Chris Christie is on what some are calling a rehabilitation tour. The combative Republican former governor of New Jersey is hawking his new book, “Republican Rescue” on all the major news networks, trying to position himself as an alternative to Donald Trump as he anoints himself the savior of the Republican Party.
Christie, who left office with a dismal 14 percent approval rating despite (or because of) having others in his way to distance himself from Bridgegate, somehow having escaped any legal ramifications over his management of Hurricane Sandy funds, and after trying to slough off Beachgate, for a short time tried to be less “Christie”-like. But that softer persona disappeared this week, especially late Tuesday afternoon when he stepped on the set of MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” and sat down with host Nicolle Wallace.
It did not go well for him.
Here’s basically how it ended, with Wallace – a former Republican – stringing him up using his own words, saying: “You may or may not support Donald Trump in 2024. You may or may not run for president. And [your] book about liars and conspiracy theorists doesn’t have anything to say about Fox News.”
.@NicolleDWallace to Chris Christie: “You may or may not support Donald Trump in 2024. You may or may not run for president. And a book about liars and conspiracy theorists doesn’t have anything to say about Fox News.” pic.twitter.com/YNGknXdVae
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 16, 2021
Here’s what led up to that dénouement:
“You know the book is called – it’s about conspiracies and lies and you really don’t take on Fox News, why not?” Wallace asks.
She pounds him further on Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Christie says he doesn’t watch the right wing cable giant’s top show and “I don’t pay a lot of attention” to him.
Moments later, Wallace again pound Christie, telling him, “I don’t think it’s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.”
In typical Christie fashion he claps back, “Well, I, listen, then you can write that in your book.”
Not having it, Wallace retorts, “Well, I’m not trying to rescue the Republican Party.”
Seconds later, she presses him again on Fox News.
“I guess my question is you want to run for president, what’s your relationship with Fox News going to be?”
“Well first of all, I didn’t say I want to run for president. You said that. So let’s be clear about that,” Christie said, challenging Wallace.
“Well a lot of people have said that in the last few days – you haven’t corrected any of them,” she noted.
Wallace again goes back to Fox News.
“Do you think that Fox News in primetime is good for the country or bad?”
Christie basically refused to give a straight answer, knowing that if he wants to run for president he will need their support.
“Listen there are shows that I like in Fox News and shows that I don’t like.”
“You’re afraid to question the purveyors of conspiracy theories and lies?”
“But that’s your opinion,” Christie insisted, despite the fact that Fox News is a purveyor of conspiracy theories and lies. “You’re welcome to your opinion like everybody else in this country is welcome to your opinion. I don’t consider people like Sean Hannity, or Laura Ingram, purveyors.”
Heather Digby Parton, the highly-admired Salon writer who goes by the name Digby, shared her thoughts after the interview:
Nice to see Nicole Wallace push Chris Christie hard on his bullshit walking the line on right wing extremism.
He’s such a grotesque worm.
— digby (@digby56) November 16, 2021
Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali focused on Christie writhing away from Wallace’s questioning on domestic violent extremism (which does not appear in that clip.)
Chris Christie basically refuses to admit that white supremacist terror is the number one domestic terror threat in America right now on @DeadlineWH. Why is it so hard for Republicans to admit and confront this dangerous reality? You know the answer.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) November 16, 2021
Wallace had repeatedly asked Christie if he agreed with FBI Director Christopher Wray that domestic violent extremism is a top national security concern for America.
Christie’s response? “I don’t know” if Wray still thinks that.
“He testified about it in September,” Wallace replied.
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Morning Joe Reveals ‘Disturbing’ Talk With ‘Washington Fixture’ Who Wants to ‘Destroy Our Country’ to Save Trump
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough revealed a pair of “disturbing” phone calls he had this week with a friend and family member calling for the destruction of the U.S. government as investigators move closer to Donald Trump.
The FBI search of Mar-A-Lago has spooked the former president and enraged his supporters — which Trump has tried to use as leverage to reduce the heat on himself — and the “Morning Joe” host said that included some previously “boring” moderates who were now willing to destroy the constitutional republic rather than hold Trump accountable.
