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Ex-Trump Aide Subpoenaed, Says He Won't Testify; Sam Nunberg Says Putin Too Smart to Collude with Trump; Nunberg Says Mueller Thinks Trump Is The "Manchurian Candidate". Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 5, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: Business dealings, the way they asked if you had heard anything even during while I was fired, it just -- it just made me suspect that they suspect something about him. Now, Gloria, he may not have very well have not done anything. But the other thing I will tell you is irregardless of whether or not he had money coming to him during the election, OK, during the general, he won that election and he doesn't get credit for it.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. But the question -- I guess the question is, are they asking about Donald Trump's business dealings to you and that gave you reason to believe that they were interested in that area?
NUNBERG: Yes. Yes.
BORER: So, they asked about Trump Tower Moscow, I would presume?
BORGER: And they asked about Trump Tower itself in New York?
NUNBERG: Yes. They asked pretty -- they asked questions to me that I understand they're doing their due diligence.
NUNBERG: But, Gloria, they were pretty ridiculous.
BORGER: Like what?
NUNBERG: They asked questions to me in terms of did I hear Russian spoken around Trump Tower? No, Gloria, I never heard Russian spoken around Trump Tower, OK? Now, I understand why they have to ask that, but it was pretty ridiculous to me.
BORGER: Well, but -- so getting back to this and to the whole question of Roger Stone, for example, and I know you say he's your mentor. Do you have any sense what they're interested in about Roger Stone?
NUNBERG: Yes, they think that Roger colluded with Julian Assange. I can tell you Roger did not collude with Julian Assange. BORGER: So, they think -- and why do you believe they think he
colluded with Julian Assange, because he was communicating --
NUNBERG: Because they flat out asked me about it.
BORGER: What was their question exactly?
NUNBERG: Their question was -- they had a theory that -- OK, Gloria, let's get it out here. I was fired, correct? Within six weeks?
NUNBERG: OK. Roger quit after I was fired.
NUNBERG: Roger quit, Gloria, and I will tell you on the record the way I told them. Roger quit because he was absolutely disgusted by the way I was treated, OK? I worked for Trump for four and a half years. I came up with the wall, I came up with the Muslim ban, I came up with everything to attack Jeb Bush, all that stuff. OK? Now Trump used it, Trump was the only one who could effectively do it.
BORGER: Right. So, you --
NUNBERG: Gloria, Roger quit.
BORGER: You were fired. Right.
NUNBERG: Corey wanted to push us out.
NUNBERG: OK? That's the reality.
BORGER: Mm-hmm, right. Right.
NUNBERG: Now, Trump loves Corey. I don't know why he does. I think -- by the way, Trump always had separate -- Trump always had -- he treated Roger and me differently than he treated everybody else. Now, Roger is more loyal to Trump than me. I don't care.
BORGER: You're not protecting Donald Trump? Sam, you're not protecting Donald Trump?
NUNBERG: No, I'm not protecting him. But he didn't do anything. You know what he did? He won the election.
BORGER: So why do you think they want you in the grand jury?
NUNBERG: They want me to testify against Roger. They want to --
BORGER: They want you to testify against Roger --
NUNBERG: They want me to say that Roger was going around telling people he was colluding with Julian Assange. That's what they want. I'm not going to do it.
BORGER: And that did not occur, according to you?
NUNBERG: No, it did not.
BORGER: So, you didn't come across anything in your e-mails or your communications or anything between you and Roger or you and anyone in the campaign that led you to say today I'm not going to testify?
NUNBERG: No, I didn't. I just came around having to spend 80 hours over the weekend, I started this, Gloria, on Saturday.
NUNBERG: They wanted it by 3:00 p.m. today. They want me over -- they want me over at the grand jury. Screw that! Why do I have to go? Why? For what?
BORGER: Well, I would assume the reason they want you is because they -- there was something perhaps you told them in your FBI interview that was of some interest to them.
