WEST WING CHAOS, OP-ED’S, AND ANONYMOUS

September 19, 2018 at 4:30 am

Sam Nunberg was President Trump’s adviser who has since been subpoenaed by Special Council Robert Mueller. In a MetroFocus exclusive, Nunberg reacts to the latest developments from the White House.

Aired on September 18, 2018. 

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>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
METROFOCUS.
I AM JACK FORD.
WHO IS THE ANONYMOUS MEMBER OF
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WHO
WROTE THAT OP ED FOR THE NEW
YORK TIMES OPINION OMAROSA SAYS
SHE KNOWS WHO'S BEHIND IT, AND
IS NAMING NAMES, SHE SAYS THE
VICE PRESIDENT'S CHIEF OF STAFF.
SOME POINT THE FINGER AT THE
VICE PRESIDENT BECAUSE OF HIS
USE OF LODE STAR WHICH WAS
REGULARLY MENTIONED IN THE OP
ED.
ACCORDING TO PRESIDENT TRUMP
HIMSELF THIS COULD BE THE WORK
OF 4 TO 5 INDIVIDUALS.
THERE'S NO DOUBT THERE IS
SOMETHING GOING ON AT 1600 IN
THE WAKE OF ITS PUBLICATION.
BUT WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON
BEHIND THE SCENES.
HERE WITH SOME INSIGHT IS SAM
NUNBERG.
NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US HERE.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME,
JACK.
>> GIVEN ALL OF THAT, WERE YOU
SURPRISED TO SEE THIS ANONYMOUS
OP ED PIECE SHOW UP IN THE NEW
YORK TIMES?
>> I WAS NOT SURPRISED FOR TWO
REASONS.
I THOUGHT IT WAS A FOLLOW-UP TO
THE JOHN McCAIN FUNERAL, WHICH
MADE A POINT TO NOT HAVE THE
PRESIDENT THERE, AND TO TALK
ABOUT A DIFFERENT KIND OF
POLITICS WHICH FRANKLY ARE JUST
THE POLITICS OF THE PAST.
I THINK THAT DONALD TRUMP HAS
CHANGED THE GAME.
FOR ME FOR THE BETTER, SOME
OBVIOUSLY.
>> I THINK WHETHER YOU AGREE
WITH DONALD TRUMP OR DISAGREE
WITH HIM, THE GAME HAS BEEN
CHANGED.
>> RIGHT, AND THIS ANONYMOUS OP
ED, I'M NOT SURPRISED THERE WAS
THIS ANONYMOUS OP ED.
WHAT I THINK WAS A LOT OF PEOPLE
ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, YOU SAW
THIS GOING TO THE McCAIN
FUNERAL, WITH THE REFERENCE TO
THE McCAIN FAREWELL LETTER, THEY
HAVE TO RATIONALIZE TO
THEMSELVES HOW THEY CAN WORK FOR
A DONALD TRUMP.
THAT'S WHAT WE SAW IN THIS
ANONYMOUS OP ED.
>> IF YOU WERE STILL ADVISING
THE PRESIDENT, ADVISING THE
WHITE HOUSE.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE TELLING HIM TO
DO RIGHT NOW IN RESPONSE, IF
ANYTHING IN RESPONSE TO THAT
ANONYMOUS PIECE?
>> W8, MY FIRST CONCERN IS
OBVIOUSLY THESE MIDTERMS COMING
UP, NOVEMBER 6th IS EFFECTIVELY
HIS RE-ELECT.
THIS IS WHAT STEVE BANNON HAS
ARGUED, WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF THE
DEMOCRATS TAKE CONTROL OF THE
HOUSE, AND JERRY ED THAT LETTER,
WE'RE SITTING IN HIS DISTRICT
NOW.
WITH ARTICLES OF IMPICHMENT --
THE CHAIR ELIJAH CUMMINGS, THERE
WILL BE AN INVESTIGATION.
>> SOME PEOPLE HAVE SUGGESTED
THE PRESIDENT SHOULD JUST PUT IT
ASIDE AND SAY, I'M NOT BOTHERED
WITH THAT, I'M GOING TO MOVE
FORWARD WITH MY POLICY, HOW
WOULD YOU SUGGEST IT COULD BE
USED TO SHOW THAT HE IS REALLY
GETTING THINGS DONE.
BY THE WAY, THAT WAS SOMETHING
THAT HE ALWAYS USED.
THAT WAS A TERM THAT HE USED,
THAT NOBODY EVER ADVISED HIM ON
AS OPPOSES TO OTHERS.
