Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

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Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2018-03-06 09:13am

Pretty sure this deserves its own thread.
But ex aide/waste of human flesh Sam Nunberg in several interviews dared Muller to come get him after declaring he’d never testify before the investigation. From NPR

A former campaign aide to Donald Trump is vowing to fight a subpoena he says he has received in the Russia investigation — and has dared special counsel Robert Mueller to arrest him.

Sam Nunberg called reporters and TV news programs on Monday and said live that he'd gotten a grand jury subpoena as part of Mueller's investigation asking for communications with other people in the Trump orbit — but that he won't comply.

"Let him arrest me," Nunberg told The Washington Post. "Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in."

Nunberg then went on MSNBC and two CNN shows to publicize his refusal to comply with the Mueller probe. He said he had been summoned to appear before a grand jury on Friday but would not, nor would he produce evidence.

What followed was a rambling, at-times incoherent series of exchanges as Nunberg asked for legal advice, opined about whether Trump colluded with Russia, and relitigated an internal Trump campaign power struggle from 2015 — all live, on the air, in real time.

"I think that [Trump] may have done something during the election," Nunberg told MSNBC's Katy Tur, adding later, "I don't know that for sure."

"I'm not cooperating," Nunberg said. "Arrest me."

Nunberg is a lawyer who has been admitted to the New York state bar after graduating from Touro Law Center on Long Island, N.Y. All the same, he asked for legal advice from various cable news show hosts: "What do you think Mueller's going to do to me?" he asked Tur.

"Do you think I should cooperate?" Nunberg asked CNN's Jake Tapper. "Why do I have to produce every email? I talk to [former Trump advisers] Steve Bannon and Roger Stone eight times a day."

"Sometimes life and special prosecutors are not fair," Tapper quipped.

Nunberg also accused former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page of having played a role in the foreign attack on the election.

"I believe Carter Page was colluding with the Russians," Nunberg said on CNN.

Page was a junior foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. He traveled to Moscow twice in 2016 and was the subject of surveillance by the U.S. intelligence community. Page stridently denies doing anything wrong.
The surreal clown shown continues.
Pretty sure the guy was drunk on air
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-03-06 09:25am

Nunberg is a lawyer who has been admitted to the New York state bar after graduating from Touro Law Center on Long Island, N.Y. All the same, he asked for legal advice from various cable news show hosts: "What do you think Mueller's going to do to me?" he asked Tur.
As a lawyer he should know the answer to that question. Though he doesn't sound comptent.

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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-06 11:45am

I am reminded of a passage from the late Sir Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, to describe Nunberg.
He glanced down at the tourist.

“You-” he began, and searched his memory for the worst word in the Trob tongue; the happy little beTrobi didn’t really know how to swear properly.

“You,” he repeated. Another hurrying figure bumped into him, narrowly missing him with the blade over its shoulder. Rincewind’s tortured temper exploded.

“You little (such a one who, while wearing a copper nose ring, stands in a footbath atop Mount Raruaruaha during a heavy thunderstorm and shouts that Alohura, Goddess of Lightning, has the facial features of a diseased uloruaha root!)
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-03-06 12:05pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:
2018-03-06 09:13am
Pretty sure the guy was drunk on air.
One reporter did comment that she could smell alcohol on his breath. Definitely looks like he was getting his day drink on.

He also started panicking later in the day, when he was informed that no, Mueller can totally have him arrested for refusing to comply with the subpoena, and also a Clinton business partner by the name of Susan McDougal spent 18 months in prison for doing exactly that during the Whitewater investigation.

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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-06 02:56pm

I'm sure Mueller will be happy to oblige.

Also note where he says that he thinks Trump may have done something during the election. Though this is clearly not a person in whose' judgement much credibility can be placed. :D
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-06 03:02pm

Stephen Colbert did a good bit on this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fITP0H3OVA0
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Napoleon the Clown » 2018-03-06 05:11pm

Daring the FBI to arrest you for refusing to submit to their subpoena is approximately as intelligent as attempting to get head from a snapping turtle.

Really, it's not shocking that a Trump associate is this stupid. Trump is a pathological narcissist that actively avoids associating with people smarter than he is. And given how goddamn low a bar that is, it's no surprise that blithering idiots are who he is surrounded by.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-06 05:17pm

Yes and no. Trump is a narcissist, and deeply ignorant about many things. However, he is dangerously effective at playing the media, and certain aspects of the culture. But a lot of the Trumper crowd are, if anything, more inept than he is, yes.

