Transcript for Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joins 'Powerhouse Politics'
Hello and welcome to ABC news powerhouse politics on ABC news chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. Political director Rick Klein. And Rick new music that is Ian as we we we dialed up a special studio and and special music just for today's sell it at a confuse we will be talking shortly with one of the top Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. But Rick right away right at the very top of this podcast we have our newly minted ABC news contributor the former governor New Jersey. Chris Christie Governor Christie thank you for joining us on Rick thanks for having me. After dear. Looks great to have you don't get right to you it sets hoping to George Stephanopoulos the other day that caught my attention he asked you point blank should. President trump agreed to be interviewed by the special counsel you. Answered with a very blunt no. So can we dig into battle there because. My senses I mean an end by way of background the president has looked me in the eye twice and told me that he absolutely would talk to the independent to the special counsel. On borders lawyers. Are basically saying exactly what you set so what what's gonna happen here why listen all we want. What happens wherever the president wants to happen. Because he's the client and and he gets to make the choice. But I just don't think it's in his interest to do it and that's the the basis upon which I meet the state army to George last week you mean. You know there's just not it's on the president's interest to sit there would a prosecutor. And to give that prosecutor. Unfettered access to these thoughts and feelings about. A whole variety of issues that have happened over a long period of time. Where the president's recollection may be very good and some that this is not. It's so I just don't think it's in his interest to do it that's why give the answer I gave. And illicit before prosecutors you know our viewers term for seven years. In New Jersey I'd love to have the opportunity as a prosecutor to do that. That wasn't the question question Georgia was too I think the president should do it I think the answer is now. Okay in the eighth the follow up question is can he avoided I mean if you go back you know full well that. Obviously. Bill Clinton testified and did two. If in the Starr. Investigation. George W. Bush was questioned in the Scooter Libby investigation. Ronald Reagan was questioned in the Iran Contra investigation how does this president avoid. What so many of his predecessors had to do well. Let's each one of those things can compete distinguished from the circumstance but let's let's do Clinton once it's it's it's it's one more salient ones in art. To the scope of the investigation. Bill Clinton had given that deposition. Under oath in a civil matter for Paula Jones which is really what led to. There are interest in their ability to be able to. Question him under oath in the special counsel area because they had evidence that he had lied under oath which is a crime. We have no evidence at this prisons committed a crime at this point. And so the ability for Bob Mueller bring him in this and if Bob Mueller wants to subpoena the president United States to injury he can. Arm but that's very very aggressive step. That I think the special counsel want to unless he has real grounds to do it. And I don't know yet that we have evidence that he does so the way to avoid it is it's kind of a severe step now if a grand jury subpoena is served on the Prez United States. Then everyone's gonna have to make some judgments about how they respond to that and that puts us in different realm question I was asked was essentially she voluntarily appear in and my position would be now. You think they'd have to me some kind of arrangement that was some kind of a questioning is inevitable in this is a political matter if not as a legal matter well I think. There may be some question accidental humor to got to see oak plays out. You know Bob Mueller is a serious guy and you know I've I've been supportive of small role with route I worked with him when I was US attorney's dirt through the FBI. He's not gonna question the president just forensic question president. He's only gonna ask the question the president United States if there's any real factual basis in the from to do so to advance or complete his investigation. And I don't think we know that yet and my guess is Bob Mueller and yes that way that's why I don't think he's asked for we have yet so. As a political matter it only becomes necessary I think Rick. If Bob lower asks for. Then you have a political issue if Bob Miller never asks. That I don't think Donald Trump as president has the obligation to volunteer to do it. As you know there isn't a big to do over the last couple days about the noon as memo when it came out the president was quick to say that shows. That mullis got nothing basically it is clear strong U -- share that view it is what you saw on the nude as memo does that clear Donald Trump's name. No. On north critically if the administration be what it is is another important piece of evidence. That Mueller will have to consider. As he's working his way through this but a lot of what we at least if what's reported is accurate wreck always looking at now is all. Obstruction and other issues that happened post. Any alleged collusion that went on. I'm working go on I happen have always believed there did there wasn't any but it doesn't matter at this point that the special counsel looking at. An end my view on it is that the newness matters only Tuesday another piece of evidence. That the special counsel should be considering when deciding you know who charged in this matter for anyone. Hum or when to close the investigation. And we need to see the democratic response to a T think that needs to be declassified for a part of that it full consideration of the of the evidence. I don't know that it really matters but at this point since the Republican one's been declassified I wouldn't object of Democrat or being declassified. But I don't know that's again necessary