My gut reaction upon reading the headline was that Nunberg was going all-in on a pardon ploy. He understands Trump. He knows how much POTUS would appreciate a show of defiance towards Mueller given how limited his own options are. He also knows how much Trump’s base would appreciate it. He’ll be a star on Hannity’s show and on conservative talk radio overnight if he does this. A few days in jail might be worth it for the publicity.

He might even get a presidential pardon out of it. It’d be risky for Trump to grant impunity to witnesses who refuse to cooperate with Mueller but he’s in a risk-taking kinda mood lately.

It’s a fine theory! But when you remember who Nunberg is and read some of the things he had to say about Trump even in this piece, it breaks down.

“Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.”

Nunberg said he was planning to go on Bloomberg TV and tear up the subpoena…

“The Russians and Trump did not collude,” Nunberg said. “Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump.”

“I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Stephen K. Bannon and producing them,” Nunberg said. “Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his ass off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”

Remember Nunberg? He was an old-old-old-school Trump advisor, helping to get him press in conservative media in 2014 ahead of his presidential run the following year. He’s a Roger Stone guy; Stone was still advising Trump around the same time. But then things went south. In summer 2015 Nunberg got booted from the campaign over controversial social-media posts and a personality clash with then-manager Corey Lewandowski. Relations with Trump deteriorated to the point that Nunberg ended up getting sued by POTUS for $10 million in 2016, in the thick of the campaign, for allegedly violating his nondisclosure agreement by blabbing anonymously to reporters. Fast-forward 18 months and Nunberg’s now calling Trump stupid and insisting that no one hates him more than he does, even as he’s vowing to Take A Stand Against Russiagate by tearing up Mueller’s subpoena.

That is … not the best messaging approach to get into Trump’s good graces or land guest shots on Hannity.

So what the hell is he doing? One possibility is that he knows his friend and mentor Stone is in legal jeopardy and is trying to protect him by sitting on his emails, even at the expense of a jail sentence. Times reporter Maggie Haberman claims she spoke to Nunberg about the subpoena and that he “tells me he is unlikely to go, that he ‘saved Trump’s ass’ during the McCain fight in August 2015, and that it’s all an effort to get Roger Stone.” Maybe he’s falling on his sword for Stone. We’ll see how long that tactic lasts.

Another possibility is that Nunberg is, errrrrrr, a little … eccentric:

That’s from a, shall we say, colorful interview he did this afternoon with MSNBC. It’s a witch hunt and I’m not going to participate in destroying Roger Stone, Nunberg vowed…

…but as for the president? Ah, yeah, he might be guilty of something:

Again, this is not the way to become a “Hannity” hero. What’s this guy up to?

Update: Is there any surer way to get the special counsel interested in you than to say, on national TV, that you think the president may have committed a crime? Does this guy have brain damage?

Update: As of 4:15 p.m. ET, he’s now dialed into CNN, is live on the air, and is saying stuff like this to Tapper:

Is this some elaborate “play hard to get” scheme in which Nunberg tries to make himself irresistible to Mueller?

Oh, he’s still going:

Update: This show’s just getting started: