The Slatest

Former Aide, Who May Be Completely Full of It, Says Trump Knew About June 2016 Meeting With Russians

A former Donald Trump aide named Sam Nunberg, who has been subpoenaed by Robert Mueller and asked to produce correspondence with several individuals that have some involvement in the Trump-Russia investigation, is making the rounds Monday afternoon saying some incendiary things:

• That he’s not going to comply with the subpoena and that if Mueller doesn’t like it, he can arrest him and throw him in jail.

• That Carter Page, the campaign foreign policy adviser and Putin apologist who traveled to Moscow in July 2016, “was colluding with the Russians”—but did not have any real influence with Trump, who was merely using Page as “a name on a list” to project the appearance of foreign policy competence. (About that second part, Nunberg is probably not wrong.)

• That Trump “may have done something during the election” that Mueller could charge him with.

• That Trump knew in advance about the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a number of shady Russians with connections to the Putin government.

Scandalous! But there are a number of reasons not to take anything Sam Nunberg says seriously:

• He was fired from the Trump campaign in August 2015 for having written years of crude/racist Facebook posts. He was not part of the campaign during the period that the Trump Tower meeting or Page’s trip to Moscow took place.

• He is known for making things up and, in fact, may not even be a reliable source on the subject of which things he did and did not make up.

• What he actually said to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the Trump Tower meeting was this:

TAPPER: President Trump says he knew nothing about the meeting. Do you think that’s true? 


TAPPER: You don’t think that’s true. 

NUNBERG: No. It doesn’t—and Jake, I’ve watched your news reports. You know it’s not true. He talked about it the week before. 

What I’m pretty sure Nunberg is referring to is Trump having promised during a June 7, 2016, campaign appearance that he would soon give a speech outlining “all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” Trump’s remarks took place just hours after the Trump Tower meeting—which was famously pitched to Don Jr. as an opportunity to get “dirt” on Clinton—had been set up. But this coincidence has been discussed extensively elsewhere, and it’s entirely possible the speech that Trump Sr. was promising involved material from the book Clinton Cash rather than anything Russia-related.

Sam Nunberg: a fun guy to talk to, but maybe not one to take too seriously.

Update, 7 p.m.: As this Daily Beast article notes, Mueller appears to be interested in Nunberg’s interactions with longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, who Nunberg has worked for and refers to as his “mentor.” Stone left Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015 but reportedly kept on speaking terms with the candidate; Stone is also known to have communicated in 2016 with a Twitter account believed to have been used as a front by Russian hackers. So while the idea that Nunberg has direct knowledge of crimes Donald Trump committed seems farfetched, he does have a clear connection to someone else Mueller is reportedly interested in.