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

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. 

TRANSCRIPT

> 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.

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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