(CNN) — In a defiant pair of CNN interviews, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg said Monday he refuses to comply with a grand jury subpoena in the Russia investigation.
“Screw that,” Nunberg told CNN’s Gloria Borger. “Why do I have to go? Why? For what?”
And in a separate interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Nunberg said he blamed the investigation’s existence on President Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director — including an interview where Trump said he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Comey and the fact that he held a meeting with top Russian officials in the Oval Office.
“Donald Trump caused this because he’s an idiot,” Nunberg said.
Seeming to dare the authorities to challenge him on the refusal, Nunberg told Tapper that he would not appear before a grand jury or spend time reviewing his communications in order to comply with the subpoena.
“I’m not cooperating. Arrest me,” Nunberg said. “You want to arrest me? Arrest me.”
Varied response on Trump
The Trump campaign fired Nunberg in August 2015 after a series of racist Facebook posts came to light, and Nunberg indicated in interviews Monday there was still bad blood between the President and him but that he did not want to spend time cooperating with the investigation and Trump is right to call the probe a “witch hunt.”
Nunberg told Borger that he is not refusing to comply in order to protect Trump.
“No I’m not protecting him, but he didn’t do anything,” Nunberg said. “You know what he did? He won the election.”
But Nunberg asserted in the interview shortly afterward with Tapper that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller has “something” on Trump.
“They know something on him,” Nunberg said. “… Perhaps I’m wrong, but he did something.”
Nunberg added in his interview with Borger that he had already sat down with investigators for close to five and a half hours.
“I’m not going back in,” he said.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responded to Nunberg’s suggestion earlier Monday that Mueller may have something on Trump, saying: “He hasn’t worked at the White House, so I certainly can’t speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has.”
“I definitely think he doesn’t know that for sure because he’s incorrect,” Sanders said regarding Nunberg’s claims. “As we’ve said many times before, there was no collusion with the Trump campaign. Anything further on what his actions are — he hasn’t worked at the White House, so I certainly can’t speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has.”
When asked whether he should refuse the subpoena, Sanders said she wouldn’t “weigh in” on what anyone outside of the White House should do.
Inside the West Wing, multiple White House officials were watching Nunberg’s interviews with rapt attention, and several said they were stunned, calling the interviews “bizarre” and “nuts.”
Nunberg said he was refusing to cooperate with the subpoena because he believes investigators are trying to get him to impugn controversial Trump ally Roger Stone, who Nunberg called his mentor.
“They want me to testify against Roger,” Nunberg said. “They want me to say that Roger was going around telling people he was colluding with Julian Assange.”
Stone denied wrongdoing in a statement provided to CNN.
“I was briefly part of the Trump campaign and has [sic] been the President’s friend and adviser for decades; and would expect that Mueller’s team would at some point ask for any documents or emails sent or written by me. But let me reiterate, I have no knowledge or involvement in Russian Collusion [sic] or any other inappropriate act,” Stone’s statement read.
The Washington Post said Nunberg provided the paper with an apparent copy of a subpoena seeking documents related to Trump and nine others, and that Nunberg said he was asked to appear before the grand jury in Washington on Friday.
Nunberg expressed annoyance that the subpoena included a request for communications between him and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who has become a central figure in stories about the Russia investigation.
Nunberg told Tapper that he thinks Page is a “scumbag,” and said he suspects Page of trying to collude with the Russians.
“I believe Carter Page was colluding with the Russians,” Nunberg said, adding later, “I think that Carter Page is a weird dude I don’t think he should have been involved in that campaign.”
Page said in response that he had not watched the interviews, but he called Nunberg’s claim that he colluded with the Russians “laughable.”
© Copyright 2018 CNN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.