New Jersey Gov. and Trump adviser Chris Christie said that there is no need for a special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to the Russian government. According to Christie, the Department of Justice, headed by Trump political appointee Jeff Sessions, is enough.
“The Justice Department over the course of time has shown itself with the professionals that are there to have the ability to investigate these types of things,” Christie said on CNN’s State of the Union. “I just think, Jake, and this is whether you’re Republican or Democrat, we see this happen on both sides, when a special prosecutor gets involved, the thing gets completely out of control. And I think that doesn’t serve anybody’s purposes. We have a lot of important problems to deal with in this country, and I’m not saying this isn’t one of them, but I believe the Justice Department can handle it.”
Christie’s dismissal comes a day after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) called for a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from the investigations because he is a political appointee.
Equally important, Trump has shown a willingness to fire people who he doesn’t agree with. Last month, Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to enforce Trump’s executive order temporarily banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugee resettlement. The White House claimed she had “betrayed the Department of Justice” for refusing to enforce the ban, which is still facing multiple legal challenges.
The FBI is currently investigating ties between Trump advisers and Russian government officials. Last week, reports surfaced that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reached out to top FBI officials for public relations help, asking them to knock down any media reports about any such connections. As the FBI investigation is still ongoing, Preibus’ action could be considered a violation of federal law. The White House also asked the heads of the House and Senate intelligence committees for help in disputing media reports of any ties between Trump advisers and Russian officials.
As ThinkProgress previously reported:
CNN, citing “multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials,” reported that “[h]igh-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence.”
Similarly, the New York Times, citing “four current and former American officials,” reported that “[p]hone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials.”
Last August, Christie, who previously served as New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, called for a special prosecutor to investigate The Clinton Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by former president Bill Clinton. “Unfortunately, the only appropriate action for our compromised Attorney General is to appoint a truly impartial Special Prosecutor,” Christie said in a statement. “This must be investigated before Americans vote for President. Our system of justice deserves nothing less.”
But now, Christie thinks a special prosecutor isn’t necessary — and a Trump political appointee can properly investigate him.