You know, if nothing else, we can be thankful that if fascism was going to come to America, it at least came in a form so transparently incompetent.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Esquire » 2018-03-06 11:54pm

Is he, though? I don't know that there's a lot of grand strategy involved in the chain of events "do ridiculous thing -> be only interesting soundbite -> have soundbite played a billion times per second -> win via Electoral College nonsense against literally the least popular imaginable plausible opponent while still losing the popular vote." Or, and I do realize this is probably old news, I think the whole 'Trump is a media genius' thing is more of a retrospective interpretation of a massive own-goal on the media's part.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Napoleon the Clown » 2018-03-07 12:38am

Trump's major skill is manipulating people. It does not make him at all smart. It just means he manipulates people.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2018-03-07 08:17am

Yeah I agree and have got really sick of this “Trump is a master media manipulator!” Nonsense. He is an idiot man child who the media is simply inept at dealing with the sheer volume of drivel he spews forth.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Bernkastel » 2018-03-07 09:39am

Esquire wrote:
2018-03-06 11:54pm
Is he, though? I don't know that there's a lot of grand strategy involved in the chain of events "do ridiculous thing -> be only interesting soundbite -> have soundbite played a billion times per second -> win via Electoral College nonsense against literally the least popular imaginable plausible opponent while still losing the popular vote." Or, and I do realize this is probably old news, I think the whole 'Trump is a media genius' thing is more of a retrospective interpretation of a massive own-goal on the media's part.
I fully agree with this. In my opinion, Trump's past success can be firmly attributed to other things than him being a media mastermind, such as incompetence and problems with the US political systems and news media. Seeing Trump as a skilled media savvy guy undersells how bad certain groups and people fucked up in regards to Trump and how they do things in general. It also undersells how bad the problems in the US political system and news media are that someone like Trump could become President.

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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-07 11:32am

Trump is good at a very specific set of things, which should not give him the keys to the kingdom. As you say, the fact that they did do so is indicative of larger problems.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-07 04:13pm

The point is not that Trump is generally smart-leaving theoretical ability aside, I don't think he even cares enough to try to learn or understand anything that does not have an obvious bearing on his self-interest. I simply think that it is dangerous to underestimate Trump as a manipulator, because weather its because of his ability or his critics' incompetence, the point is, he has been effective enough to pose the most serious threat to the security and liberty of the United States in at least a generation.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Bernkastel » 2018-03-07 05:15pm

I'd say the problem is not Trump's ability to manipulate anything. It's wider problems that allowed someone like him to risk. For example, there's the path that the Republican Party was on for a long time, one that ended with someone like Trump being able to become their Presidential candidate. It wasn't any act of cunning by Trump that got him there. The Republicans created the conditions for that to happen on their own. The same applies to the Democratic Party and the US media. Attributing their failures to Trump being a manipulator rather than the severe issues these organisations have is a serious mistake, one I think will cause problems. Trump did not need to be a expert manipulator to become President. Instead, wider and very serious problems within the US political establishment, political systems and news media enabled a fuckup like Trump to become President, not because he was cunning, but because of how screwed up things like the Republican Party and the US news media are.

To put it another way, a problem of concern is not that of people underestimating Trump, but overestimating themselves. Trump is not a cunning manipulator, but he doesn't need to be if he's facing sufficiently incompetant foes in a rotten system. The Republicans opposing Trump overestimated themselves. So did the US news media and the Democrats.

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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-07 05:30pm

The thing is...

Trump is a narcissistic bozo, but narcissistic bozos are not in short supply in America. I would tentatively estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of narcissists just as bozositous as Trump, and none of them have ever been as successful as him, even though some of them surely inherited money. While Trump had the tremendous advantage of his father's money, I think it likely that he is at least above average in certain important fields, that he has some meaningful talent for leveraging his rare advantages into other classes of success.

And Trump's one clearly recognizable talent is his ability to gull people into thinking that he is strong and competent and knows what he is doing, then parlay that into personal wealth before the whole thing goes belly-up, then somehow manage to evade the consequences. He is to the American capitalist economy what those queen-impersonating caterpillars are to ants. The queen-impersonating caterpillar may not be particularly impressive in any other respect, but by GOD they're good at impersonating members of an entirely different species so well that the other species' own children can't tell the difference despite prolonged contact!

Thus, we had best be wary of his ability to fool people, because that is his one thing.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Bernkastel » 2018-03-07 06:15pm

I'd say that Trump effectively had significant help via the incompetency/flaws of people who opposed him. It's why I brought up the Republican Party. They certainly did not intend for their party to end up with Trump as their Presidential candidate. However, their decisions as a party were such that they created conditions favourable to a person like Trump if he were to try and take the position of Presidential candidate. It was their flaws that allowed a person like Trump to rise. Their flaws, in my opinion, made such an outcome likely to happen eventually. That sort of problem is what concerns me far more than Trump the manipulator, that of groups, people and systems that have sunk to such a level that someone like Trump has a far higher probability of success than he should. I also feel that the notion of Trump the manipulator draws attention away from how low things have gotten and how much groups and systems in US politics need to be improved. As things stand, groups like the US press are at such a low level of reliability that the odds of them being screwed over by someone like a huckster with a track record of failure is high. They are just that incompetent/flawed. That is obviously very concerning in regards to the future. I don't think they've improved and that they still overestimate how competent they are.

