'If I were the White House, I would be concerned': Ex-Trump aide gets spooked after Russia probe testimony
Sam Nunberg, one of President Donald Trump's first aides from early on in his campaign in 2015, gave extensive testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee Friday as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"They are doing an exhaustive investigation," Nunberg said in an interview with NBC News.
The investigation, he explained, seems to be "narrowly focused on collusion."
"If I were the White House," he added, "I would be concerned."
Nunberg has previously been subpoenaed to testify before Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He drew nationwide attention when he made a show, at first, of refusing the subpoena. He eventually complied and testified.
Nunberg is a close friend of Trump ally Roger Stone, who is believed to be target of Mueller's investigation. Stone was Nunberg's initial connection to the campaign, but Nunberg was fired early on because of his "racially charged Facebook posts," according to NBC News.
The Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation has largely been working under the radar since it was first launched. In contrast to the House Intelligence Committee's iteration of the Russia investigation, the Senate's version has been relatively free from public scandal and partisan feuds.
The former Trump aide described to NBC News an extensive grilling that lasted over four hours. The report explained:
In the interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Nunberg said he was asked about numerous former campaign staff members, the president's children and other associates including: Roger Stone, Jerome Corsi, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Tom Barrack, Michael Cohen, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump. He was also asked about Trump's relationship with Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch, and his pop-singer son, Emin, who helped set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Nunberg said he was not asked about the president's son-in-law and current White House adviser, Jared Kushner.
Among the other topics raised Friday, Nunberg said, were the 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in New York with Trump Jr, Manafort, Kushner and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer offering them the promise of "dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton; Trump's travel to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant; the company's interest in building a tower in the Russian capital.
NBC News reports that despite the relative comity among the Senate committee members, it may be difficult for them to reach consensus on their conclusions with regard to Trump campaign members' collusion with Russian agents. The House Intelligence Committee, then led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), issued a partisan report last year backed only by the Republicans purportedly clearing Trump and his campaign of wrongdoing. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has taken control of the committee since the new Democratic majority in the House was sworn in, and he plans to dig back into the investigation.