The journalists at CBS This Morning couldn’t quite believe that Chris Christie would challenge the guns-drawn, predawn raid on Roger Stone. Co-host Norah O’Donnell icily deemed it “interesting” that the former New Jersey governor offered a different take. Christie appeared to discuss his new book, but more than half of the interview was spent on the Stone raid.
John Dickerson wondered, “Roger Stone is complaining about the way he was treated, that predawn raid. Is that out of the ordinary?”
Christie claimed that, as a former prosecutor, he would only authorize an armed raid if the suspect owned a gun. (Stone did not.) The former governor called it “over the top,” prompting O’Donnell to interject: “But our CBS' Jeff Pegues reports that Roger Stone has told him that in fact the FBI came in and seized electronic devices, multiple cell phones that he had. Could that have been the purpose of the raid?”
Christie snorted, “You don't need to bring guys with AR-15s in flak jackets as if they're going to get shot.” As for the idea that the extreme nature of the raid was meant to preserve information, the Washington Examiner pointed out:
Aside from threats of violence or escape, the usual excuse for riot-gear raids is to keep the suspect from destroying evidence while the agents wait at the door. The idea that this scenario applied here is risible. Stone has known for a full year that he was in investigators’ crosshairs. He has predicted for at least five months that he would be indicted for something or other.
Before finally moving on, co-host Norah O’Donnell registered her distaste at challenging Mueller: “As a former law enforcement official it's interesting to hear you side against Robert Mueller and for someone like Roger Stone.”
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:04:26 to 8:09:57
JOHN DICKERSON: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is revealing his 15-year friendship with Donald Trump in his new memoir. It's called Let Me finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of in-Your-Face Politics. Christie writes that he went from the vice presidential short list to being fired from the transition team two days after the election. He says the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, pushed him out, setting the stage for problems inside the Trump administration. In Christie's words, the president is surrounded by, quote, “a resolving door of deeply flawed individuals, amateurs, grifters, convicted and unconvicted felons.” Governor Christie, good morning.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Good morning, John.
DICKERSON: That's quite a list. We have one of those members, Roger Stone -- you were a former U.S. Attorney. Roger Stone is complaining about the way he was treated, that predawn raid. Is that out of the ordinary?
CHRISTIE: Yes, it is. And I will tell you, one of thing was when I was watching the reports, my wife asked would you have done that. I said the only way you would ever done that as U.S. attorney is if we knew that he had a gun. And if so — if someone has a gun and you're indicting them, you worry about them killing themselves or harming others. When I found out that Roger Stone did not have a gun, I think it was over the top for them to do that. Because, otherwise, he's not a flight risk. How could Roger Stone get out of country?
NORAH O’DONNELL: But our CBS' Jeff Pegues reports that Roger Stone has told him that in fact the FBI came in and seized electronic devices, multiple cell phones that he had. Could that have been the purpose of the raid?
CHRISTIE: You can do that, but you don't need to bring, you know, guys with AR-15s in flak jackets as if they're going to get shot. When I saw them coming in with all the protective gear, it signaled to me, well, they must know there are weapons inside. Which in Florida, given the gun laws —
O’DONNELL: So, what do you think was the —
CHRISTIE: I think they were trying to intimidate them. I think it's the wrong thing for prosecutors to do. I think that Mr. Mueller made a mistake in authorizing that because you're going to be criticized and rightfully so if you're a prosecutor using those means as a means of intimidation. If you're using it as a way to protect FBI agents, that's completely appropriate. And I've done it. But --
O’DONNELL: As a former law enforcement official it's interesting to hear you side against Robert Mueller and for someone like Roger Stone.
CHRISTIE: I've supported Robert Mueller all along, but when you're wrong, you are wrong.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: He said he was treated fairly and professionally though.
CHRISTIE: Well, yeah. [Laughs.] They did act that way. I wouldn't expect the FBI to react differently. When you get a pound on the door at 6:00am in the dark and you see a bunch of FBI agents are flak jackets and semiautomatic weapons, I mean, to take somebody out who lied to congress, that's just — to me, that's overkill. And I — I talk about this during the time I was U.S. attorney in the book. These are tough decisions to make. But you always have to err on the side of having people having confidence in the justice system. I have confidence in Mr. Mueller and his objectivity. I worked with him when I was U.S. attorney and he was director of the FBI. I've defended Bob all throughout the investigation. I don't believe it's a witch hunt. But when you do stuff like that, those are unforced errors that make everybody take a step back and say, “Come on.”
DICKERSON: Let's talk about your book. You paint a picture here of the Trump administration that is a complete and thorough mess. This is the presidency of the United States. He's got people working for him who are going after him. he's got members of his family who are undermining, they undermine you. You have done all the work on the transition, which is a major operation, $4 trillion government. They throw it in the trash can. President Trump came into office saying, “I have a special ability because of my business experience to run places in ship shape.” What you describe here is a total jalopy mess.
GOLODRYGA: You also talk about the Russia investigation. And you go hard after Jeff Sessions, saying he should not have recused himself. Why? Most legal experts say that he should have?
CHRISTIE: Or that he should have told the president up front.
GOLOGRYGA: How would he have known, though, that the investigation was ongoing?
CHRISTIE: If in fact — Well, first of all, we all knew it was ongoing at that time. Everybody knew there was an investigation going on at that time --
GOLODRYGA: Not after he met with the Russians, though.