Former Gov. Chris Christie on President Trump telling @GStephanopoulos he’d be open to accepting political dirt on opponents from foreign governments: “Let’s be clear. You can’t take that information from a foreign agent. It’s against the law” https://t.co/0dZzGR9EUZ pic.twitter.com/IaRtphwRFb
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 16, 2019
President Donald Trump caught some attention when he insisted it was okay to take political dirt from foreign governments, and that he would accept it if offered. He said his FBI Director Christopher Wray was “wrong” about opposing such a thing, and he insisted (without providing substantiated details) that it was a normal practice among congressmen. Now former leading campaign member Chris Christie is arguing that POTUS truly but mistakenly believes this.
“One of the things you have to understand about Donald Trump is that most of the time when he’s emotional, like he was in that interview–and you can see a number of times he was emotional–he’s saying absolutely what he really thinks,” said Christie on Sunday’s episode of This Week. “He does think that people take this dirt from foreign governments all the time.”
He said Trump had never been involved in politics before, but business. Things that may be okay in business wouldn’t be acceptable for public officials who take an oath of office, he said.
“But let’s be clear: You can’t take that information from a foreign agent,” he said. “It’s against the law.”
In fact, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. skirted federal prosecution for his infamous 2016 meeting a Russian lawyer to solicit dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller said it would’ve been too hard to reach a conviction because they would have to prove that any defendant acted “knowingly and willfully” under the law. From their report:
Even assuming that the promised “documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” constitute a “thing of value” under campaign-finance law, the government would encounter other challenges in seeking to obtain and sustain a conviction. Most significantly, the government has not obtained admissible evidence that is likely to establish the scienter [Intent or knowledge of wrongdoing] requirement beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove that a defendant acted “knowingly and willfully,” the government would have to show that the defendant had general knowledge that his conduct was unlawful.
Trump has called the Mueller investigation a politically motivated “witch hunt,” and grated against the idea of his son facing charges.
[Screengrab via ABC]