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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-08 08:40am

Bernkastel wrote:
2018-03-07 06:15pm
I'd say that Trump effectively had significant help via the incompetency/flaws of people who opposed him. It's why I brought up the Republican Party. They certainly did not intend for their party to end up with Trump as their Presidential candidate. However, their decisions as a party were such that they created conditions favourable to a person like Trump if he were to try and take the position of Presidential candidate. It was their flaws that allowed a person like Trump to rise. Their flaws, in my opinion, made such an outcome likely to happen eventually. That sort of problem is what concerns me far more than Trump the manipulator, that of groups, people and systems that have sunk to such a level that someone like Trump has a far higher probability of success than he should. I also feel that the notion of Trump the manipulator draws attention away from how low things have gotten and how much groups and systems in US politics need to be improved.
I think that to some extent this shouldn't be modeled as a zero-sum tradeoff between "watch out for Trump manipulations" and "we have GOT to fix our institutional flaws."

The key insight here is that while Trump is exceptional and unusual, he is not unique. Many people could emulate him in politically relevant ways if they saw fit to do so, especially now that they have seen him succeed.

After all, perhaps the most unique thing about Trump is that his narcissism and egotism are such that he had the gall to try an audacious strategy that most people simply would not have considered, because they would have expected it to fail- as is often the case when dealing with psychopaths.

But once the psychopath has done it as a consequence of his madness and egotism, others may start doing it in an attempt to emulate the psychopath's success. And may well succeed where he failed, due to being less flawed on the psychological level, even if they are no more ethical. So Trump highlights an institutional flaw that can and will be exploited again if it is not fixed, while at the same time being unusual in ways that make him a potential problem or threat. Mostly because he will hit our flaws as hard as he can, full force, unrestrained by the usual bonds of normalcy and custom, until either we break or he does. And that is unusual in politics.
As things stand, groups like the US press are at such a low level of reliability that the odds of them being screwed over by someone like a huckster with a track record of failure is high. They are just that incompetent/flawed. That is obviously very concerning in regards to the future. I don't think they've improved and that they still overestimate how competent they are.
I think there's been some incremental improvement in some specific places, if only because the press has realized that if they fail their job hard enough they may find a rabidly anti-press and pro-censorship government taking office. But no, there has not been any drastic "sea change" in the nature and composition of the press.

...

You know, I had a strange thought.

In terms of his political role, if not in terms of personal nature and qualities, Trump reminds me a bit of Alcibiades from Athens. They're VERY DIFFERENT MEN, I just want to make that clear, but in terms of the 'weirdly successful charismatic demagogue who obviously has no real loyalty to the state or its customs and aggrandizes himself shamelessly' dynamic... it's there.

Anyway, I want to skip past that because it's not really the strong part of my position. My REAL point is more like...

Hm.

Maybe the political dynamics of a modern, social-media-happy democracy resemble those of ancient democratic city-states more strongly than the typical 19th or 20th century constitutional republic resembles EITHER of them. Consider some of the similarities:

1) Information routinely travels quickly through interpersonal channels, and can get from one side of the polity to the other quickly. In ancient times, because the voting population was at most several thousand people in a town, in modern times, because of social media.

2) The populace can change opinion rapidly or capriciously, and is susceptible to being easily swayed by 'spin.' This is a direct consequence of (1). In ancient times there were no mass media, in modern times the mass media have been in large part bypassed.

3) Creating new factions, including both enlightened and deeply troubling ones, is easy, because it's physically easy to coordinate groups of like-minded people throughout the polity.

...

The ancients often criticized democracy as easily collapsing into demagoguery, then into tyranny. But the constitutional republics of the 1800s and 1900s rarely had this problem, which has generally resulted in the criticism being ignored. Maybe we've cycled back into an era where that is a more realistic danger, if we don't find methods of insuring against it that were unknown to the ancients.
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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Bernkastel » 2018-03-08 09:41am

Well, I have the concern that there are definitely groups, such as the democratic establishment, the Republicans, etc, who don't wan't to face those deep problems and, if forced to do reforms, would prefer it to be as surface deep as possible. My line of thinking is that the path that the US has been on for quite some time is one where the rise of someone like Trump was likely happen sooner or later and that we are, in a way, lucky that we ended up with Trump rather than someone not so reliant on certain tactics to succeed, tactics that aren't so effective in politics as they were in the world of business. It means there is still a chance to fix those problems, if only those with the power to do something actually act.

Yes, being more aware of how people like Trump can exploit the state of US politics and dealing with the larger problems should not be mutually exclusive. But focus on the idea of Trump getting to power by being a manipulator or via schemes suits those who don't want to try to face the larger problems in any meaningful way. That in turn means there is more of a chance that those who might wish to emulate Trump will get the opportunity to do so at some point in the future.

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Re: Ex-Trump Campaign Aide to Muller: “"Let him arrest me,"

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-08 11:47am

What particular sorts of reforms, and problems, do you have in mind?
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