NUNBERG: No. They want to just pull people in. And you know what? I'm not a Donald Trump fan, as I told you before, OK? He treated me like crap.
NUNBERG: But when I'm in there and they ask me to go to the grand jury after I sat there for close to five and a half hours, Gloria, I'm not going back in.
[15:35:00] GLORIA: But what was it that you said -- Sam, what was it that you -- don't you think it might have been because of something you said to them, that they would want you back to testify before the -- or they would want you to testify before the special counsel? I mean if you think back to your five and a half hours with the FBI interviews, what was it that you think made them say we need to get Sam Nunberg in front of a grand jury?
NUNBERG: They wanted -- they probably want to know about Miss Universe 2013 if I had to guess.
BORGER: And what was it about Miss Universe?
NUNBERG: I think that -- 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. I can tell you, Gloria --
BORGER: What did you say, though, about --
NUNBERG: Gloria, I never spoke to the president directly about it, then Mr. Trump. I was told that if you had asked him, he would lie and tell you that Putin was there. OK, fine. I was told that that that idiot, Emin, had offered to send women up to Trump's room but Trump didn't want it. He doesn't do that. He's too smart for that.
BORGER: Who told you this? Who told you this?
NUNBERG: Keith Schiller.
BORGER: Oh. And have you communicated with Keith Schiller, his bodyguard, right?
NUNBERG: I used to deal with him very directly.
BORGER: So, what did Keith Schiller say to you? In other words when you say I was told I heard that the Russians offered to send women to Trump's room and he didn't want it et cetera.
NUNBERG: No, I was told that Emin offered to send women up there and Trump flat-out refused it. And Trump did flat-out refuse it. And I can tell you that Trump is too smart to have women come up to his room.
BORGER: And so, Keith Schiller told you this?
BORGER: And have you spoken with Keith Schiller about this recently? Because he's no longer at the White House.
NUNBERG: No, I have not. The last time I spoke to Keith -- the last time I spoke to Keith, I saw him in the White House when I was there when Steve Bannon invited me.
BORGER: OK. But you're assuming, I mean getting back to the premise here, you're assuming that the reason the special counsel wants you before the grand jury is to talk about Miss Universe 2013 and what occurred during that --
NUNBERG: First of all, I -- well, actually I don't know why. Whatever they want I can tell you I'm not going in. It's ridiculous. The idea that we were the Manchurian candidate. Gloria, we were a joke. The idea that we were colluding with the Russians? Give me a break. Everybody was laughing at us.
BORGER: Is that what you think the special counsel is getting at or it sounds to me from some of your other answers you think he's looking into the more financial side of Donald Trump's life?
NUNBERG: He may. I don't know what he's looking into.
BORGER: Well --
NUNBERG: He may. He may. And you know what? Trump may have very well done something during the election with the Russians.
BORGER: What makes you --
NUNBERG: And if you find it out, if he did that, I don't know. If he did that, you know what, it's inexcusable. If he did that. If he had some deal -- we already know that Michael Cohen was trying to do Trump Tower Moscow, Gloria.
BORGER: Right. And that deal never went through, as you know. That letter of intent never happened.
NUNBERG: That deal -- correct, that deal never went through.
BORGER: Right. So, all I'm asking you is from -- why, I guess, to get to the bottom of this, Sam, is why after your FBI interview for five and a half hours do you think the special counsel wants you back? You say maybe to talk about Trump Tower Moscow, which was 2013 -- I'm sorry, Miss Universe, which was 2013.
NUNBERG: By the way -- Gloria, am I the first person you ever heard to flat-out say I'm not going in?
BORGER: I think so. I think so, yes. But --
NUNBERG: And you know what I'm not going to do? I'm not going to build a case that they're trying to build.
BORGER: Well, what is the case you think -- go ahead.
NUNBERG: Well, look, you had Mueller indict Russians for what? He indicted Russians for what? It was like --
BORGER: I'm losing you. Sam, I think I lost you. Now I got you, keep going again.
