The Nunberg Subpoena: Is He Protecting Bannon, Rather than Trump?

This WaPo article reporting that Sam Nunberg will refuse to appear before the Grand Jury on Friday confirms that the subpoena everyone reported on was his.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Nunberg said he was asked to come to Washington to appear before the grand jury on Friday. He also provided The Washington Post a copy of his two-page grand jury subpoena seeking documents related to President Trump and nine other people, including emails, correspondence, invoices, telephone logs, calendars and “records of any kind.”

Nunberg, who was reportedly already interviewed by Mueller’s team, says he’s not going to show up.

“Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.”

You’d think he was doing this in hopes that Trump might protect him, except this kind of stuff is not the way to elicit favors from Trump.

“The Russians and Trump did not collude,” Nunberg said. “Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump.”


“Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his ass off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”

Which is why I wonder whether Nunberg’s refusal to testify has more to do with protecting Bannon, with whom he’s still quite chummy, than the President.

“I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Stephen K. Bannon and producing them,” Nunberg said.

Among those listed in Nunberg’s subpoena, Bannon almost the only one who was a mild surprise.

  1. Carter Page
  2. Corey Lewandowski
  3. Donald J. Trump
  4. Hope Hicks
  5. Keith Schiller
  6. Michael Cohen
  7. Paul Manafort
  8. Rick Gates
  9. Roger Stone
  10. Steve Bannon

Most people on the list are known to be subjects of the investigation. Hicks (who probably is the subject of the obstruction investigation anyway) and Schiller are the two people closest to Trump at key times during the campaign. And Lewandowski was involved in managing the outreach to Europe for key periods of the campaign (and is really squirrelly about what he did after the campaign).

Which leaves Bannon, who was involved in some key meetings during the transition, and whose opposition to the Trump meeting was always about Don Jr and Manafort not involving lawyers than opposition to obtaining stolen emails generally.

60 replies
  1. harpie says:

    Sounds like you may be right:
    Natasha Bertrand: 4m4 minutes ago 
    [quote] @KatyTurNBC: “Do you think they have something on the president?”
    Sam Nunberg: “I think they may.” / Still, Nunberg says, “I’m not interested in handing over all my emails with Steve Bannon or Roger Stone…” 12:00 PM – 5 Mar 2018 [end quote]

      • harpie says:


        Why should I hand them emails from November 1, 2015? [..] why should I spend 50 hours going over all my emails with Roger and with Steve Bannon? And then they wanted the emails that I had with Hope Hicks, with Corey Lewandowski…are you giving me a break? It’s ridiculous. […] I’m not gonna 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 gonna do it. […] 

      • harpie says:

        Nunberg with Tur cont’d:
        [quote] And you know what? I’m not a fan of Donald Trump as you well know. Katy, do you know that? [KT: You’ve said it.] I’m not a fan of his. He treated Roger and me very badly and he screwed us over during the campaign. But you know, here, when I get a subpoena like this, Roger’s right, it’s a witch hunt. I mean Mr. Trump’s right, the President’s right. It’s a witch hunt. And I’m not gonna cooperate. Why do I have to spend eighty hours going over my emails that I had with Steve Bannon and with 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? [KT] Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians. It is the biggest joke. [end quote]

    • harpie says:

      Sam Nunberg with Katy Tur:
      KT: You sat there in that room being questioned by Mueller’s investigators. I want to hear directly from you. Do you think that they have something on the President?
      SN: I think they may. I think that he may have done something during the election. But I don’t know that for sure.
      KT: Why do you think that?
      SN: I can’t explain that, unless you were in there.
      KT: OK. Explain the atmosphere.
      SN: The way they asked questions about anything I heard after I was fired from the campaign, to the general election, to even November one, it insinuated to me that he may have done something.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    It appears to me that Nunberg is daring Mueller to haul him in. IANAL, but how much tolerance will Mueller have for someone’s defiance that already leaked his subpoena and challenged Mueller to come and get him? It would seem to me to be wiser to slow-walk this more quietly.

