Former prosecutor and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ to discuss the three new federal charges against former President Donald Trump relating to his handling of classified documents.
Here’s What Christie Had to Say
When asked whether the Trump charges indicate a “clear-cut obstruction of justice,” Christie answered that “it appears that way.”
“You know you look at it, um, it’s pretty brazen. These guys were acting like the Corleone’s with no experience. The day after a grand jury subpoena is served, which includes the surveillance tapes, they got down to Mar-a-Lago and Walt Nauta appears to be the Frito of this family … and they said go and delete it. You know this is bad stuff.
“You can’t say there was no underlying potential crime here. This was the withholding of confidential classified information from the government after asking 18 months of asking Donald Trump to return it voluntarily. Not only did he not return it, he lied about having it. This is not the kind of thing we can do … Think about the potential effect on our troops and our intelligence officers by just having this stuff laying around and him willy-nilly showing it to whoever he feels like to be a showoff on the back deck of Mar-a-Lago. You know, this is not what a former president should be doing and it’s certainly not something that someone who wants to be president should be doing.”
Chris Christie in Context
It’s worth pointing out that Trump and Christie have a complicated history. Both ran for president in 2016. Entering the race, Christie was the more viable candidate of the two, and he was quick to criticize Trump as a political hack.
But when Trump surged in the polls, Christie dropped out and became one of the first, and most prominent, people to endorse Trump for president – giving Trump, who at that point had never held public office, a much-needed boost of credibility. Christie knew what he was doing. He recognized early that Trump was gonna nab the GOP nomination. So Christie was angling for the VP slot, or for a Cabinet post.
Fast forward several months. Trump wins the GOP nomination. He wins the 2016 presidential election. And Chris Christie is the head of Trump’s transition team, clearly in a position to feature prominently in the new administration. But in mid-November, Christie was unceremoniously dropped from the head of the transition team in favor of Mike Pence. What exactly happened isn’t entirely clear although there’s speculation that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had a part in it.
Why? Because as a prosecutor Christie prosecuted Kushner’s father. Unclear. But here’s the point: Chris Christie and Donald Trump are not on good terms.
Christie is like the jealous, scorned lover, who was moments away from being posted to a cushy spot in the Trump administration. Does that undermine Christie’s assessment of Trump’s current legal situation? Not necessarily. But it’s worth remembering that Christie is not some impartial third party. Trump humiliated Christie and Christie is likely keen to return the favor. The liberal press of course is also keen to amplify the voices of conservatives willing to criticize Trump. So expect Christie to be featured prominently as a talking head in the ongoing analysis of Trump’s criminal charges.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.