because I would presume that special counsel could have access to if you want to too. Through either cooperative agreement with with a house worth who's been. So uttered it switching gears entirely yours another deep Sherman's article looking at some. From the palace intrigue here at the White House and 11 quote jumped out at me. He quote somebody close to the president speaks when regularly. A house is the president's not happy with his current team in a minute here's the quote. He's saying he should have put Rudy at state and Chris Kristi it justice. So let me ask you'll thought experiment how would this first year of the trump presidency of looked. If Rudy Giuliani was the secretary of state and Chris Christie was the attorney general. Well it would be different. I guarantee. A understatement. And I think you know listen. I had enough that if in favor Rex Tillerson so I don't want this to be taken as. And he criticism for expert review is is that the proportionality and brings different experience Stewart and I think Rudy would be really good secretary of state. So. An and I certainly expressed that to the president electric line. When I was involved in that as chairman of the transition. As far as myself like who you talk about myself I think John. Those people who watched me. BD US attorney futures for seven years. Have a pretty good idea how I would conduct myself as general. And so it's certainly have been different we're very different personalities. Read Giuliani Chris Chris you're very different personalities than. On Rex Tillerson Jeff Sessions would you take that job now Florida pummeled them who you know idol I don't expect he offered the job corporate. So I want it's I wanna take. Take you back 08 days president gives the CDs press I think. Pretty that's eternity in this yet about a long time already exactly days so you were on our Aaron talking about the president now and I think he got pretty good reviews all around. What happened since Dan. What happened in in the next week and a day. Will what happens is kind of what unfortunately office happened. In the last year which is we get distracted from the substance. By personality issues and and what I would call a referral issues I can through the newness memo peripheral issue right to the state of the union. And so you get distracted by that now or we're start we're distracted by. The allegations against Rockport staff secretary at the White House and so instead of spending all this week. Which in traditional White House's would've been gone. I talked with state of the union and the high points of speech and there were a number of from a fought. For the president where it's that spending her time talking about Devin Nunez sin and his memo. And worth the spend our time talking about you know rob Porter and his previous personal life and the president calling Democrats on American for not for not applauding yet regularly listens at. I know the president yo for a long time. Yeah sometimes people just take some of the things he says. I think to literally into seriously. This in the deaths in the end he spurs United States now but he's the guy from queens. And be a guy from Jersey I can understand guys from queens. We're not Brothers but were I cousins. And you know they tend to be a little bit hyperbolic and and all the rest of that speech and a little bit dramatic during the present is clearly that. And so the Dow part which is kind of makes me laugh I don't. That the president thinks Democrats are really un American or do you think that's their efforts speech I don't think he thought was treasonous I think. Much more likely he just in like it. And you know having given eight Steve's Steve speeches you know after awhile you used to the Democrats not stand for him it's okay. You look at wasn't treasonous. It wasn't on American but it was odd you know I I've been in a lot of the state of the union addresses in it was strange to watch I was actually in the chamber. You saw. The president come in and dated applauded when he when he when he was announced when he was when he came in the room needed to plot at the end of the speech that ran to the exits. It's just it even for partisan state of the union response is that that that was a little bit odd. Agreed. By the way and I said that on our broadcast afterwards you know people be critical of the president had unified the room. Lamar responses to fold and what's that night first days here's nothing could have said that would have made those people stand up. The aryan. War time 2018 mid term footing. And that's what they're gonna do their their current dispute battle until November every team with this guy and they reckon we give them an inch. And secondly remember something he wasn't talking to that room. He was talking to rest of the country and when you look at. Where his approval ratings of Constance then when you look at the polls that have been done on on what people thought the speech. It was a good speech the rest of the country even if it did unify that room. But let me let me ask you brought up the rob Porter situation. When it your sense of how. The White House handled this bulls before it became public game and now that it's been public. We you know he was given a very important job in this White House ms. weren't one of them deem most critical positions staff secretary. We we we know that. Both of his ex wives had had talked to the FBI. And that there'd been around they're better restraining order against him you know several years ago was was was their failure. In vetting and then once all this came public including the photographs of of his of his first wife you know. With black eyes. Did you do the White House is still kind of saying. They're saying he's resigned but he's gonna stick around for a transition and he's a great guy and and Kelly just yesterday was talking about how he was. So honored to you know as he's been honored to serve them and the what kind of message are they sending them. Well it's John I think first before you know he's resigned. And in but he still here we still are glad I understand but he's resigned. And that is a move that brings disgraced your