Not 'politically viable' for Trump to pardon Stone if convicted: Chris Christie

On “This Week,” former New Jersey governor and ABC News contributor Chris Christie discusses his new book “Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics.”
8:57 | 01/27/19

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Transcript for Not 'politically viable' for Trump to pardon Stone if convicted: Chris Christie
Trump for president of the United States. America must have a strong leader again that can restore American jobs, that can restore American confidence, and Donald Trump is just the man to do it. Chris Christie leaves the presidential race and endorses Donald Trump back in 2016. He join us now, author of the new book "Let me finish: Trump, the kushners, Bannon, New Jersey and the power of in-your-face politics." That is quite a title. I want to talk about a lot of items in the book, but let's begin. We just heard from Roger stone and Adam Schiff. You heard Roger stone say, this is a thin indictment. And it's not. I mean, you know, the fact of the matter is that every white collar defendant in this circumstance when they are confronted with a bunch of documents of their own making try to say that they're out of context. If I had a nickel for every time I had a defendant when I was an attorney it was out of context, I would be a rich guy and I'm not. The fact is that, you know, he has got a problem because they have got all these e-mails and text messages that he created that tell a pretty clear story and I think it's going to be very difficult for a jury to listen to that and conclude that it wasn't what he was trying to do. So he says he hasn't discussed a pardon with president trump. Does he need one? I think if he decides to go to trial, he is in very, very grave danger. Everybody is presumed innocent, George, and so is he, but the indictment is a pretty damning indictment. And is it viable for president trump to pardon Roger stone? I don't think so. I don't think pardons in this instance are viable politically. Politically viable, but legally he has the right to do it, but I think politically -- and I think the president, listen. It's one of the things that comes through in the book. The president understands the limits of politics. He is understanding it even more, and I think he knows that those kind of pardons would not be politically viable. One other thing that also comes through in the book, we put it in the program. Six of the associates have been charged now, all been cited for false statements and one thing you write in the book is one of the problems of his presidency. He surrounds himself with riffraff. He is talking about grifters, weaklings convicted and unconvicted felons. That's quite a list. Who are you referring to? In the book, I go through a number of folks who didn't belong there. When you have a white house where omarosa Manigault is in the white house, I don't know what she was supposed to be doing, but that's not the kind of person when we put together the transition that we want to surround the president with, and I think the core of the book talks about the idea that this president was so ill-served by the decision made by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner and Rick Dearborn to throw out all the work that was done -- Jared Kushner fired you. Well, that's what I was told by Steve Bannon. Okay. Steve Bannon physically fired me as we described in the book, but when we had the conversation about where was this coming from because it came out of the blue two days after the election. Steve said very clearly that this was, as we put it, quote/unquote, the kid. You were concerned about Mike Flynn. He pled guilty as well, and you were talking about the intelligence briefing back in August of 2016. You and Mike Flynn went with the president, the candidate's first intelligence briefing. You said there -- you called Flynn a Russian lackey and said he was off the rails in the meeting. You are circumscribed to what you can talk about, but isn't it fair for anyone to conclude from that briefing on, the Russians were trying to interfere in our elections? I can't talk about the specifics of what went on in that briefing, but then-candidate and now president came out of that with some concerns about Mike Flynn because his conduct in that meeting was completely outrageous for a staff person. He was, you know, up rating. He was demeaning them. He was interrupting them. I felt like as a staff person there for the candidate, you were there to take notes, to listen and then to talk to him about it afterwards. What we thought was important and what more we needed to know. We will not talk about the substance of those briefings. They are secure, but what I can say is I talked to the president then after that meeting and said, listen. This guy, Flynn, just does not belong close to you. He is a problem, and it culminates with the last conversation we had right after the election where I said to the president, I don't think you you should make him national security adviser. He said, you just don't like him and I said, you're right. You know why? He said, why? I said, he's going to get you in trouble. You talk about a speech he gave during the campaign. I want to show a snippet of it. It was about you. So Chris who is a friend of mine, he hit me hard and I said, I have to hit him at least once. I won't do this a lot. But look. Here's the story. The George Washington bridge, he knew about it. He knew about it. He knew about it. Totally knew about it. You write in the book that that was totally invented, that sound bite and the president said you knowingly lied. If he knowingly lied about you, a friend, why should the country take his word? Listen. George, you have been involved in political campaigns before and you will not be stunned to know there are times candidates lose control, they get angry and they say things that aren't true. This is not breaking new ground for Donald Trump. Isn't there a pattern here? You're asking me about this. You're asking me about this instance, so let me be clear about this instance. I had just gotten endorsed by the Manchester union leader and Mr. Trump was upset about that. He wanted that endorsement. He tried hard to get that endorsement and I got it and it was right after that, he did it and right after that speech, the next day, Corey Lewandowski called my campaign manager and he said, listen. I have spoken to the candidate. He doesn't want to do that stuff anymore. He knows he was out of bounds and he didn't do it again after that. I attribute that, and I tell that story to let people know. There are times when the president knows he has made a mistake and he is willing to back off. This idea he is stubborn is not true. You also know it's not an isolated incident. We just put up six people around him who have been charged with false statements and "The Washington post" has documented some 8,000 false statements. I don't know about all those. Let's say it's half that. 4,000 as president. Isn't that a crippling quality for president of the united States? I think the president is -- and I have said this as a member of the panels that we have here. The president's a salesman and he uses at times rhetoric that is overblown, but that's the way he has always been, and the fact is when he gets down to making decisions, I have always had a pretty good deal of confidence in this president's ability to do that and be objective about it. What I outline, garbage in, garbage out, and in the problem, especially at the beginning, they were just not suited to be there, and when you get the advice from the people in the executive orders from the beginning, Steve Bannon and others writing on the back of an envelope, not vetted by those in the white house counsel's office. When you do that kind of stuff and you have people who you think can be rogue actors like that, that ill serves the president and that got him off to a really bad start in that regard. It drove me crazy because I knew we had a plan for him that would have gotten him off to a good start with good people. And as I said, you also say a lot of positive things about the president in there. You talk about some of his defects as one and I want to talk about the shutdown. You say he acts and speaks on impulse and doesn't always grasp the inner workings of government. Which are the different intricacies of the inner world. He trusts people he shouldn't, including some of the people closest to him. Is that acting on impulse what wept wrong during the shutdown and how does he fix it now? I believe it is. I believe, you know, he nor the people around him developed an end game to that. If you are going to close the government, you have to have an end game on how you get out when the moment is ready to get out with a way that is faith for you and other people. As far as I could tell there was no plan to tell that. That's an impulsive decision on his part, but also the people around him and how does he get out now? He hits the reset button. He is the president of the United States. Okay. Now you have three weeks to hit the reset button. Come up with a plan that you think is sellable and winnable for the country and for you politically. I could tell you. Everybody counts Donald Trump out as always being wrong. He has a great ability to be able to recover from things because he is strong, and I say in the book, he's fearless. I mean, he's fearless in a way that I have seen few people in politics be fearless, and those are all good points, but when you act on impulse and don't have a plan sometimes as I think what happened with the shutdown, it doesn't end well. Thank you for joining us. This book is called "Let me finish."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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