NUNBERG: Let me take this for two seconds, OK?
BORGER: I don't think so. Can you just hold on for a minute? I just want to ask you a couple more questions, Sam, OK?
[15:40:00] BORGER: One is who else have you talked to about their FBI interviews? Have you talked to other people about their grand jury testimony?
NUNBERG: I don't want to go into it.
NUNBERG: There's one person I talked to. I'm not going into it.
BORGER: And have you talked to them about the general direction without naming names then, about the general direction that you think Mueller is going in?
NUNBERG: Yes. Mueller thinks that Trump is the Manchurian candidate.
BORGER: I'm sorry, he thinks he's what?
NUNBERG: He thinks Trump is the Manchurian candidate, and I will tell you I disagree with that.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Wow. The man you just heard talking openly and quite candidly on national television. This is the former campaign aide who is refusing a grand jury subpoena to testify. Gloria Borger conducted that wide-ranging interview. She is joining me live. She's joining me now. My goodness, where to begin. I guess -- wow, there's a lot to get to. The piece is why is he refusing to appear, right? And he said -- he said to you it was absolutely ridiculous and ignorant.
BORGER: Right. He said that he really -- there's no reason, that he said everything he needed to say in his five and a half hours of testimony. He didn't want to go back to those e-mails, that he communicates a lot with Roger Stone, and I asked him if there was anything in particular that he came across that perhaps he didn't want. He said, no, but there's no reason he's going to defy it. It's clear to me, though, that in that five and a half hours, if you listen to what he was saying, he did talk a lot about Miss Universe and about the Russians trying to send women to Trump's room, which according to Keith Schiller, the president's bodyguard, he refused.
So, it would be interesting to me that they perhaps would want to ask him about that in 2013. They might want to ask him about the letter of intent on Trump Tower Moscow in 2015. His relationship with Roger Stone, whom he says they believe is working with Julian Assange, and he says that's not true. Roger stone is his mentor.
And the one thing to keep in mind here is that Sam Nunberg was fired from the Trump campaign. And so, he didn't leave Donald Trump on good terms. Now, people come in and out of Donald Trump's life, as we know, but he did not leave the campaign on good terms. And he said to me that he's not looking to cover up for Donald Trump in any way.
BALDWIN: OK. Stay with me, Gloria.
BALDWIN: I have a full crew to discuss what we just heard, starting with you, Jamie Gangel, what did you make of that?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: First, I have to say Gloria's interview was brilliant and I've never seen anything like it. It was bizarre. I did not know of Sam Nunberg before today, but we did a little quick research. And to say that he is a colorful character --
BALDWIN: Is an understatement.
GANGEL: Is an understatement. And his mentor is Roger Stone, who is also a very colorful character. And a lot of what we heard there sounded as if he was also grabbing his 15 minutes of fame. He won't listen to the subpoena, but he'll talk to a reporter about everything that's being asked. And part of what he said beyond that was he took credit for coming up with --
BALDWIN: The wall. GANGEL: The Trump campaign -- it was his idea to come up with the
wall. It was my idea to come up with the Muslim ban. I mean this is a very unusual person. Just -- my mother is a judge. Let me just say you cannot say a subpoena is ridiculous, give me a break, to use his language.
BALDWIN: There's not an option related.
GANGEL: This is not option related, no.
BALDWIN: Right. Rich?
RICH LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Sam Nunberg was part of the C team that was replaced by the B team that was eventually replaced by what some consider an A team. So, he was very early on. He is not a highly respected person. He is obviously taking the Carter Page approach to this in terms of the public media strategy and just going out and saying whatever he wants. But this come and get me copper attitude is fine for a couple days on cable tv, talking to reporters. But if it really comes to it, he's not going to go to jail to refuse the subpoena and his justification for not complying is not very compelling. It's just that he doesn't want to be troubled with it and he thinks the whole investigation is ridiculous.
