- Sam Nunberg, a former aide on President Donald Trump’s campaign, said Sunday that he does “sympathize” with Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, but he also hit back at Cohen’s recent moves against Trump.
- Nunberg defended the president and said recent revelations of a taped conversation between Trump and Cohen was going “too far.”
President Donald Trump’s former campaign aide Sam Nunberg said he does “sympathize” with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, but said his decision to release a secretly recorded tape of a conversation with Trump as going “too far.”
In an Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Nunberg said Cohen’s latest moves were understandable, but a turn away from his longtime loyalty to Trump.
“You said Michael Cohen was very loyal and devoted to Trump,” host Chuck Todd said to Nunberg. “Did you ever see Mr. Trump be loyal to him?”
“Ultimately, I felt that he wasn’t,” Nunberg said. “I sympathize with Michael. I understand the way Michael feels.”
Nunberg continued, “With that said, Chuck, for someone like me who has defended Michael publicly, when he takes Lanny Davis out of the Clinton crypt and starts talking about Watergate, releasing these tapes, it’s a bridge too far.”
Davis, who is Cohen’s attorney, released audio last week featuring a conversation between Trump and Cohen about payments to a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, who claimed she had a sexual relationship with Trump years prior.
The conversation was reportedly recorded in September 2016, two months before the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier this month, Nunberg was reportedly pitching himself for television appearances with the description of “Michael Cohen’s Friend.” Nunberg defended their personal relationship to Todd, saying “he is a friend of mine,” but doubled down on his disapproval of the recently revealed recordings.
“I like him personally,” Nunberg said. “Once again, I feel bad for what his family is going through. But vis-a-vis his professional relationship with the president, this is, I mean it’s highly unethical, if not, if not, you know, being – getting disbarred for what he did.”
Legal experts told Business Insider last week that they found it bizarre that Cohen felt the need to record a conversation with Trump, and some said they had never heard of an attorney secretly recording a client.
The New York State Bar Association calls such secret recording unethical. New York, where the taping reportedly took place, legally requires only one person’s consent for such a recording. So Cohen’s actions were not illegal.
Nunberg said during his time with Trump’s campaign, he had known Cohen as Trump’s loyal “fixer” and was surprised the president’s longtime ally would release such information.
“The idea Michael Cohen was taping him, when I heard that, I felt like we were back in the 26th floor of Trump Tower,” Nunberg said, referring to the Manhattan headquarters of Trump’s campaign. “Remember, they never consummated this transaction, so there’s no idea there’s FEC violation, but with that said, these sound like the conversations you’d hear in private.”
Cohen and Trump’s relationship has broken down in recent months, after the FBI raided Cohen’s property in April and seized thousands of documents and records. The raid was part of a federal criminal investigation into whether Cohen committed bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations as part of his work for Trump during the 2016 election.