GETTING THINGS DONE THAT ARE
OUTSIDE OF THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM.
JACK WAS AN INDEPENDENT
CANDIDATE RUNNING IN THAT
PRIMARY.
I'M NOT SURE HE WOULD HAVE WON
THE NOMINATION IF IT STARTED OUT
WITH SIX PEOPLE.
IT WENT AGAINST THE GRAIN.
PARTICULARLY WITH BOB WOODWARD
COMING OUT.
ADVISERS THAT ARE NOT THERE NOW.
TALKING ABOUT WHAT HE WAS DONE
ON TRADE.
THE TRADE WAS REFERENCED IN THE
ANONYMOUS OP ED, HE GOES AGAINST
THIS CONVENTIONAL WISDOM.
QUICKLY ON THIS POINT TOO, I
DIDN'T PRETEND TO BE AN
ECONOMIST.
I UNDERSTAND REPUBLICAN
ORTHODOXCY, AND HE'S GONE
AGAINST THAT FOR YEARS IN TRADE
CONSISTENCY.
>> HE'S AN INDEPENDENT, NOT A
TRADITIONAL REPUBLICAN.
>> HE'S PUT IN THESE TARIFFS,
WHAT YOU SEE NOW IS, EVEN BY
PUTTING IN THE TARIFFS, WE WERE
TOLD THERE WOULD BE HIGH
INFLATION, MANUFACTURING WOULD
BE DOWN, THAT WE NEEDED THESE
MULTILATERAL DEALS AND
MANUFACTURING IS UP, WAGE GROWTH
IS UP, NOT ONLY JOBS, AND THERE
IS NO ININFLATION.
I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING
THEY'RE GOING TO GET A LOT OF
RESISTANCE.
OBVIOUSLY TO BE HONEST, IT'S HIS
OWN PERSONALITY, HE IS ROUGH.
>> IT'S THE WAY HE PLAYS THE
GAME.
DO YOU THINK THAT FOCUSING SO
MUCH ON LET'S FIND OUT WHO DID
THIS TAKES AWAY FROM THEIR
ABILITY TO POINT TO
ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
AND KIND OF PLAYS INTO THE THEME
OF THE WOODWARD BOOK AND THE
DPMS SAYING, CHAOS DISARRAY?
WOULD YOU ADVISE -- LOOK, DON'T
BOTHER TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO
DID IT?
COME BACK TO WHAT WE SAY ARE --
>> YOU TOOK MY ANSWER, IT'S A
FINE LINE.
THE FINE LINE OF I DON'T THINK
PUBLICLY HE SHOULD NECESSARILY
BE CALLING FOR LIE DETECTOR
TESTS, ALTHOUGH, I DON'T THINK
ANYBODY IF YOU'RE IN THE WEST
WING SHOULD HAVE A PROBLEM WITH
TAKING A LIE DETECTOR TEST
NECESSARILY.
IN TERMS OF THE JUSTICE
DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATION.
HAVE YOU TO BE MORE CLEAR ON
THAT, HERE'S THE PROBLEM WITH
THAT ANONYMOUS OP ED, LOOK, WE
HAVE THREE BRANCHES OF
GOVERNMENT ENUMERATED IN OUR
CONSTITUTION, HE'S THE CHIEF
EXECUTIVE OF THE ARTICLE TWO
BRANCH, THAT'S WHAT IS REALLY
THE PROBLEM IN THE WOODWARD BOOK
TOO WHEN YOU LOOK AT A GARY KOHN
OR ROB PORTER.
I BELIEVE WERE FORCED SOURCES TO
WHERE THEY'RE NOW DEFLYING IT.
TAKING THINGS OFF HIS DESK, NOT
ALLOWING HIM TO DO HIS AGENDA,
NOT SAYING NECESSARILY, LOOK,
THIS IS THE PROCEDURE WE HAVE TO
FOLLOW, IF HE SAYS, I WANT AN
EO, I WANT AN EXECUTIVE ORDER, I
WANT TO SIGN THIS, AND TRYING TO
GET HIM TO FORGET IT, THAT IS A
PROBLEM, AND THAT GOES AGAINST
WHAT THEY SWORE.
AND THEY SWORE TO UPHOLD THE
CONSTITUTION THE SAME WAY HE
DID, THAT'S THE PROBLEM IN THE
ANONYMOUS OP ED AS WELL.
>> IF YOU WANT TO TAKE THIS
POSITION, YOU SHOULD IN GOOD
CONSCIENCE NOT BE WALKING IN THE
WHITE HOUSE.
>> WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
>> YOU'RE TALKING TO SOMEBODY
WHO ONCE AGAIN, I WORK FOR
DONALD TRUMP FROM 2000 TO 2015,
I HAD A BAD FALLING OUT WITH
HIM.
I CONSIDER US FRIENDSES AGAIN.
FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME, I WOULD
HAVE PUT MY NAME ON THIS, AND
HAD HIM TRY TO SAY, FIRE ME.
I DO THINK, AND I WAS HAPPY TO
SEE, BECAUSE THIS HAS BEEN ON
ALL COVERAGE.
WHETHER IT IS FOX NEWS OR
SITTING HERE, OR CNN OR MSNBC.
EVERYONE HAS SAID THAT
REGARDLESS OF THE SUBSTANCE OF
WHAT THEY WROTE, THIS PERSON,
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT, DON'T DO IT
ENONE MOUSILY OR RESIGN.
RESIGN.
>> IS IN FACT THE PICTURE THAT
HAS BEEN PROVIDED IS FAIRLY
ACCURATE?
WE COME BACK TO WHAT U.S. SAID
BEFORE.
DONALD TRUMP IS A -- AN
UNCONVENTIONAL POLITICAL FIGURE.
>> RIGHT.
>> NO MATTER HOW YOU -- YOU ARE
GOING TO AGREE HE'S
UNCONVENTIONAL?
>> DOES THE PICTURE OF THE WHITE
HOUSE -- IS IT SOMETHING THAT
REPUBLICANS SHOULD BE VERY
CONCERNED ABOUT COMING INTO THE
MIDTERM ELECTIONS IN THE SENSE
THAT IT MIGHT TEND SO OVERWHELM
THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT YOU
MENTIONED BEFORE.
I THINK THERE WERE TWO SEPARATE
ISSUES WHEN IT COMES TO THE
PICTURE.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ANONYMOUS
OP ED, BUT THE WOODWARD BOOK.
THE WOODWARD BOOK, HE SAID, THIS
IS KIND OF OLD NEWS IN TERMS OF
THE FACT THAT -- IT STOPS AROUND
MARCH.
THE REASON IT STOPS AT MARCH
WHEN GARY KOHN RESIGNED AND JOHN
DOWD RESIGNED YOU DON'T HAVE
PEOPLE LIKE THAT IN THERE --
GARY KOHN, I DON'T BELIEVE
SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THAT WHITE
HOUSE.
IT GOES TO, THEY HAD A PROBLEM
WITH THE TRANSITION, AND THE
FAILURE OF TAKING THE TRANSITION
SERIOUSLY.
WHICH IS SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT
WOULD LOOK AT IT AS, I DON'T
WANT TO PREEMPT MY VICTORY.
THEY SHOULD HAVE PUT SOMEONE IN
LIKE LARRY KUDLOW, WHO IS IN
THERE NOW.
THEY SHOULD HAVE PUT JOHN BOLTON
IN THERE TO BEGIN WITH.
GENERAL FLYNN, THE REASON THEY
DOESN'T PUT HIM AT DOD IS
BECAUSE HE COULD NOT GET A
CONFIRMATION ABOUT AND I THINK
THAT THAT'S WHERE THEY'VE HAD
SOME HICCUPS, I DON'T THINK THE
WHITE HOUSE IS LIKE THAT ANY
MORE.
I FRANKLY DON'T, I THINK IT HAS
CHANGED.
>> NOT AS MUCH DISARRAY?
>> NO.
ONCE AGAIN IF YOU GO TO THE BOOK
OR YOU GO TO WHAT'S GOING ON
CURRENTLY, THE WILBUR ROSS, THE
PETER NAVARRNAVARROS, I KNOW THY
HAVE OPEN DOOR POLICY FOR THEM
RIGHT NOW, THEY CAN'T -- THERE
IS PROCEDURE, THEY ARE ALLOWED
TO TALK.
WHAT THEY CAN'T DO IS TO SAY,
YOU CANNOT PRESENT THIS VIEW TO
THE PRESIDENT.
NOW HE'S GETTING THE FULL ARRAY
OF EVERYTHING HE WANTS, AND HE'S
GOTTEN MORE COMFORTABLE IN THE
POSITION.
THERE WAS GOING TO BE A TIME TO
ADAPT
ADAPT.
>> IT'S INTERESTING, WE
APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING SOME
TIME.
I HOPE YOU'LL COME BACK A LITTLE
MORE AS WE CONTINUE DURING THE
COURSE OF THE TRUMP
ADMINISTRATION.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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