Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Transcript of MSNBC’s Interview with Sam Nunberg

On Monday, on MSNBC, Katy Tur did a phone interview with former Trump campaign aide, Sam Nunberg, on live television.  The result was rant-y and analyzed by news outlets across the country.  The live video can be seen here, but for those who want to know what Nunberg said without the analysis, I have made a transcript of the full interview below.  You’re welcome.

TUR:  Sam, you join me on the phone.  Are you there?

NUNBERG:  Hi, Katy.  How are you?

TUR:  Why are you saying no [to turning in classified documents to Mueller]?

NUNBERG:  Because what they said was absolutely ridiculous.  They wanted every email I had with Roger Stone and with Steve Bannon.  Why should I hand them emails from November 1, 2016?  I was thinking about this today, Katy.  I was [inaudible] it.  Why should I spend 50 hours going over all my emails from Roger and from Steve Bannon?  And they wanted emails that I had with Hope Hicks and with Corey Lewandowski?  Would you give me a break?  It’s ridiculous.

TUR:  Um, he [Mueller]’s a special counsel.  He’s investigating Donald Trump…

NUNBERG:  You know what?!  You know what?!  Mr. Mueller…Mr. Mueller…

TUR:  You sat…You sat with him a week ago…

NUNBERG:  [inaudible]…

TUR:  A week and a half ago and does that make you change your opinion of this investigation that you don’t want to cooperate?

NUNBERG:  I’m not gonna cooperate when they want me to have…when they want me to cooperate with 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.

TUR:  What has happened in the last 24 hours…?

NUNBERG:  I’m not gonna do it!

TUR:  [inaudible because of talking overlapping] not gonna do it?

NUNBERG:  You know what?!  When I was going over everything today, when I looked over the subpoena, this is ridiculous, it was absolutely ridiculous, and you know what?  I’m not a fan of Donald Trump, as you well know.  I can’t stand him.  Katy, do you know that?

TUR:  You’ve said it.

NUNBERG:  I’m not a fan of him.  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.

TUR:  Um…

NUNBERG:  I’m not gonna cooperate.  Why do I have to spend 88 hours going over my emails I’ve 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?

TUR:  Sam, you were on the campaign early on.  You were there when Donald Trump was deciding to announce his running for president…

NUNBERG:  Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians.  That is the biggest joke to think Donald Trump ever colluded with the Russians.  I could tell you when Donald Trump was involved with conservative politics it did not help his business.  Donald Trump did not want to attack Hillary Clinton early on in the campaign.  The only one he wanted to attack was Jeb Bush because it wasn’t gonna be good for him.  Had he not won the primary he was probably going to endorse Hillary Clinton.

TUR:  Sam, you were on his campaign…

NUNBERG:  I am not going to go over my emails!  I am not going to spend 80 hours because a bunch of FBI agents and a bunch of US attorneys want me…to harass me.  Here’s the thing.  They’ve already bankrupt the people.  They’ve bankrupted other people with this.  Sean Spicer has big legal bills.  [inaudible] has big legal bills.  Everyone has big legal bills.

TUR:  Hold on.  Hold on.  You were on our air, on MSNBC, just last week saying that the Russia investigation was not a waste of time, that this was not a waste of taxpayer money.

NUNBERG:  [inaudible because of conversation overlap]

TUR:  You were adamant about that.  What has changed?  What has changed in the last 24 hours, in the last week, where you’ve decided not to do that?

NUNBERG:  The subpoena was ridiculous to me.  The subpoena is absolutely ridiculous.  Why should I hand over every email I’ve had with Steve Bannon or Roger Stone since November?  You know, every email since 2015?  Give me a break…[overlap].

TUR:  What about all the talk that you have something to hide or something that you don’t want to reveal because you refuse to cooperate?  What if the people say it looks suspicious?

NUNBERG:  Let the people say what they want.  Let them say what they want.  You know, I’m the first person to come out here and say that I’m not cooperating because it’s absolutely ridiculous what they want from me.  Katy, should I spend 80 hours going over emails with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone?

TUR:  You are going to defy a grand jury.  Are you worried about being held in contempt of court?

NUNBERG:  Let’s see what Mr. Mueller does.

TUR:  Are you worried about getting arrested?

NUNBERG:  I think it would be funny if they arrested me.

TUR:  You will be held in contempt of court.  [inaudible]

NUNBERG:  …Really, really funny if they wanted to arrest me because I don’t want to spend 80 hours going over emails I had with Steve Bannon or Roger Stone.

TUR:  Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Hope Hicks, who else do they want emails from?

NUNBERG:  Oh, Katy, did I ever communicate with Carter Page?  Do you think I communicated with Corey Lewandowski after November 1, 2015?  Corey totally screwed me over and got me fired from the campaign.

TUR:  What about Keith Schiller?  What about Michael Cohen?  What about Donald Trump?  What about those communications?

