleged election interference.
The consensus amongst the intelligence community in the US is that members of the Russian government interfered with the US elections to destabilize the presidential bid of former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. It has also been reported that the Russian government tried to disrupt Clinton’s campaign through cyber-attacks and email leaks and largely favoured Donald Trump over her.
In the past few months, the special counsel has brought charges against multiple people within the Trump campaign. Former Chairmen of the Trump presidential campaign, Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates have been indicted on 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and false statements. Manafort is now suing the Department of Justice in an attempt to foil the inquiry. Rick Gates has since pleaded guilty for making false statements to the FBI.
In addition, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has also pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia's ambassador right before Donald Trump became President. Sam Nunberg is a former political advisor to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Trump campaign. He has been subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Over the course of the investigation, Mueller has indicted 13 Russians. He has also brought charges against four former Trump aides. Three of them have already entered plea deals and experts note that this suggests that they are cooperating with the investigation as it moves forward.
Sam Nunberg is one of the more colorful and controversial Trump aides. He has previously appeared in a number of TV interviews where he has made outrageous statements. However, in an extraordinary move, not only did he admit that the US president may have done something illegal but he also said he would be defying a subpoena by the special counsel.
In an interview with Katy Tur, he said that Trump may have done something illegal but also added that he didn’t know that “for sure.” Nunberg told Tur he would not co-operate with Mueller, saying: “It’s a witch hunt and I’m not going to cooperate. “Why do I have to spend 80 hours going over my email? That I’ve had with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone? 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?”
He also spoke about the 2013 Miss Universe contest that was held in Moscow (the Trump organization owns the Miss Universe property). “They (special counsel) probably want to know about Miss Universe 2013, if I had to guess,” Nunberg added. “There was nothing there, but they want to hear the testimony. They want to hear what other people said, and perhaps other people told them different things than I heard.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has noted that Nunberg’s claims didn’t hold any weight. She said, “I’m not going to weigh into someone who doesn’t work at the White House. From our perspective, we’re going to cooperate with the special counsel’s office and the reason we’re so comfortable doing so is there was absolutely no collusion with the Trump campaign.”
Our assessment is that Nunberg’s admission indicates cracks within Trump’s inner circle. Nunberg does not seem to understand the gravity or the seriousness of the ongoing investigation and the price he would pay for indictment. Additionally, his words as a former aide would also implicate Trump with illegal activities. This poses a clear and present danger to the Trump presidency.
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