- Chris Christie defended special counsel Robert Mueller amid attacks from President Donald Trump and his allies as the Russia investigation heats up.
- The New Jersey governor and former Trump transition official suggested attacks on Mueller are misguided, because the special counsel could eventually exonerate the president.
- Trump supporters have escalated their criticisms of Mueller and the Russia investigation at large in recent weeks after it was revealed that one of the prosecutors on Mueller’s team expressed what were seen as anti-Trump sentiments in text messages with an FBI lawyer.
Chris Christie, one of President Donald Trump’s close associates and a member of his transition team, defended special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the US election.
“I believe he’s an honest guy and I believe he’s going to try to do a good, honest, fair, just job,” Christie said of Mueller during an interview that aired Tuesday night on MSNBC. Christie made the comment when asked to respond to accusations that the Russia investigation is biased against the president.
“Bob Mueller is a good man who I think will try to do the right thing by this investigation but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect,” Christie added, pointing to text messages between an FBI agent and an FBI lawyer that indicated a possible bias against Trump. The agent, Peter Strzok, had worked on the Clinton email investigation and eventually joined Mueller in the Russia probe, but has since been removed.
“By allowing folks into the investigation who can be charged, based upon their own words, with having a bias towards Mrs. Clinton or against President Trump, that’s an issue,” Christie said.
Watch a portion of the interview below:
"Bob Mueller is a good man who I think will try to do the right thing by this investigation but that doesn't mean he's perfect" – Chris Christie tells @NicolleDWallace on #DeadlineWH pic.twitter.com/uJCFhCdJok
— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) December 19, 2017
Trump himself has publicly criticised the FBI, Mueller, and his team of prosecutors. His assertions that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters” and the “worst in history” were seen by critics as an attempt to discredit Mueller ahead whatever findings they may reach once the federal probe into Russia’s interference is complete.
Among other things, federal investigators are trying to determine the extent of Russia’s intervention in the 2016 US presidential race, which they believe was part of an effort to help get Trump elected. Prosecutors are also trying to determine whether anyone on the Trump campaign wilfully cooperated with the Kremlin.
Additionally, Mueller is said to be pursuing an obstruction of justice inquiry over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the president’s alleged attempts to get the FBI to back off of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to charges and is now cooperating with Mueller.
Trump and people close to him who have landed in Mueller’s crosshairs have denied any wrongdoing.
Christie suggested Trump and his allies’ attacks on Mueller and the FBI are shortsighted: “I think they think, well, if we discredit him, then anything that happens will be discredited,” Christie said, “… this could turn out that Mueller exonerates the president. You don’t want to discredit the guy who might in fact exonerate you.”
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