Sam Nunberg’s epic cable news meltdown on Monday became such a story in its own right, it’s become easy to lose track of the key pieces of Trump-Russia information that Nunberg blurted out in the process. The most important tidbit may have been regarding what Donald Trump knew and when he knew it – and how Nunberg came to learn about this to begin with.
Nunberg began working for Donald Trump in 2011 and they parted ways fairly early in the election cycle, with Trump then suing Nunberg at one point. There’s no known evidence that the two were still talking during the campaign, or that they’re talking now. Yet when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked whether Trump knew about Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower, Nunberg said this: “He knew about it. He was talking about it a week before… I don’t know why he went around trying to hide it.”
How would Nunberg know about this? It’s too oddly specific to be some kind of ‘sure, he must have known about it’ assumption. Nunberg is giving a specific timeframe for when Trump began talking about Junior’s Russia meeting. If Trump didn’t tell this to Nunberg directly, then someone else did. Based on his own ramblings, Nunberg is very close to Roger Stone, and he appears to be close to Steve Bannon as well. So it sure sounds like Trump told Bannon or Stone about Junior’s Russia meeting before it happened, and then a loose-lipped Bannon or Stone told Nunberg what Trump had said.
This is problem for Donald Trump, for obvious reasons. Sam Nunberg appears to be unstable, and he’s currently facing the choice of coughing up his email exchanges with Stone and Bannon, or going to prison for contempt of court. If those emails confirm that Trump knew about Trump Jr’s Russia meeting before it happened, then Trump has been nailed for illegally conspiring with the Russian government to alter the outcome of the election. Trump’s own people have been blabbing his confessions to the wrong people, and if Robert Mueller doesn’t already have the proof, he will eventually. Mueller typically only asks witnesses to turn over emails after he’s already acquired those emails independently.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report