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Sam Nunberg changes tune: 'Let him arrest me' to likely cooperating

Sam Nunberg became one of Trump's first full-time political advisers in 2014. (Source: CNN) Sam Nunberg became one of Trump's first full-time political advisers in 2014. (Source: CNN)
Robert Mueller is leading the special federal investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) Robert Mueller is leading the special federal investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON, DC (RNN) - A Trump campaign staffer who said on Monday he would refuse to appear before a grand jury has backed off those comments, according to The Associated Press.

Sam Nunberg, who was one of President Donald Trump's first full-time political advisers in 2014 and was fired from the campaign in 2015 when his racist Facebook posts surfaced, had challenged special counsel Robert Mueller, telling The Washington Post: "Let him arrest me."

But in comments to the AP later Monday, he said he would likely "end up cooperating with" Mueller's investigators.

Nunberg told The Post earlier he had received a subpoena to appear before the grand jury at the end of the week.

“Mr. Mueller should understand that I am not going in on Friday,” he said. “I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Steve Bannon and producing them.”

He denied there was any collusion in 2016 between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, a question which is the focus of Mueller’s investigation.

“Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump,” Nunberg told The Post. “Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his ass off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”

Nunberg was fired by the Trump campaign in August 2015, after a number of racist Facebook posts were unearthed by Business Insider.

At her daily press briefing White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she could not "speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has."

Nunberg conducted a number of media interviews, including with MSNBC and CNN. He repeatedly described the subpoena as a "joke" or "ridiculous." 

He said he has already met with investigators from Mueller's team. He said they acted professionally and that he was "very impressed by them" but that "what I'm not doing is following up with them."

Nunberg said he was asked about his contacts with a wide range of Trump associates, some of whom he said he had never met. He said the scope of what he was being asked for made him agree with Trump's characterization of the investigation as a "witch hunt."

In a rambling interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Nunberg called Trump an "idiot" for doing an interview with NBC's Lester Holt following his firing of former FBI Director James Comey and hosting Russian officials in the White House around the same time. He implied those events were a catalyst to the forming of Mueller's investigation.

He also said he believed Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser, did collude with Russians. He called him a "scumbag" and a "weird dude." Page was the subject of FBI surveillance that Republicans criticized in Rep. Devin Nunes' House Intelligence Committee memo

Nunberg said the bulk of what he was asked for was related to his communications with Roger Stone, his mentor and another early Trump campaign adviser who was later fired,  and Steve Bannon. He said he would not answer questions that implicated Stone.

"I'm not going to cooperate when they want me to come in to a grand jury for them to insinuate that Roger Stone was colluding with Julian Assange," Nunberg said. "Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family to me. I'm not going to do it."

Stone was in contact during the campaign with Wikileaks, which released hacked Democratic National Committee emails that year. He has denied communicating directly with Assange or of ever having had advance knowledge of Wikileaks' plans.

Susan McDougal refused to testify in the Whitewater investigation into President Bill Clinton in 1996 and received an 18-month jail sentence for contempt of court

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