Embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended President Donald Trump in a lengthy interview on Tuesday, and brushed aside concerns that Donald Trump Jr. attempted to collude with the Russian government during the 2016 election.
MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace read portions of emails between Trump Jr. and music producer Rob Goldstone, who helped arrange a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, and several Russians with ties to the Kremlin.
In the emails, Trump Jr. is told that the meeting would provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian effort to elect Trump. But Christie suggested Trump Jr. deserves a pass for agreeing to it because of his inexperience.
“The recipient of the information, Donald Trump Jr., who I know very well, is by no means a sophisticated political actor,” Christie said. ‘This is a guy who loves his father and got involved in politics because his father got involved, but I don’t think Don would have gotten involved at that level any other time.”
Wallace then asked the governor: “Can you agree that this is bungled collusion?”
“No I don’t, because I don’t know who Goldstone is,” Christie replied, adding that it could be considered “bungled collusion” if Goldstone had worked for the Russian government and “actually knew what he was talking about.”
An increasingly exasperated Wallace fired back:
“So for you the discrepancy is whether or not Goldstone’s information was good, not whether or not the son of an American candidate for president agreed to receive oppo from a hostile foreign power?”
Christie was a prominent Trump surrogate at the time of the 2016 meeting, and was with Trump at Trump Tower during the time of the meeting, though he denied knowledge of it.
Wallace then criticised Trump for defending the meeting and asserting that no collusion took place, to which Christie replied, “That’s our guy,” and “I’m proud he is the president.”
And when Wallace called Trump’s credibility into question, Christie continued his defence:
“He’s never lied to me. So I can only judge it based on that,” he said.