Former Governor of New Jersey, 2016 Presidential Candidate and author of "Let Me Finish", Chris Christie , spoke with Brian Kilmeade about Michel Cohen's testimony, the upcoming fight between Congress and the Southern District of New York over witnesses testifying against the President, why Hilary Clinton continuing to speak out helps President Trump and why it is stupid for the President to lie about having anything to do with Jared Kushner getting a security clearance when he has the authority to do so.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX RADIO ANCHOR: Let's bring in Governor Christie. Governor Christie's book is a big hit, not surprising, I thought it was great, it's called "Let Me Finish." And if you want to find out a perspective from inside and outside the administration for a man that knew President Trump when he was businessman Trump it is Chris Christie, Governor welcome back.
FORMER GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, NEW JERSEY: Sure.Thanks Brian.
KILMEADE: First off, on that last one with do you believe that there was more to tell behind closed doors with Adam Schiff's committee, you roll your eyes.
CHRISTIE: I roll my eyes just because Lanny Davis is not somebody who I'm going to go to the bank with on credibility. So, let's see what happens. I just tell you, I've said all along that I never seen any evidence of collusion with the Russian government and I was involved with the campaign in 2016. I think the President's right on this one and I would be surprised if there was anything that was monumental. I think Lanny Davis just likes being on T.V.
KILMEADE: I want you to hear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez which she said...
CHRISTIE: Oh boy.
KILMEADE: ...at the end with her series of questions rapid fire to Michael Cohen. I think this is what you're talking about, let's listen.
(BEING AUDIO CLIP)
OSACIO-CORTEZ: To your knowledge did the President ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?
OSACIO-CORTEZ: Who else knows that the President did this?
COHEN: Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.
OSACIO-CORTEZ: And where would the committee find more information on this? Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them?
COHEN: Yes, and you'd find it at the Trump Org.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: So, when you heard that, some say that's a trial to further investigate.
CHRISTIE: Sure, he was dropping names rapidly to give the House Committee a rational for more subpoenas. And I think everyone of those people that he just named are going to wind up having a subpoena from this House Committee.
KILMEADE: So they cooperate?
CHRISTIE: Well, they all Fifth Amendment rights so it's going to get very interesting Brian. I've seen this on Fox & Friends this morning as you know, this is going to be a fight now between the southern district of New York and the Congress because if you remember back to the Oliver North days, Congress gave Oliver North immunity to testify about Iran-Contra. Then they forget to prosecute Oliver North and he won on appeal because he said no wait I have immunity for these things and you guys are wrong you can't prosecute me and he won. So, the southern district is going to want none of these people to go testify until they're done with them. The Congress is going to want another show as quickly as possible, so I think you're going to see a big fight between the House Democrats and the southern district of New York.
KILMEADE: What does that - what does these things have to do with the President of the United States? Inflation of insurance and...
CHRISTIE: Well what they're trying to say is that the President engaged in insurance fraud. Now, right now this is Michael Cohen's word for which we know is not extraordinarily good. Now he provided some documents but I think the documents were definitive for what I saw to prove anything. Listen this is what you have to do with a guy like Michael Cohen if you're a prosecutor. You've got to corroborate him independently because on the stand he'll be a train wreck, no one will believe him given his history. So, you've got to give independent corroboration either through other witnesses and or through documents.
KILMEADE: If you're the southern district but are you going to do that if you're Elijah Cummings? Focus on the President's life before he won? That had nothing to do with his campaign in many cases.
CHRISTIE: Well it had nothing to do with over seeing the government which is what the name of the committee is.
CHRISTIE: But listen, I told the President this a long time ago, if the democrats ever take over the House, they're going to investigate everything about you. Everything and it's not to say it's right, it's not right, but I will tell you this is not unexpected. They've been waiting two years to have at this President because they hate him, it's that simple.
KILMEADE: I think I'm getting that vibe and they were very dismissive of Bush too, they mocked his intellect and they all those things although there was a bipartisanship right after 9/11 for a brief period of time. But I keep going back to this, I don't have the burden of legal degree so I'm just saying Governor if I'm the CFO of the Trump organization and I say well I would like to see if you committed insurance fraud, I would like to see if you inflated, deflated in order to pay inflated income to pay less taxes. I would like to see if you gave Deutsche Bank the correct background information in order to get a loan. If I'm him, the CFO, I'd go what does that have to do with the President of the United States? Why do you care? I would - if you're my lawyer, If I'm the CFO and I have an attorney why am I going?
CHRISTIE: Well the only reason your going is because you're being compelled to go by a subpoena and you're only defense to doing it Brian is to claim the Fifth Amendment. Is the claim that some of the statements you might make could have a tendency to incriminate yourself criminally and then you can refuse to answer the questions.
KILMEADE: Well what does that lead you to?