  3. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Ok law folks, what can Mueller do to enforce his subpoena? And who really benefits from calling out the legitimacy of the entire investigation the way this is playing out?

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Ok law folks, what can Mueller do to enforce his subpoena? And who really benefits from calling out the legitimacy of the entire investigation the way this is playing out? Can Nunberg get this to a court?


      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        Thanx. I have been less worried about pardons and more worried about a witness challenging Mueller’s authority in a federal court and having a pro-Nazi jurist throw something out or otherwise circumscribe the scope of his investigation.

        The smug stupidity of so many of these creatures continues to astound and worry me.

    • harpie says:

      Andy WrightVerified account@AndyMcCanse: 

      In light of Sam Nunberg’s bluster, a mini-THREAD walk down memory lane on witnesses refusing to testify in front of a grand jury in high profile cases. Spoiler alert, it involves JAIL. 1/ […] 

      He mentions Susan McDougal and Judith Miller and adds:

      And just a quick reminder that coercive contempt (i.e., being jailed until one agrees to testify in a criminal case) is not a criminal punishment, and therefore it is beyond presidential pardon power. 4/x


  4. SteveB says:

    Nunberg is also v chummy with Stone. Arguably protecting Stone, which in turn protects Trump from the Stone Russia/wiki nexus, maybe what this madcap strategy is about.

    Both Nunberg and Stone seem to revel in showboating then trying to walk back on whatever they have blabbed, claiming that their blabbing did not reveal any kernel of truth because it was all showboating.

    • JD12 says:

      Nunberg and Stone are incapable of keeping their mouths shut. I can only imagine the gossip between those two if they thought nobody would see it. Since Stone isn’t going to volunteer the real sources of his information, this might be Mueller’s best chance. Maybe Nunberg tipped them off in his interview, he seems to have a hard time hiding his feelings.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Stone made a big thing about not revealing his WikiLeaks intermediary in response to a HPSCI subpoena, and then did it.

      • JD12 says:

        That’s right, I forgot about that. I remembered the guy denying it at first, but then he plead the 5th.

  5. SteveB says:

    Nunberg has also been openly critical of the Ty Cobb softly softly approach to defending Trump.

    Self martyrdom may appear to him to be a useful way to advance his credentials in the altright arena. By folding for Mueller before being convicted of obstruction/ contempt he may try to have his cake and eat it.

    My bet is he’ll rat rather than rot.

  6. gedouttahear says:

    nunberg is an idiot.
    he will be charged with contempt if he doesn’t comply with the subpoena and then he most assuredly will be jailed until either: he complies with the subpoena or the term of the grand jury expires. As it is said, he holds the key to his release. His only other out — and this won’t happen — is if the subpoena is quashed.
    without a doubt Mueller will move to hold him in contempt.

  7. Mister Sterling says:

    This does not look good for Stone, Nunberg or Bannon. I have to assume that Mueller will successfully get a judge to lock up Nunberg for contempt. This is a welcome test of Mueller’s ability to do his job.

    • bmaz says:

      What is your basis for that as to Bannon?

      Could ask that as to Stone, but will stick to Bannon for now.

      You understand that witness appearances in front of Congressional committees are FAR different as to legal standing than those in  front of Mueller’s shop, right?

  8. Trip says:

    Listening to Nunberg on Tapper’s show, right now, is giving me Déjà vu, taking me back to old Howard Stern radio shows with his cast of misfits guests. This is not a compliment.


  9. harpie says:

    They’re really putting on a show:

    Natasha Bertrand‏For at least the third time today, Nunberg asks an interviewer re: tearing up his subpoena: “I’m definitely the only person who’s ever done this, right?”

