News & Politics

Watch Former Trump Aide Sam Nunberg Start to Realize on Live TV That Mueller Could Have Him Arrested

"He can send me to jail, and then I'll laugh about it."

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Sam Nunberg, a former aide to President Donald Trump, is refusing to turn over crucial evidence subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 presidential campaign—and at first, Nunberg didn't seem to realize just how serious that is.

On live TV multiple times Monday, Nunberg dismissed questions about whether or not he could go to jail for objecting to Mueller's formal request for his communications with other members of the Trump campaign and to testify before a grand jury.

But then, while Nunberg was on MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber, Melber asked, "What if the consequence for that is going to jail, Sam?"

"He's not going to send me to jail," Nunberg said. Then his voice became more serious. "You know what? Mr. Mueller, if he wants to send me to jail, he can send me to jail, and then I'll laugh about it."

For the sake of Nunberg and anyone else who may be reading: One can absolutely go to jail for refusing to comply with a subpoena. Mueller has already obtained three guilty verdicts in his investigation; there's no reason to think he won't use the full force of the law to get what he wants.

Nunberg says that the request is too onerous for him. The subpoena would require him to turn over correspondences with some of his close friends, such as Roger Stone, the notorious conservative provocateur and occasional Trump ally.

"Why do I have to give them my personal communications?" Nunberg asked.

The reason is that the special counsel thinks the documents may be relevant to their investigation. Nunberg said he fears Mueller may be going after Stone for perjury charges, and he doesn't want to help the case against his friend.

But that is not actually his choice. Nunberg cannot claim the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating a friend, and his refusal to cooperate just makes it look like he, or someone he knows, is guilty.

Watch Nunberg's comments below.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.