CHRISTIE: Well that leads you too everybody thinking you're guilty, right? So, it's a very difficult position and Michael Cohen put all of those guys, especially Allen Weisselberg in a very, very bad position yesterday. So it makes Cohen a bad guy among other things.
KILMEADE: Right, it makes Cohen a bad guy and I'm also seeing the term rat. You hear Elijah Cummings closing remark when he talked about being a rat in prison and what have you. He also said at the end of this that there are multiple investigations in the southern district of New York.
KILMEADE: Do you have any idea what they are?
CHRISTIE: I don't, but that's the thing that I said yesterday would be the thing that sent a chill up my spine if I were sitting there. Michael Cohen said two things, that he's in constant contact with southern district and that he believes there are other crimes that the President was involved in but he can't discuss them because he's been asked by the southern district not to. That - there may be valid it may not be but the fact that the southern district is looking at every aspect of the President's life and has Michael Cohen and Rick Gates as tour guides is an uncomfortable situation.
KILMEADE: See Gates I don't - Gates came in with Manafort, knows about what's happening internationally, I think we both agree our gut tells us and for the research, it's been plentiful, I've read every single book that came out. If there's no Russian connection, what could Gates do?
CHRISTIE: The only thing Gates could do is the inauguration. Now, if there were irregularities Rick Gates was the executive director of the inauguration and he's been very cagey about what happened at the inauguration and there's been some allegation of missing money. So, I think what you'll see Gates focusing on is not the Manafort related stuff but I think you'll see them trying to focus Gates on building a case against someone at the inaugural. Now that one I think you wouldn't be able to go anywhere near the President because I can't imagine the President was anywhere involved in the details of his own inauguration.
KILMEADE: Right, so why do it?
CHRISTIE: Oh, because their view is if there's that criminality that occurred we have to prosecute it. And they've got a cooperating witness who presumably and this is all presumably, wants to help them. If that's the case, they're going to chase it down and see if there were people in the inaugural committee who committed crimes.
KILMEADE: I want you to hear what Mark Meadows said about what he learned from Michael Cohen, cut eight.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MARK MEADOWS: Here's the interesting thing, Jim Jordan and I have put forth a letter today sighting six ways that Michael Cohen has contradicted himself and perhaps committed perjury and so we've committed that and sent that to the new Attorney General for a criminal referral to have them look at it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KILMEADE: So a couple of those things, he said he wanted to go the White House, he said he didn't, he lied because we have him on tape talking to Chris Cuomo.
KILMEADE: We just played that and number two is the other thing he said about international business that he was with a Ukrainian bank and maybe another client and he did not list that and he didn't go get that whole, oh what is that agreement that you have to go through?
CHRISTIE: A farer.
KILMEADE: The farer agreement, which if it's not a big deal why are you going after Manafort for it?
CHRISTIE: Well I think part of the problem is that for Cohen he may have been doing different things than Manfort was doing. Manafort was clearly doing things that were funded by a foreign government. I don't know whether Cohen was or he wasn't, if he was doing stuff funded by foreign government he didn't do farer than he's in trouble. An addition on the lying about wanting a job in the White House, I can only tell you as Chairman of the transition, he never came directly to me but I heard from other people that he was talking to other people about wanting to be White House Chief of Staff.
KILMEADE: And I do wonder, I will ask the President this if I get a chance to talk to him, out of everyone he was loyal enough to be your guy with an office right next us for ten years, why didn't you bring him? And...
CHRISTIE: Well listen, I think you're now seeing why he didn't bring him. I think the President..
KILMEADE: Well then fire him.
CHRISTIE: Well I agree with you Brian, listen, this is the - you saw this in the book, my argument throughout the book is that the President has that time surrounding himself with people who are not nearly as good as he is and I don't understand why. And whether this is Paul Manafort or Rick Gates or Michael Cohen or Michael Flynn or Steve Bannon you know these people are not as good as the President and they have all gotten him in trouble.
KILMEADE: I played your sound byte 34 seconds long when you said the republicans are not defending him in real time when George Stephanopoulos came back to you said republicans are not defending him. And I thought to myself well how are you supposed to defend he's talking about things that only happened between them in many cases, where they would be no witnesses and he didn't even know the President when he was a businessman. And you give me an example Chris Christie would have defended him if you were Senator of a Congressman.
CHRISTIE: Well for instance, Michael Cohen said in his testimony there were two motivations for why they made the payments to Stormy Daniels, one was the campaign but the second one was to hide this information, these allegations from Melania. The President has said that Melania was the only reason that he wanted to do, well you can't bring a case against the President of the United States based upon your star witness saying that in fact he even lied to Melania in order to protect the President, right? That's not a crime and we should have been saying so, Mr. Cohen the President was so concerned about his wife finding out about these allegations that he asked you to lie to his wife. Right, get him to say yes and then you're killing off any type of prosecution the viability of any prosecution based upon this campaign finance argument. Secondly Michael Cohen said the President never directed him to lie to Congress but then he knew there's some kind of code that that's what the President was signaling for him to do, no one is going to believe Michael Cohen liar, cheater and thief that he was spoken to in code by the President of the United States. Donald Trump's a lot of things, he doesn't speak in code, you know exactly what he means when he says it, read his tweets.
