Chris Christie on North Korea: 'If it goes bad, (Trump will) just blame Kim Jong Un'

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debate the week in politics, including talks with North Korea.
16:41 | 04/29/18

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Transcript for Chris Christie on North Korea: 'If it goes bad, (Trump will) just blame Kim Jong Un'
It is kind of crazy that the trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn't even in contact with Michigan. It's a direct flight. It's so close. That was comedian Michelle wolf at last night's white house correspondents' dinner. One of the few jokes we can play here this morning. We'll have more on the debate over her remarks. First, the powerhouse "Roundtable." Former New Jersey governor and ABC contributor Chris Christie. Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. Pollster and ABC contributor frank luntz. And Shannon pettypiece, the white house correspondent for Bloomberg news. We'll get to the dinner. Hur. But governor -- You bet we will, buddy. They're still blushing. We're headed towards an historic summit, assuming it happens, between president trump and Kim Jong-un. What do you think is going on in the president's mind on this? What does he actually think he can achieve in this first meeting? Listen, I think knowing him as well as I do, he thinks he can achieve it all. This is how he works. He began by being very rough on this guy. Name-calling. Tough sanctions. All the rest. This is the way this president was for all his years as a real estate developer in New York City. To be as tough as you can in the beginning. Then work to get a deal you can call a win. I think that's probably what his strategy is. Because that's what his strategy always is. I think -- now, whether it will work or not, we'll all get to watch and see. I'll tell you this much. I never thought I would live long enough to see Kim Jong-un and the president of South Korea hugging at the dmz. They were hugging. Holding hands. Stepped across the boundaries. Look, my dad served in -- Like macron and trump. That's right. This has been a long time coming. The Korean peninsula is a place that has been marked by not just a lot of violence but a lot of tension. There's no question that the president has a lot of work to do in preparing for this summit. We still don't know the location. The time. We do know that the south Korean president is making a lot of headway. That's good for us. Good for America. And that's what we should be -- but the president has a long way to go in preparing for the summit. Sure. Absolutely. There are risks here. That's why he's got 40% support. You think about every single day there's a negative trump story, yet he's at 40%. Job approval in the polls. It's because he does things nobody expects. This is a guy when you assume he's down and out, he always comes back. He doesn't get the credit for it. But he's getting among the American people. He's still getting this acclamation for doing something different. He does have this feeling of, people have told me all my life what I can't do. I can't do the impossible. He continues to try to do the impossible. Talking to people in the administration, I'm sure you hear this, as well. There is this cautious optimism. The sense that they're optimistic there is a possibility of peace. They're well aware they could be played here. That this could just be Kim stalling for time. That this could go very badly. So there is not any sort of naive pollyanna-ishness going on in the white house right now. In the administration. And throughout the state and defense department, they're aware of the risks and the potential. The bottom line though is if it goes bad, he'll just blame Kim Jong-un. It's not like he's a sympathetic figure. Who people go, oh, how could you blame him? This is a guy who has been awful to his own people in a family that has been terroristic in terms of conduct in the region and in their own country. It is risky, always, to go for the brass ring. This risk is less from a public perception for trump because if he swings and misses I guarantee you, it will be Kim Jong-un's fault. If Donald Trump walks away from the table because Kim Jong-un was being difficult. But from a national security standpoint. If this goes bad, will we really -- where does that leave us? How are we worse off than we are today? I mean, where we are today is, we have a nuclear North Korea, who is testing missiles. Threatening its neighbors. Threatening the United States. If this summit goes bad, we're back in the same spot he was left in by Obama. He's no worse off from a national security perspective. He's taking a risk. He may take hits if he misses. But I guarantee you -- But we have been dealing with the instability of North Korea for a long time. Bush administration, Obama administration, Clinton administration. We have all been trying to deal with three generations of kims. The question is you know, can the president go into the negotiations with a clear picture of what the united States needs to accomplish? And China remains a wild card. In all of this. We don't know what -- I want to know what China's thinking is as the two leaders meet for the first time? Do you seriously think -- really, that North Korea is not doing this because China is not pushing them? I'm clear they are. They're doing it. Quietly, but they're doing it. They're doing it. And there's a sense that China doesn't want to be cut out of this. China wants to be driving the talks. Very