BALDWIN: OK. We're going sneak a quick break in. We have so much more to discuss. Paul Callan has taken a seat. We'll talk about what his lawyers must be thinking, how many hairs they have pulled out of their own heads listening to him speak so openly and candidly on national television. Quick break, we're back in just a moment.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Back on breaking news. Back on this whole Sam Nunberg story. His mentor is Roger Stone, another colorful character. Jamie Gangel is right describing him that way. Kaitlan Collins our White House reporter got a statement from Roger Stone, the fact that Nunberg is refusing to appear for the subpoena for the grand jury.
Roger Stone said this. I was briefly part of the Trump campaign and have been the president's friend and advisor for decades and would expect that Mueller's team would at some point ask for any documents or e-mails sent or written by me, but let me reiterate, I have no knowledge or involvement in Russian collusion or any other inappropriate act.
BALDWIN: Paul Callan. What say you?
[15:50:00] PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He strikes me as somebody who stayed too late at an academy award party last night. Because these statements are completely bizarre. First of all, when you receive a grand jury subpoena, it is kind of a good sign in some respects. It means you're probably not the target of the investigation. Because if they're targeting you, they have to advise you of your right to remain silent and give you a whole host of warnings before they call you and there's even a justice department policy against calling targets into the grand jury. It is unfair to them. Because they should take the fifth amendment. It is a good sign.
But secondly, if you defy a grand jury subpoena, it is a very serious thing. You're almost automatically held in contempt of court. The usual punishment is you're thrown into prison while the grand jury sits. I've seen cases where grand juries have sat for a year. It is certainly possible this grand jury will sit at least for another six to nine months. He could be in jail for that entire period of time.
And by these public statements, assuming he's not suffering from some kind of mental illness, he's indicated a deliberate attempt to defy the lawful processes of the grand jury and the federal courts. I can tell that you federal judges don't look very kindly on that activity. So, this is a man who is destined for prison after his 15 minutes of fame this afternoon.
BALDWIN: Stand by, everyone. Another quick break. Back in a moment.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: As we continue following this breaking news, we just heard how Sam Nunberg could go to prison for his refusal to respond to the subpoena. There is someone else we can think back to under the Clinton administration in Whitewater. A woman by the name of Susan McDougall. Rich, remind everyone who she
was and what she didn't answer.
LOWRY: She went to jail for I think 22 months. Most of it on contempt because she wouldn't answer a few questions about Bill Clinton before a grand jury. She was very motivated, she was very close to Clinton. She did this. But that Sam Nunberg at the end of the day going to be happy sitting in a jail cell rather handle the comply, I just find hard to believe.
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: And I was struck in the interview with Gloria, the tone he was taking in talking about President Trump, his former boss. I remember early in the days, he was very loyal to Trump. He was very outspoken and talking to reporters in the same way that Roger Stone was. And now he's saying, the wall was my thing. I came up with that. The Muslim ban was my idea.
And by the way, Trump treated me like crap so clearly, we are aware there's bad blood there. And also keep in mind not everyone might remember this now, because it feels like so long ago, he didn't get along with Corey Lewandowski and Hope Hicks. That was reported on at the time. So, there were a lot of sort of internal dynamics within the campaign, that may or may not play out within this investigation.
And I think this is just a good moment to give ourselves the periodic reminder of how little we know that the Mueller investigation. We have little bits and pieces that come in everyday, but in the bigger universe of the Mueller investigation, who knows, Sam Nunberg could be a blip, or he could end up getting more significant than we currently assume.
GANGEL: There is one thing -- BALDWIN: Quickly, 15 seconds.
GANGEL: And that is what are in these e-mails? He says he doesn't have a problem. But why all of a sudden after talking for five and a half hours did he decide to do this today?
BALDWIN: Great question. So much we don't know. Quick break. We'll be back in just a moment.
BALDWIN: That does it for me today. Good to be back in the chair. I'm Brooke Baldwin back here in New York. Let's send it to Washington with "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper. Right now.