“If people want to understand the depths to which this anti-American sentiment is running in the Republican Party, I had two conversations yesterday,” Scarborough said. “One with a family member and one with a Washington fixture, since the days of Ronald Reagan. Both were talking about how the FBI was the gestapo and they needed to be stamped out, spoke of revolution, and the Washington fixture, a guy who I always considered to be a mainstream conservative, a guy who, in the past at least, expressed concerns about some of Donald Trump’s extremities, said to me, ‘Joe, we can replace the U.S. government.”
“It’s not about the government, it’s about an individual,” he added. “Here’s a guy that said we can throw away Madisonian democracy, we can throw away the Bill of Rights, we can throw away the Constitution. We can just get rid of a government that has fed and feeds more people, that’s liberated more people throughout history, that’s keeping the flames of freedom alive right now in Ukraine and in Central Europe, than any other country on the planet, and we can replace the U.S. government. That is the depths to which this cancer has spread among mainstream Republicans, and Liz Cheney is right. These people are angry, and they want to destroy our country — the country where we have democratic elections and the winners who get the most votes are recognized as the winners, and the losers concede to those winners, and Donald Trump has changed all of that now.”
Cheney, who until last year was the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House and had one of the most conservative ratings in Congress, lost her GOP primary to pro-Trump candidate Harriet Hageman after voting to impeach the former president and serving on the Jan. 6 Committee investigating his attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss.
“Well, the hatred and the animosity spewed towards [president] Joe Biden from these people I spoke to yesterday, said — they said, he’s a moderate — like boring guy from Delaware,” Scarborough said of his friend. “Like, he used do do this to [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], you used to do this to [Sen.] Bernie Sanders and used to do this to [House speaker] Nancy Pelosi, and now Joe Biden is the radical who is destroying them?”
“It’s just, it’s nonsense,” Scarborough added. “The problem is, it’s dangerous nonsense when they start talking about the FBI being the gestapo and how the FBI needed to be defunded and how the FBI needs to be wiped out, and how we can replace the U.S. government. That’s treasonous talk. Five years ago, that would be considered treasonous talk.”
Watch the video below or at this link.
Trump’s Weaponization of DOJ Notice to Pick Up His Passports Negates Claim He Will ‘Do Whatever’ to Tamp Down Anger
One week after the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago mansion Donald Trump on Monday made what appear to be false allegations against the FBI, claiming the Bureau “stole” his passports in “an assault on a political opponent.” That same day he gave an interview to Fox News repeatedly mentioning the “anger” he says stretches across the country over federal agents’ execution of a lawful search warrant and confiscation of 20 cartons of materials that include highly-classified documents, while wrapping that in an offer to “do whatever” to help.
Monday evening Politico reported that FBI agents had taken Trump’s passports – swept them up unintentionally. The passports were found by a “filter team” that goes through everything that was confiscated to ensure items like privileged attorney-client communications are not assessed or included as part of their investigation.
The FBI notified Trump’s attorneys they had the passports, telling them they could pick them up.
“So Trump team now publicizing this email,” from the Dept. of Justice, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports, “which shows: 1) DOJ obtained three passports (two expired, not one, as Trump said) and alerted Trump lawyers 2) They were recovered by a filter team, which weeds out privileged info. 3) Trump publicized this after DOJ offered them back.”
So Trump team now publicizing this email, which shows:
1) DOJ obtained three passports (two expired, not one, as Trump said) and alerted Trump lawyers
2) They were recovered by a filter team, which weeds out privileged info.
3) Trump publicized this after DOJ offered them back pic.twitter.com/lz8wneIQ0a
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 15, 2022
“Wow!” Trump declared on his Truth Social social media platform, after DOJ notified his lawyers and told them to pick up the passports. “In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else. This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
Meanwhile, on Monday in an exclusive Fox News interview, which appeared to be more a transcription of a statement into interview form with no questions asked and no pushback offered, Trump said he was willing to “do whatever” to help tamp down the anger across the country, anger he and his allies have been fueling.
The Dept. of Justice did not publicize the raid on Mar-a-Lago to the press, Trump did. FBI agents did not even wear the usual blue and yellow outerwear and shirts that say “FBI” when executing the search warrant, and we now know they called ahead to notify Secret Service they were coming.