NUNBERG:  For them to ask me about communications with Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States?  That is over the hill.  That is too much for Mr. Mueller.  That is ridiculous.

TUR:  Sam, let me ask a question.  Don’t interrupt.  You were on the campaign early on.  As you said, you left early on.  Corey Lewandowski helped get you fired.  But you were there when Donald Trump was going to run for president and why he was going to run for president and what sort of positions he was going to hold while he ran for president.  Wouldn’t the Special Council be interested in finding out what you knew about that time early on?

NUNBERG:  Yeah, they asked about it.  They [inaudible] about it, and it was ridiculous.

TUR:  What did they ask?

NUNBERG:  Because I can tell you once again, Katy.  Donald Trump being involved in conservative politics was not good for his business.  By the way, I think my lawyer’s gonna dump me right now.

TUR:  What did they ask you about Donald Trump taking policy positions early on?

NUNBERG:  They asked me if Donald Trump took positions and he flat out told me Donald Trump was taking positions because of his business and he never told me that.  He did not.

TUR:  What else have they been asking you?

NUNBERG:  You know what they asked me?  You know what’s ridiculous?  They asked things like, “Did you hear people speaking Russian in the Trump office?”

TUR:  Who?

NUNBERG:  Katy, I did not hear people speaking Russian in the Trump office.  Okay?  This is ridiculous.  They asked things like…Yeah?

TUR:  Keep going.

NUNBERG:  They asked things like…They asked things like “Did you hear about Trump Tower in Moscow?”  No, I never heard of Trump Tower.  Katy, you know what?  You’re not gonna like to hear this.  You’re audience isn’t gonna like to hear this.  Donald Trump took positions where he said Vladimir Putin was better off fighting Syria against ISIS.  Compared to Barack Obama, he was right.  Because you don’t remember this or you don’t want to talk about it.  ISIS was chopping American heads off.  Trump was right about that.  He was intuitively right about it.  [inaudible because of overlapping conversations]

TUR:  Putting your allegations against me and the viewers of this network to the side, but I would like to ask this.  The GOP Primary would not have been a fan of Russia or Vladimir Putin.  It was not a popular opinion to be friendly towards Putin or Russia among Republicans early on.  Why is it not relevant to ask why Donald Trump was so friendly to Vladimir Putin?  It was confusing to a lot of people back then.  It is confusing to a whole lot of people now.

NUNBERG:  Well, by the way, Katy, I agree with you in that I think that Trump has made a major mistake.  I think Vladimir Putin should face serious consequences for what he did during the election, but what I’ve also said to you is…what I’ve said repeatedly is if Trump had been…if Vladimir Putin wanted to release Hillary Clinton’s emails.  Oh, by the way, she should have protected her email.  It’s fine.  It’s fine to me, and if Trump wanted to get that out…And again, if you ask me, if Trump wanted to get those emails out, that’s fine.  She should have protected her emails.  You think Russia was the only one who stole her emails?  Do you think Russia was the only one who hacked her emails?  You think that China didn’t?  Do you think that India didn’t it?  Do you think that Israel didn’t?  Of course, they did.

TUR:  You know, I’m still curious about something.  Since you yourself had gone on the record on our network saying that this investigation was not a waste of tax dollars, that this investigation was going on in a professional way.  Why you would decide to do this all of a sudden?  Why would you decide to this [conversation overlap] against the advice of your own lawyer?  I imagine your lawyer would not want you to rip up a subpoena.

NUNBERG:  Probably not.

TUR:  Why are you doing it?

NUNBERG:  Because I’m not going to produce every email I sent to Steve Bannon and Roger Stone that I sent from November 1, 2015.  Why do I have to produce all my communication?  It’s ridiculous.

TUR:  Are you ready to go to jail?

NUNBERG:  I’m not gonna go to jail.  I’m not gonna go to jail.

TUR:  How do you know you’re not going to jail?

NUNBERG:  [inaudible because of conversation overlap]

TUR:  You will be held in contempt of court.  You are very publically snubbing your nose at the Counsel and this investigation.  I imagine if they don’t do anything for you they would allow anyone else to snub their nose at this investigation.  All sorts of people are being interviewed or are potentially going to be interviewed in front of the grand jury.

NUNBERG:  Katy, maybe people should start snubbing their nose at it because the way they’re asking for communications that I had with Steve Bannon, with Roger Stone to me is too much.  They want me to go in next Friday.  This Friday, excuse me.  And they want me to go in and they want me to testify against my mentor who did nothing.  He did nothing wrong, Roger.  Okay?  He did nothing wrong.  In fact, he was treated terribly by Donald Trump.  And by the way, we cost him a lot of money, Roger and me…

TUR:  Sam, Sam, did you find an email in the last 24 hours that made you worried, an email you didn’t want to hand over?

