WASHINGTON - Sam Nunberg, a former political aide to U.S. President Donald Trump, said on Monday he would refuse to comply with a subpoena to testify before a grand jury in U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election campaign.
"I'm not going to cooperate," Nunberg told MSNBC. "Why do I have to spend 80 hours going over my emails" with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Trump associate Roger Stone.
Mueller's investigation arose in part from the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia had meddled in the election and that its goals eventually included aiding Trump who won a surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Russia denies the allegations and Trump says there was no collusion between Moscow and his campaign.
Mueller has charged several Trump associates and more than a dozen Russians.
Nunberg, in a phone call to MSNBC, said a subpoena to appear before a grand jury was "absolutely ridiculous." Nunberg rejected any notion that Trump had colluded with Russians.
"Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians. It is the biggest joke to ever think that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians," said Nunberg, who also spoke to the Washington Post and CNN.
Nunberg started working for then-businessman Trump in 2011, making him one of his earliest political advisers, but he was fired from the Republican's campaign in August 2015 before the heat of the 2016 presidential race.
Asked if he was concerned about being held in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena, Nunberg laughed off the idea.
"Let's see what Mr. Mueller does. I think it would be funny if they arrested me. I think it would be really, really funny if they wanted to arrest me because I don't want to spend 80 hours going over emails I had with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone," he said. (Reporting by Lisa Lambert and David Alexander; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Grant McCool)