“Former President Trump said he ‘will do whatever’ he can ‘to help the country,’” Fox News said in its interview Monday, “after the FBI’s raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last week, telling Fox News Digital that the ‘temperature has to be brought down,’ while stressing that the American people are ‘not going to stand for another scam.’”
“The country is in a very dangerous position,” Trump told Fox News. “There is tremendous anger, like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one—years of scams and witch hunts, and now this.”
“There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former president of the United States, and there is tremendous anger in the country—at a level that has never been seen before, other than during very perilous times.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Trump repeated. “It is a very dangerous time for our country.”
Fox News also reported that “Trump said he had his representatives reach out to the Justice Department to offer to help amid outrage over the FBI’s unprecedented raid on his private residence last week,” and he “told Fox News that his team ‘has not heard yet’ from the Justice Department on whether they will accept his offer for help.”
“People are so angry at what is taking place,” Trump added again. “Whatever we can do to help—because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”
Peter Strzok, former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, notes: “And it all resolves in a nothingburger. Small interesting note, the DOJ email confirms an expected filter team: that filter agents – not the investigative team – seized the passports. More proof FBI/DOJ are taking extra care to avoid privileged material.”
If Trump were interested in doing “whatever” he can do “to help the country,” why falsely claim the FBI “stole my three Passports” and call it an “assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country”?
Civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill answers that question.
“So while saying that the ‘temperature needs to be lowered,’ Trump was elevating the temperature by accusing the DOJ on social media of ‘stealing’ his passports, when in fact DOJ lawyers are the ones who alerted Trump that they had the passports & had already returned them,” Ifill wrote on Twitter. “Awful,” she added.
Garland’s ‘Beautiful Chess Move’ Praised as Judge Sets Expedited Schedule to Unseal Warrant
A federal judge has given Donald Trump until Friday at 3 PM ET to oppose the Dept. of Justice’s request to unseal the search warrant FBI agents used to enter Mar-a-Lago and confiscate possibly thousands of items including classified documents.
Many are cheering the Attorney General Merrick Garland who frequently has been the target of frustration on the left for appearing to not be acting expeditiously against Trump.
In what some have called a “beautiful chess move,” Attorney General Garland announced Thursday afternoon he has asked a federal judge to unseal the search warrant after Trump and his allies expressed outrage over the FBI’s Monday raid, and have been spreading agents planted evidence, a conspiracy theory that first appeared on social media but quickly made it to Fox News’ airwaves.
Many on the right have demanded Garland have the warrant unsealed.
Should Trump not oppose the unsealing the American people will likely be able to see what laws DOJ believes the former president violated.
Noted attorney Ken White on Twitter wrote: “By the way Trump could file something TODAY saying he doesn’t oppose unsealing the warrant and it would be public probably by tomorrow. Or he could just release his copy.”
The fact that the former president has not released his copy of the search warrant, which “is his right” as Garland noted Thursday, makes it more likely he will oppose DOJ’s motion to unseal.
One important note for those expecting an avalanche of information should the federal judge unseal the warrant.
“DOJ has asked to unseal the warrant and ‘Attachments A & B.’ Best I can tell from examples of recent federal search warrants, these attachments will describe the ‘property to be searched’ and the ‘particular items to be seized’ but will NOT include the affidavit of probable cause,” writes Harvard Law professor of criminal law and procedure Andrew Crespo.
“The government is not yet seeking to release what is known as the affidavit in support of the warrant,” The New York Times confirms, “a document that lays out all sorts of telling details about the larger investigation of Mr. Trump — chief among them the reasons prosecutors believed there was probable cause that evidence of a crime could be found at Mar-a-Lago.”
Many online are cheering Attorney General Garland’s decision to go head to head with Trump.
The Daily Beast’s Zachary Petrizzo writes, “merrick garland is out here playing 5d chess while trump & his team play checkers.”
USA Today opinion columnist Michael J. Stern summed up Garland’s action today:
“Merrick Garland to Trump: I’m going to let the world see the gobs of evidence we have that led to the search warrant…unless you object…in which case you will be signaling to the world that you have gobs to hide.”
This article has been updated with reporting from The New York Times.
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