name. And your reputation. Because he resigned voluntary it's clear. That he was forced to resign given the circumstances so. Let's get the results first and foremost and secondly it's a huge gap I mean if you've got somebody there they did not know. About these things before they employed him and that's a failure that it is they come during the transitional. When you don't you know we didn't we didn't. That White House staff at that stage in the re election states. Our vetting was once. Really focused on cabinet and sub captain. And we felt the White House staff could wait till there was chief of staff this news by the president. And then that person would really take the lead and then we'd bet people. That that chief of staff sent to us to be considered so we can get into it Porter certainly I mean the camera for cabinet. But if dated notes failure that. And I think every people forget is. When you work in a place like that winner to State Council White House. People can't personally very very close. And your you feel like you're kind of in a battle and war together your foxhole. And they tend to always want to give those people were in the foxhole to benefit of the doubt. And so any of part of which probably saw with the reaction that general Kelley gave in at some the other folks. But in the end. They made a result. And so the fox opened last all that all. Com and and it and I think probably appropriately so. Giving the pictures that we saw on all the grass that mean. There's no way that any White House or any other employer. Can countenance the mass the violence. And if in fact. You know these women have got restraining orders and other things that are willing to go on the record say it. While that does it mean for certain that mr. Porter is guilty. It certainly raises enough of a concern that if Europe position like that. You prop you need to go and so I think Jonathan. In this part of wayward ex sometimes weren't fair to people in public life such as the president but but lots of folks. You know if they get to the right result. We're critical of the process on how they got there. If they don't get to the right result for critical of that and the process and mean. If you get to the right result ultimately which I think was gotten to here with rob Porter resigns. Big duty to get some credit for that and then if there needs to be examination now in retrospect of the process which should be. I'm then we should examine that they celebrity know why he was in the top news and beacon. Military parade on Pennsylvania Avenue thumbs up with them that this idea I don't care. I mean I really really don't care like and why do it I mean it's gonna cost taxpayer dollars it's going to be chew streets might get the chance to choose like. If you ask me I mean what are those good your bad idea I don't really care. About whether we have the appropriate we don't. An IV it's one of these things where will spend a couple of days now. In a lot on TV radio and podcasts like this and others about it. When in the end the American people marker here when word on where happens or doesn't happen so I don't it was governor you wouldn't you know it you wouldn't what have a military parade yet. I never had won't I was governor the National Guard and I miss you know traders he for the New Jersey National Guard. We only had those we I reviewed the troops once a year every year. In seeker at the National Guard headquarters. Our review troops once a year and a nineteen gun salute a lot of fun at but we evaporates noble we did have reviewed the troops every year. So that was something that police minors that was required me to do his commander in chief. So you know if if the if the president decides he wants them a parade. It's his call he's the president. Would make me feel either much better about him or much worse. No moral. No matter. Right before you go we we we got to ask you did there have been talk about you again having having them you know morning show and WFA and sports half. So what what what what we see some in this near future we gonna see you doing doing some. To have some sports commentary I don't want to John I've left who but I will fix. Well what about an hour later and later diehard cowboys and I those die Carl by the way the only guy let auditor cowboys and Mets fans are used on Carl that's why we commit acts of anti. I'm racism. America's team werewolf American. Hooked up. How did you take the Super Bowl did you. You know where were you got a lot of obviously Eagles fans in in Jersey right life Eagles are of African Eagles who are an anchor. We're Bagger free years as you know John by beating countless fans and they you know and listen. I am happy for eagle fans. Because. Previous to this theory angriest most miserable fans in America at a and so Natalie happy just most miserable plans right now they are happy select I want the to sway their parade tomorrow there's a radar and get behind you know. If your team wins the super ball use you have a parade. And so BO have a parade down broad street tomorrow. I hope whoever's OK I hope they have a great time over millions of people there I I'd root for tiger team on Sunday. I just watched the game and it was good game to a game. But I was not encumbered by eighty Marie interest. I'm not pats fan I'm clearly not the Eagles fan and so up at a woman come up to be. Oh times in over the weekend she says you know governor Kamal you've got to root for the Eagles mice that are obvious question illegals their rights the yes it. If the cowboys were in the Super Bowl which you refer to cap which is now the wanna I have to root for the Eagles. So I'm happy for eagle fans that. There'd be the cloak of failure. That has hung on them since 1960. Has been lifted. And that's great for him are thrilled for them but you know. I had no routing its response on that has watched the game and finally an honest answer that was all about ego does it right governor Chris Christie thank you for joining the powerhouse politics welcome ABC we'll talk to you again soon have will be part of received John thank you great great to have you here.
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