Christie: ‘Amaz­ing’ ouster of Ses­sions took so long

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - NEWS - By Kait­lyn Kras­selt kkras­selt@hearst­medi­act.com; 203-842-2563; @kait­lynkras­selt

For­mer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is on the short list to re­place At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, ac­cord­ing to news me­dia re­ports.

Christie spoke Wed­nes­day night at Fair­field Uni­ver­sity just hours af­ter Ses­sions was fired by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, and said Ses­sions’ de­par­ture was not sur­pris­ing in the wake of the midterms, when Democrats cap­tured con­trol of the House. Christie gave no in­di­ca­tion he might be un­der con­sid­er­a­tion as a re­place­ment.

“It’s amaz­ing it took that long,” Christie said. “The pres­i­dent has been beat­ing him up for months and months and months. It’s ob­vi­ous that Jeff and the pres­i­dent have not been get­ting along for quite some time. So I think it was re­ally just a mat­ter of the two of them agree­ing they didn’t want this to be a dis­trac­tion be­fore the midterms.”

Christie said that Ses­sions’ de­par­ture was easy to pre­dict.

“Now that the midterms are over, the pres­i­dent is go­ing to re­assem­ble his cab­i­net and this is the first one, I doubt it will be the last one,” he said. “I think ev­ery­one kind of knew Jeff Ses­sions’ ten­ure was go­ing to end around the two-year mark.”

Ses­sions de­liv­ered his res­ig­na­tion let­ter to the White House at the re­quest of the pres­i­dent, who tapped Ses­sions’ Chief of Staff Matthew G. Whi­taker as act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral. Ses­sions’ fir­ing and Whi­taker’s rep­u­ta­tion as a loy­al­ist im­me­di­ately raised ques­tions about the fu­ture of the in­quiry led by spe­cial coun­sel, Robert Mueller III.

Christie, a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor and U.S. at­tor­ney for New Jersey, be­lieves the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should con­tinue.

“I be­lieve Mueller, his in­de­pen­dence needs to be pre­served,” Christie said. “He needs to be per­mit­ted to fi­nal­ize his in­ves­ti­ga­tion, bring what­ever re­main­ing charges he needs to bring, file a re­port with the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice and let the pub­lic see it, and then let’s move on from this.

Christie does not be­lieve the pres­i­dent will end the spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, adding that if the in­ves­ti­ga­tion were go­ing to be shut down, it would have hap­pened al­ready.

“Re­mem­ber some­thing about Pres­i­dent Trump,” Christie said. “He has an ex­quis­ite sense of self-preser­va­tion. He knows how far he can go with­out en­dan­ger­ing him­self or his po­lit­i­cal abil­ity to op­er­ate. He will not fire Bob Mueller. He has not fired him. It isn’t be­cause it hasn’t crossed his mind. It is be­cause he has de­cided that to do so would in­flict such a po­lit­i­cal cost on him and his party that it’s just not sus­tain­able ... It’s go­ing to be over soon and the stu­pid­est thing to do at this point would be to fire Bob Mueller, and I just don’t think he’ll do it be­cause in the end he knows it’s the wrong thing to do and be­cause he knows Repub­li­cans in the Se­nate will not not sup­port him on that.”

Christie, who served as a U.S. At­tor­ney in New Jersey from 2002 to 2008, com­pleted his sec­ond term as the gover­nor of New Jersey in Jan­uary 2018. Since then, he has worked as an ABC News con­trib­u­tor.

The new at­tor­ney gen­eral is not ex­pected to be cho­sen soon. The short­list also in­cludes Rudy Gi­u­liani, out­go­ing Florida At­tor­ney Gen­eral Pam Bondi and for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr, who served un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush. The list is ex­pected to grow, CBS News re­ported.

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