NUNBERG:  No, not at all

TUR:  An email you didn’t wanna hand over?

NUNBERG:  [inaudible]

TUR:  No, it’s a question I came up with myself off the top of my head.

NUNBERG:  It’s a very good question.  No, I did not.  I did not at all, and in fact, do you know what I did, Katy?  I did not go over any of my emails since I’ve been contacted by them.  You know what the other thing, Katy, [is] that really upset me?  I was really low on this list.  Okay?  I have to spend 50 grand on legal fees.  I was very low on this list when suddenly they called me.  You know when they called me, Katy?   They called me after Michael Wolff’s book came out, and they asked me a bunch of things in there about Roger and me after we were fired.  And as you remember when you covered that campaign, Katy, Roger and me were treated terribly, and trust me.  We weren’t colluding with Trump.  It wasn’t some smart idea that we had where we would be fired and then we would get the emails from Russia.  If Roger and me were there, Katy, we would have had the Benghazi parents there at the first debate.  We would have had Bill Clinton’s illegitimate black child there at the second debate.  And we would have had the women there… [inaudible because of conversation overlap].

TUR:  Sam, Sam, hold on.  What you’re doing is surprising to say the least, but you sat there in that room being questioned by Mueller’s investigators.  I wanna hear directly from you.  Do you think that they have something on the president?

NUNBERG:  I think they may.  Why, I think he may have done something during the election, but I don’t know about it for sure.

TUR:  Why do you think that?

NUNBERG:  I can’t explain it unless you were in there.

TUR:  Explain the atmosphere.

NUNBERG:  Um, the way they asked questions about anything I heard after I was fired from the campaign, uh, from the general election to November 1 insinuated to me that he may have done something.

TUR:  If you got that, if you got that sense from the Special Counsel’s investigators, why would you not want to cooperate with them if you got that sense that something happened?

NUNBERG:  I’m not interested in handing all my emails over that I communicated with Steve Bannon, with other people, and with Roger Stone.  I’m not interested in it.  I’m not interested in them insinuating that Roger did something bad.

TUR:  Sam, I want to be…I want to be clear.  I want to be very clear.  Has anybody at all contacted you in the past few days, in the last 24 hours, to encourage you not to talk to the Special Counsel or to tell you not to talk to the Special Counsel or give a reason why it would not behoove you to talk to the Special Counsel?

NUNBERG:  I decided this, Katy…

TUR:  I’m sorry, the Grand Jury.

NUNBERG:   a few hours ago.  A couple hours ago.  A couple hours ago, when I’m going over my emails and I’m going over how long and arduous this process was gonna be and was just like, “This is ridiculous.”  Why do I have to give Bob Mueller my emails, my random emails received by Senator Roger Stone?  Why?

TUR:  Sam, has anybody from the White House contacted you?


TUR:  Has the president contacted you?


Tur:  Has anybody from Trump’s legal team contacted you?


TUR:  Has Roger Stone told you not to go talk to the Grand Jury?


TUR:  Has Steve Bannon told you not to go talk to the Grand Jury?


TUR:  Has anybody at all told you not to go talk to the Grand Jury?

NUNBERG:  [inaudible because of conversation overlap]…Steve Bannon, I talked to Steve Bannon for the first time last week after I went in there and the first thing and I spoke to him.  He and I [were] discussing how we both feel, Katy, feel like I’m telling you that Trump may have very well done something during the election.  I don’t know what it is.  I could be wrong by the way.

TUR:  Sam Nunberg, Sam Nunberg, remarkable.  Thank you very much for calling in.

NUNBERG:  What’s remarkable about this, by the way?

TUR:  Everything’s remarkable about it, Sam.

NUNBERG:  You know, you called me by the way.

TUR:  It’s all unbelievable.  I’d say.

NUNBERG: (laughs) What do you think Mueller’s gonna do to me?

TUR:  You know, I’m not a lawyer.  I don’t know.  I imagine, given the circumstances, you will be held in contempt of court.


TUR:  We’ll see.

NUNBERG:  Well, if I’m held in contempt of court, if I don’t wanna communicate what Steve Bannon and Roger Stone said and I talked about this, November 1…

TUR:  It’s also Keith Schiller and Michael Cohen and Hope Hicks and Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump and Rick Gates and…[inaudible because of conversation overlap].

NUNBERG:  You think I had any contact with Carter Cage?

TUR:  Sam, I don’t know.

NUNBERG:  Well…well, the answer’s no.

TUR:  Sam, Sam, thank you for calling in.  It’s 3’O Clock.  I’ve gotta hand things over to Casey Hunt.  Um, come back live on our show tomorrow if you can or…[conversation overlap].

NUNBERG:  Tell [Casey Hunt] I said hi, okay?

TUR:  I’m sure she can hear you.  Sam Nunberg.

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