CHRISTIE: Not a lot of code there.
KILMEADE: Yes, he's the bluntest man in America. All right, so you would have been good and now I get it.
CHRISTIE: Yes sir.
KILMEADE: I didn't see the follow up question on ABC even though we like WABC...
KILMEADE: ...because they carry our show. If you were on Fox & Friends I would have had the follow up question of what do you mean?
CHRISTIE: You would have.
KILMEADE: That's why I am so worthy of being maybe your sidey, I should be your side kick.
CHRISTIE: Or I yours, I mean you're the one with the great rated show both on radio and on television.
KILMEADE: I let that slip out.
CHRISTIE: I'm just aspiring buddy, I'm just aspiring.
KILMEADE: By the way, you've got to get the Governors book if you want to know from a professional political prospective what it was like going up against the President as a governor who was in the primaries. Also, what it was there during the transition and in and outs since and has spoken to the President. When we come back the President's reaction to your book and what the Governor could be doing next.
KILMEADE: That was Hillary Clinton, she's sticking around...
CHRISTIE: Oh thank God please.
KILMEADE: Governor Chris Christie's here, Chris, Governor should I just eliminate the fact that she's going to run again?
CHRISTIE: She's not going to run, she's not going to run but what we have to hope is as republicans is that she keeps talking. Because the more she talks the better it is for Donald Trump.
KILMEADE: Quick thing, do you talk to the President about your book?
KILMEADE: And what did he say?
CHRISTIE: He said I like it, you're great to me.
KILMEADE: He said that?
CHRISTIE: Uh huh.
KILMEADE: So, when he put out that general statement because Coach Simms book came out around the same time, where you wondering uh oh, he might be a little ticked off?
CHRISTIE: I called right away.
KILMEADE: You did?
CHRISTIE: Yes, he said not about you.
KILMEADE: And the fact is you do take Jared, his son in law who he clearly likes to task?
CHRISTIE: I - listen, what I do is I tell the stories Brian. You'll notice in the book I don't characterize him in any way, I just tell the stories of what happened and I let the leaders decide.
KILMEADE: Did you hold back in order to keep the relationship?
CHRISTIE: No, no. Now, there's something's as in any book that you can edit out or that you don't tell because their personal in nature. This is not a tell all book as you know from having read it, it's a book that tries to get people a window into what it's like to be a Governor, to run for President and to be a leader on a presidential campaign. This is not meant to be some tell all like the (inaudible) book or others, where you tell personal things about friends, that's to me is not worthy of a book.
KILMEADE: Did it surprise you that it looks like memos exist, if it is in fact true, that Jared Kushner's security clearance and Ivanka's was pushed through by him?
CHRISTIE: It doesn't surprise me, it's unfortun - the only unfortunate as I said I before, the President has the absolute right, legal right, to give security clearance to whoever he wants. The only problem is you've got to tell the truth about it and he denied that he had anything to do with and his daughter denied that he had anything to do with it. And if these memos turn out to be real then they didn't tell us the truth and that's just, it's stupid, why do that? Why do it?
KILMEADE: Hillary Clinton kind of calls you out like this, cut 34.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: Well I am stunned, I am stunned, I really miss John McCain for all of his curmudgeonly ways. He was willing to stand up and take on Trump and I'll never forget him voting against the effort to appeal the affordable care act. These other republicans are scared.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Are they scared?
CHRISTIE: No, they support the President from a policy perspective and by the way really interesting for her to be saying this. Without one democrat raised her voice while her husband was in the middle of impeachment having had sex with an intern outside the Oval Office and then lied about it under oath and not one democrat stood up against her husbands and she called it a vast right wing conspiracy as if it never happened. So, by Hillary Clinton it's not a credible messenger on political courage.
KILMEADE: Right, and I think a lot of people...
CHRISTIE: And by the way she killed John McCain in 2008 excoriated him both in the primary and in the general election when she was running in the primary supporting Barrack Obama to general. So crocodile tears now that he's gone.
KILMEADE: He does do something the present, he picks up the phone will talk to Congressman, he'll talk to Senators, he'll inquire about them. He makes them feel important.
CHRISTIE: He's fearless to Brian, he's fearless, whatever he needs to do to succeed he will do.
KILMEADE: Oh, he's in for a big PR campaign.
CHRISTIE: You bet Brian.