    • KM says:

      A show for sure.  Having watched Nunberg in a few of his T.V. clips, my guess, like SteveB’s, would be that in the end things never actually come anywhere near to a contempt charge.  Don’t think Nunberg has the courage of any particular convictions, and don’t think genuine “self-martyrdom” is the objective in this whole rigmarole in any case.  There is some bizarre manoeuvring going on here, though.

  10. pseudonymous in nc says:

    That “Roger’s right, it’s a witch hunt” to Tur before correcting himself seemed like a tell, but when someone’s flipping out on cablenews, who knows?

  11. Charles says:

    Maybe Nunberg thinks that you can get off from testifying by reason of insanity.

    Unless he’s afraid of something like polonium poisoning (cf. EW), I can’t think of any other explanation for refusing a Grand Jury summons.

    • Larry says:

      Hmm, reminds me a little of the position David Ferrie was in back in Clay Bertrand’s day.

  12. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Wondering if he is worried that he would be offered immunity,  and he does want not to address that scenario.

    (loss of 5th Ammendment right)

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Note the 50 or 80 hours to go thru emails is misdirection.

      The FBI almost certainly has all of his emails already.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I assume he’s exaggerating, maybe not.  But what Mueller already has does not define what Nunberg has to do.  His job is to identify what he has and to give responsive materials to Mueller.  It is Nunberg’s ass if he misses stuff, especially if it turns out to be incriminating or to reveal a disturbing pattern.  Evaluating that is where what Mueller may already have comes in.

        His failure to cooperate is theater.  For whom is a good question.  He may cave, and buy time in the process.  If not, he’s not a reporter, going to jail to protect a source.  He’s “grist for the mills that grind slowly; yet they grind exceedingly small.”

  13. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Trump group booted from Ocean Club

    PANAMA CITY (AP) — Workers pried President Donald Trump’s name from signs outside his family company’s luxury hotel in Panama on Monday, as Trump’s executives were ousted from their management offices in a business dispute under orders from Panamanian officials. Trump’s security guards also left.

    “Our investment has no future so long as the hotel is managed by an incompetent operator whose brand has been tarnished beyond repair,” Orestes wrote to his fellow hotel owners in a January email obtained by the AP.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Good business judgment on Orestes’s part.  He and others own the building.  Trump would normally have been paid a lump sum for use of his “good name” and a piece of the action – typically a minimum monthly, a percentage of the gross, reimbursement for specified out-of-pocket expenses, and a slew of indemnity provisions passing most of the liability for being a bad manager back onto the owners.

      Hotel management contracts are often exceptionally one-sided.  Owners who need them are relying on the supposed expertise of the name.  Not much of a deal in the case of Trump, who often put people in charge of his properties who hadn’t a clue.

      If Trump used the Panama location’s resources for ancillary business, money laundering, say, I would have expected him to hire a real manager in order to avoid exactly this sort of outcome.  Now he should be worried about every other similar deal around the world unraveling like this one.

  14. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Holy good Jesus!!! This guy just laughed when given the example of Susan McDougal and said: “I’m not going to jail”. Then he said if he were in jail he would just continue do be the verbal vomiting moron he has been today and embarrass the entire Mueller probe. I think that this guy is worried that if he gives up his communications with Stone and Bannon he will open himself up to perjury charges for statements he has already made under oath to the FBI. How do creatures like this get in such close proximity to real power and actually get paid for it??!!!

  15. Channinguy says:

    Has any journalist looked into or report on a possible relationship between Nunberg and stone?

  16. harpie says:

    1] Charles Pierce: ‘The possibility that this afternoon’s Sam Nunberg Episode was an elaborate Roger Stone ratfck should not be minimized.”
    2] Caroline Orr [rvawonk]: “So the question at this point is: What exactly is Sam Nunberg trying to distract us from with today’s media circus?”

    3] Then we find out he is taking anti-depressants and may be drunk. Sad, not funny. So, sorry that I lol’d earlier. Still, 1] and/or 2] may still be applicable.

