It was somewhere between the O.J. Bronco chase and Crispin Glover jumping on David Letterman’s couch. On Monday afternoon, there didn’t seem to be a cable TV network that didn’t have a bizarre interview with Sam Nunberg, one of Donald Trump’s earliest campaign aides, who had just been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Over the course of a surreal afternoon, Nunberg insisted that he wouldn’t comply with Mueller’s subpoena because he didn’t feel like spending 80 hours going through his emails. He mused that Trump may have colluded with Russia and suggested that Trump knew ahead of time about the now infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s eldest son and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. There was wide speculation that Nunberg was drunk.
It was a spectacle that oscillated between the comic and the tragic. Nunberg’s sheer obstinacy—who wouldn’t spend 80 hours going through emails to avoid going to jail?—can only be marveled at. But it was also disturbing to watch a person crack up under the pressure. Nunberg, who was pushed out of the campaign that he helped set up (he was effectively its only staffer in its earliest days) and was later sued by Trump for $10 million, appeared to be unprepared for the trouble he finds himself in. He also seemed quite alone: If your only friend is Roger Stone, as Nunberg’s seems to be, you are in deep trouble.
Nunberg’s meltdown may also be a sign of things to come. People close to Trump are starting to crack—and openly suggesting that Trump is far from innocent.