much involved in this. I think there's a concern that the U.S. And South Korea might be taking the lead and they'll be left to the side. I thought it was interesting. I asked secretary Pompeo twice, very directly. Will Kim get any rewards before the complete and total dismantling of the nuclear program and he didn't answer the question. It's smart diplomacy, Jon. Are they going to scale back sanctions? I remember vividly, at the end of the bush administration when Kim jong-il agreed to do away with their nuclear program. They imploded the cooling tourer. Power -- tower, at the nuclear facility. It was done. They had a secret -- They had a backup. They had a backup. You can't trust them. That's my view. You can't trust them. But at least the president should go in prepared to keep the sanctions and see what happens. Nobel prize? It's too early. They were chanting Nobel, Nobel in Michigan. He's achieved at least as much as president Obama did to get his Nobel. Let's be fair. If he gets something done here, he will. It will kill them over there in Oslo to have to hand it to him. If he does it, it resets the political dynamic, which trump desperately needs right now. The public is looking for something to cheer. They're looking for something good to happen. He should be at least applauded for trying. And I don't think that he's getting the recognition. I don't think, at this point, he's getting the recognition for just how significant this is. Sounds like he's getting recognition around here. Let's go back to the other thing going on back here. The investigation. I want to play something that the president said on "Fox & friends" one of the oddest interviews I think I have ever seen on a president on a morning show. You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it's a disgrace. And our justice department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point, I won't. Our justice department should be looking at that kind of stuff. Not the nonsense of collusion with Russia. First of all, before I ask you specifically about that, you talk to the president over the phone fairly often. Does he sound like that when you talk to him? He was yelling through a good chunk of that. It depends on the day. What does he mean? What does he mean when he says -- Listen, it's pretty clear here that you don't need to be a good friend of his to know that he's aggravated by this. In his soul he believes that there is no collusion between his campaign and Russia. He believes that. As a result, he's incredibly aggravated by all that is going on here. And everything that continues to go on. And that's what you're hearing expressed there. That's language I have said to him any number of times, you shouldn't use. You shouldn't say that the FBI is corrupt at the top. Given that you appointed the person at the top of the FBI. You appointed the attorney general. You pointed the deputy attorney general. I have urged him, if you really feel that way, then fire them. Because you can't have both. You can't say that and then not fire them. So I think -- but what underlies it is less the facts of what he's talking about than the emotion that he's feeling about, I didn't do this, we didn't do this. And why is this still going on? It doesn't justify it. That's what's driving it. The consequence is significant. The Republicans that used to be supporters of our criminal justice system are now hostile to it. The Democrats who are hostile find themselves supporting it. Not all of us, frank. The fear is that the American people don't trust the FBI. Don't trust the CIA. Don't trust the justice department. It is continuing like an acid to eat away at the confidence we have towards institutions that we absolutely have to maintain. It's dangerous. The American people distrust practically every institution right now. With good reason. But that should not fuel the president contempt for those who are doing their job, trying to get to the bottom of what happened in 2016. To discover whether or not these trump officials, many of whom have been under investigation, if they did collude with the Russians. If they did conspire to help the Russians with the dissemination of e-mails. With the hacking of the DNC. These are serious issues. This goes to the heart of who we are as a country and our democracy. And Mr. President, you're not above the law. He's frustrated. But so are many Americans. We want to make sure this doesn't happen again, frank. That's I think ultimately what the issue is. We went through the same thing during the Obama administration. The Hillary Clinton emails. All of that. I don't want to equate it. Right now, all of the institutions are under supreme attack. It is corrosive. We have to find a way. I don't say that we can. But we have to remove the politics from it and hold people accountable and personally responsible without trying to make it a witch hunt. You do have leadership doing that. I was talking to a criminal defense lawyer who said you know, if I had a case in Chicago completely unrelated to Russia. Let's say it's a drug trafficking case. All I have to do is go before a jury and say, well, we all know about the FBI and the issues we have with them right now. Just plant a seed. That's awful. There is an opinion starting to pervade the American public's psyche that you can't trust the FBI. That you can't trust the doj. Because of these attacks. That could be leveraged in so many unintended ways that have nothing to do with Russia. Because so much of what the FBI and the doj