    What if Sam Nunberg is so terrified of someone or of something, that he wants to be in jail?

    • harpie says:

      According the TDB [emphasis added],

      Three Nunberg friends said they walked away from those conversations fearful that he was “drinking again” and was about to embark on a personal tailspin. They didn’t know it would play out on daytime TV.

      Also, 15 minutes ago Jill Colvin [AP] tweeted:

      Sam now seems to be rethinking his bluster, tells me he’ll likely end up cooperating with Mueller’s team, but would like to see the subpoena’s scope narrowed


  17. Kevin Hayden says:

    1) Fear of polonium is a thing.
    2) Can’t speak for other countries but does anyone recall a US billionaire ever spending time in prison?
    3) But billionaires have a ton of money to spend to buy peoples’ silence. “Hey Sam, want a polonium cocktail? Or would you prefer I pay all your bills during your 18 month stint in the hoosegow and there’ll be a nice bonus at the end?”
    4) If he didn’t fall off the wagon and plans to go through with taking on the penalties for contempt of court AND obstruction, I’m betting he’s got financial incentive to do so.

  18. harpie says:

    6:09 PM – 5 Mar 2018 John Whitehouse notes at that Sean Hannity leads off with Opening Monologue entitled “All Roads Lead to Hillary”, and continues with “Mueller Beyond His Mandate”
    6:20 PM – 5 Mar 2018 The Hill: Australian diplomat whose tip prompted FBI’s Russia-probe has tie to Clintons
    03/05/18 07:13 PM EST Devin Nunes@DevinNunes [retweets the above Hill article and says:]  New information tonight. Very interesting…
    …about which Natasha Bertrand clarifies: “Downer’s “ties” to the Clinton Foundation are that he secured $25M from Australia over a decade ago “to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS.””

  19. Erin McJ says:

    A bit OT, but it occurs to me that the grand jury’s been convened for a while. Does anyone here know how jurors manage jury duty for such long trials, in terms of employment and staying afloat? I don’t know about DC but the pay rate for juries where I live doesn’t come close to replacing a paycheck. (I work for a public entity, which doesn’t in general dock pay for jury duty days, but I have no idea how it works for a really long trial.)

    I guess this question assumes that the grand jury meets daily or near daily, which maybe it doesn’t.

    • bmaz says:

      Grand juries usually meet only one day a week. That day can be any day of the week, but is quite often Thursday. I believe Muellers usually convenes on Friday.

  20. Trip says:

    When does Pence get the Mueller treatment?

    From May 26, 2017:

    Mike Pence Is Toast: Anonymous Letter To WaPo Shows The Role Of Eric Prince In Trump-Russia

    …Pence lost all plausible deniability about his alleged ignorance of all things Russian today, if the Washington Post is correct that Pence benefactor and mentor Erik Prince is the “representative of Trump” named in an anonymous letter received by the Post in December; and moreover that Prince was a member of the Trump transition team all along….The letter said among other things that Jared Kushner had talked to Sergei Kislyak about setting up a secret and secure communications channel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin. The letter also made reference to a “Trump representative” meeting with a Russian contact to set up the communications channel and the Trump representative is Erik Prince. If The Washington Post is correct, and it certainly appears that way, there is absolutely no way that Pence can maintain he didn’t know everything about Flynn and Trump-Russia, and that he learned it first hand from Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and Erik Prince…Erik Prince portrays himself as a mix between Indiana Jones, Rambo, Captain America, and Pope Benedict, according to The Intercept article, “Mike Pence Will Be The Most Powerful Christian Supremacist In U.S. History.”  Mike Pence and Erik Prince go back a long ways. Erik Prince is Mike Pence’s benefactor. Mike Pence is Neo to Erik Prince’s Morpheus. Bankrolling Mike Pence so that he can become POTUS and implement dominionist rule in Washington is Erik Prince and Mike Pence’s dream.

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