Watch Erin Burnett Ask Former Trump Aide Sam Nunberg If He's Been Drinking, Live on CNN

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There's a big story related to former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg right now—and then there's a side story, a sort of meta narrative, surrounding him that's even more compelling (and disturbing).

The big story is that he's (maybe) thumbing his nose at Special Counsel Robert Mueller; as the Washington Post puts it in a front-page story this morning headlined "Ex-Trump aide vows to defy Mueller (retitled for the web as "Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg called before grand jury, says he will refuse to go"). Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker report that,

Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg publicly defied the Justice Department special counsel on Monday, announcing in an extraordinary series of media interviews that he had been subpoenaed to appear in front of a federal grand jury investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election but that he will refuse to go. "Let him arrest me," Nunberg told The Washington Post in his first stop on a media blitz, saying he does not plan to comply with a subpoena from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to hand over emails and other documents related to President Trump and nine current and former Trump advisers.

Nunberg has since sort of backed off from his defiant stance. That waffling came amidst the "extraordinary series of media interviews," as Dawsey and Rucker gently put it—which brings us to the Nunberg side story. To put it not-gently, everyone is wondering what the hell is wrong with this guy. Including CNN anchor Erin Burnett who, as part of a half-hour "Erin Burnett OutFront" interview with him last night, said—within the first couple of minutes of the segment—that a Trump ally told her that Nunberg is drunk or off his meds.

And then, starting at 7:40 p.m. ET, this went down (jump to the 28:44 mark in the video embedded above):

Burnett: So, Sam, I have to ask you one other thing.

Nunberg: Yes, ma'am.

Burnett: And it's an awkward question to ask, but, you know, I've interviewed you before, you're sitting very close to me. We talked earlier about what people in the White House were saying about you. Talking about whether you were drinking or on drugs or whatever had happened today. Um, talking to you, I have smelled alcohol on your breath.

Nunberg: Well, I have not had a drink.

Burnett: You haven't had a drink. So that's not—

Nunberg: No.

Burnett: So I, I just—because it is the talk out there—again, I know it's awkward—let me give you the question so you can categorically answer it: Have you had a drink today?

Nunberg: My answer, my answer is no. I have not.

Burnett: Anything else?

Nunberg: No.

Burnett. No.

Nunberg: [awkward pause] Besides my meds. [another awkward pause]

Burnett: OK.

Nunberg: Antidepressants. Is that OK?

Burnett: I'm just trying to understand what happened today.

We all are.

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