Veteran Republican political operative Roger Stone distanced himself Tuesday morning from Sam Nunberg, who raised eyebrows in a series of TV interviews prompted by his brief stint as a minor adviser to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“It was certainly riveting to watch, kind of like a car crash,” Stone said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” during an interview with host Laura Ingraham. “Sam is very much his own man, marches to his own drummer — certainly [was] not acting at my behest or direction.”
Nunberg, who worked briefly for the Trump campaign in 2015 before he was let go as a result of a racially charged Facebook post, appeared on numerous news shows Monday to trumpet his vow to ignore a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller, a stance he since has reversed.
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Nunberg made a number of assertions, speculated that the Russians “have something” on Trump and — at one point during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett — denied he had been drinking alcohol before coming on air.
Stone, whom Trump also fired during the campaign but who has remained in touch with the president, called Nunberg a brilliant writer and researcher. But he said he did not ask him to resist Mueller’s inquiries.
Stone said information contained in the subpoena sent to Nunberg offers clues about Mueller’s approach.
“Evidently, according to what his lawyer told my attorneys, among the many, many, many questions they asked him was whether I had met Julian Assange of WikiLeaks during the 2016 election,” said Stone. “The answer to that, which I can give you right now on ‘The Laura Ingraham Show,’ is ‘no.'”
Stone said Assange is a “courageous journalist” but added that his passport proves he did not leave the country during the campaign. That means Stone could not have met face-to-face with the WikiLeaks founder, who has been holed up for more than five years in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.
Stone also said he never has discussed WikiLeaks or Assange with Trump — either during or after the election.
“The only thing I can imagine here is that he [Nunberg] just was overwhelmed by this.”
Stone noted that the subpoena apparently asks many detailed questions about a number of Trump aides. “The only thing I can imagine here is that he [Nunberg] just was overwhelmed by this,” he said.
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Stone said Nunberg has no knowledge of the inner workings of the Trump campaign or the administration.
“That all sounded like speculation to me,” he said. “I don’t know on what he bases that speculation.”
Stone said the massive coverage of Nunberg is curious, given the much bigger story of abuse by Trump’s predecessor.
“The media emphasis on this is an attempt to distract from the fact that we now know that the FBI and the DOJ [Department of Justice] under Barack Obama used a fabricated dossier; they used fabricated evidence as [an] underlying legal rationale for this surveillance of the Republican candidate for [the] president’s campaign,” he said.
“This makes Watergate look like small potatoes. This is an abuse of power that involves the actual function and authority of government,” Stone claimed.
Stone urged Trump to take action against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom the president’s supporters blame for the chain of events that led to Mueller’s appointment.
“What I really don’t understand is why the president — instead of tweeting [about] Jeff Sessions [that] he’s unhappy — doesn’t just fire him,” he said. “He [Sessions] is clearly not committed to the rule of law.”
In his CNN interview Monday, Nunberg said if he and Stone were at the White House, Trump’s approval rating would be at 55 percent. Stone found little fault with that.
“That may be the one thing Sam said that was absolutely correct,” he said.