- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 10, 2018

A former adviser to President Trump has defended special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian election meddling after spending several hours fielding questions from his team of federal investigators.

“No, I don’t think it’s a witch hunt,” former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg said of the special counsel’s investigation during an interview with ABC News aired Saturday. “It’s warranted because there’s a lot there and that’s the sad truth.”

Mr. Nunberg, 36, alleged differently only days earlier when he publicly decried the special counsel’s probe during a whirlwind media blitz waged Monday in response to being subpoenaed to surrender communications between himself and several fellow former Trump campaign officials. He changed course by the week’s end, however, and ultimately spent about six hours in federal court Friday answering questions presented by Mr. Mueller’s team in front of a grand jury convened to investigate the 2016 presidential race and any collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“I was there a long time, and they have a lot of questions,” Mr. Nunberg said in his first interview since testifying.

Mr. Nunberg declined to discuss specific aspects of his testimony, but he said that the questions focused on fellow former Trump campaign aides mentioned in the subpoena he disclosed earlier in the week, including outgoing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks; former chief strategist Steve Bannon; former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and Carter Page; Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen; the president’s longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller; and former campaign adviser Roger Stone, ABC News reported.

“I’m very worried about him,” he said of Mr. Stone. “He’s certainly at least the subject of this investigation, in the very least he’s a subject.”

A longtime political strategist and confidant of Mr. Trump, Mr. Stone has previously come under fire for his alleged ties to the WikiLeaks website and its publication of Democratic Party emails and documents allegedly stolen by Russian hackers during the 2016 campaign, and has previously testified before members of the House Intelligence Committee investigating the race.

As of Saturday, however, Mr. Stone said he’s yet to hear from Mr. Mueller’s team.

“I have not been contacted by the Special Counsel’s office,” Mr. Stone told The Washington Times in an email. “There is nothing in my Correspondence with Sam Nunberg or anyone else that would constitute collusion with the Russians or anything else improper,” he added.

“Sam Nunberg’s conjecture does not create evidence,” Mr. Stone added. “I categorically deny any involvement or knowledge of any collusion, co-ordination or conspiracy to effect the 2016 election with the Russians or anyone else.”

Claims to the contrary “are all lies created by Democrats and some in the media that will be dispelled by the investigation,” said Mr. Stone.

While Mr. Stone may be in trouble, according to Mr. Nunberg, Mr. Trump has less to worry about, he told ABC.

“I don’t believe it leads to the president,” Mr. Nunberg said of the special counsel’s probe.

The U.S. intelligence community has blamed Russia with interfering in the 2016 race, and the Department of Justice in May appointed Mr. Mueller, a former FBI director, to lead a special counsel’s investigation into the race.

Mr. Mueller’s probe has resulted so far in criminal charges against four former Trump campaign associates — Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and George Papadopoulos —as well as 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies.

Russia has denied meddling in the 2016 race, and the White House has denied colluding with Russia.

“I think Vladimir Putin, if you look at it objectively, is really taking advantage of the president,” Mr. Nunberg told ABC. “Vladimir Putin, I think we all can agree, wanted Donald Trump to win.”

Mr. Nunberg and Mr. Stone both left the Trump campaign in August 2015.

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