does has nothing to do with hacking and collusion. Let's talk facts. We have an FBI director now not running in front of every TV camera every time he wants his voice heard. Across the country. We have an FBI director who cleaned out the leadership that was there before and brought in his own leadership in a quiet and professional way. I think what you'll see from Chris WRAY is that kind of quiet, calm leadership. Most Americans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. And by the way, that's the way it should be with the FBI director. And, Jim Comey -- frank. I have said this to the president. I think he's wrong for not noting that. I know Jim Comey for a long time. I had great respect for him and worked with him. But this festival that he's holding over the last ten days for his book and his sanctimonious and self-righteous conduct contributes to what you're talking about. Because a guy who cares about law enforcement first doesn't run around doing the stuff that Jim's doing. And I like him. But I'm really disappointed with the way he's conducted himself. We tested Comey's appearances for "Nightline." What we found is, they want to believe him when they go in. But because he attacks trump's appearance. Because he cannot identify where he was on election day. And everyone knows where they were when they found out Donald Trump was being elected. And because of just the way he presents himself, he's hurting credibility rather than helping him. Well, 700,000 books later, or maybe 1 million books later. I gotta turn. We said we would. White house correspondents' dinner. My take here? Was that the comedian, Michelle wolf, went over the line. This was not the idea. This is not the intention. It's supposed to be celebrating the first amendment. Chris Christie. Governor Christie, you were there. I was there in the front row, baby. I saw you. Listen. I have been to a number of these, as you know. I have been a subject of a lot of the stuff over the course of the year. Right? You go in there and everyone knows where the line is. And last night, when you attack people's appearances. When you attack their character not their policies. And you do it repeatedly. I mean, one or two shots in, fine. But what she did last night to Sarah Sanders. What she did to kellyanne Conway. What she did to Ivanka Trump. I was struck. So was my wife sitting next to me. By the fact that this comedian, this female comedian spent more time beating up on women last night than she did on men. And I thought that was a fascinating part of her most vitriolic stuff. Personal stuff. The things she called those people last night. Like, listen. I'm from New Jersey. We're not sensitive. But last night was over the line. Donna? I'm from Louisiana. So I have heard some gutter talk in my life. It was racy. Okay. I watched it on CSPAN. And -- You were the one. Oh, hell, yeah. I love me some CSPAN. I watched it. It really -- but remember. We have no norms now. This is a president who has criticized women. Have called reporters some disgusting things. I don't know if there are any more lines anymore. That's unfair. Come on. This president has said raunchy things. We're talking about the comedian. Not the president. But frank, the president, at times, says things then he says, well, I'm just joking. I'm not defending her. I would use fresh material. But what I'm saying is that it was racy. It was -- it was right there. It was disgusting. And the fact is, it aired live on CNN on CSPAN. Yes, I watched it on CSPAN. There are 8-year-old kids watching this. They're watching the president of the United States, say some of the most disgusting and vile things. Are you telling me -- Jon, can I use the words she used yesterday on the air live? No. That's the point. If you can't say it -- you're going to have to pray a long time to get over last night. If you can't say those words on this show, you shouldn't say them at the white house correspondents' dinner. This wasn't the intention of the dinner. I think this is good for her career. Probably good for publicity. People are talking about it. That's what you want as an entertainer. As white house correspondents, in the trenches, the basement every day dealing with this, this was a dinner that was supposed to be about unity. It was a big step that the administration officials were allowed to come to the dinner this year. The president didn't come but having Sarah there sitting up on the dais with everyone, it was a baby step, but it was a step forward. It was to create unity. Talk about the first amendment. Freedom of speech. Don't invite comedians. You never know. Ray Romano performed. He was perfectly fine. Comedians have done it often. And done it well. Jon -- I could see it on the faces of you folks on the dais. Yeah, I was uncomfortable. You're responsible for it because your picked her. I'm not saying you knew everything she was going to say. And it's your fault. But I think it colors, it should color what happens next year. I think we have had all kinds of vetting problems in the town. Yes. The improper vetting of the -- entertainment. I think the white house correspondents' association now joins the list of people who didn't vet the way that they should have. Next year, a little racy ain't bad. We don't mind that. But, the really personal, mean-spirited attacks on people's appearance, we don't need that. As the gridiron says, singe, not burn.

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

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