Chris Christie destroys Trump’s ‘witch hunt’ claim about Mueller

Trump's former presidential transition head destroyed his witch-hunt defense.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) last October. (CREDIT: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Former Trump transition chairman and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) dismantled the president’s latest round of attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday and laid out a clear defense of Monday’s raid on the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

After the raid, Trump threatened to fire Mueller and unleashed a Twitter tirade complaining that “attorney-client privilege is dead!”

But on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday, Christie warned that firing the special counsel would be untenable. Noting that he had used the exact same process during his own time as a U.S. Attorney, he explained the high bar that had to have been satisfied before the “not that extraordinary” raid.

“They went to Justice at least twice on this. [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein sent it to the U.S. Attorney in the Southern. He took an independent look at it,” he explained. “He could have just said, ‘I don’t see anything here,’ or ‘I’ll just serve some subpoenas,’ or take some less intrusive steps. He thought that either one of two things was happening: either he had evidence that Cohen was not cooperating with subpoenas that have already been served, and/or that Cohen was in the midst of destroying evidence.”

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Christie noted that the request then needed to be approved by the head of the DOJ’s criminal division and the deputy attorney general again.

Christie shot down Trump’s claim that Monday’s raid was a fatal blow to attorney-client privilege. “There’s gonna be a taint-team… they’ll bring in a whole separate team of agents and assistant U.S. Attorneys who are gonna examine this. They’re going to separate this into stuff that’s privileged and stuff that isn’t.”

And then, he explained, they’d look at whether any of the privileged information showed evidence of an ongoing crime or fraud between Trump and Cohen.

“It’s gotta be a conspiracy-like situation, George, that they see clear evidence of,” Christie told host George Stephanopoulos.


UPDATE: This piece previously said that Geoffrey Berman, the Trump administration appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of the New York, ordered the raid of Cohen’s office. Late Tuesday morning, ABC News reported that Berman recused himself and took no part in the raid.