Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Sunday said the Department of Justice (DOJ) has “a pretty good chance” in its appeal of an order for a special master to look over the documents seized by the FBI at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
“I think the Justice Department’s chances are pretty good,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Trump team had argued for the special master, alleging some seized documents were protected by executive privilege, and the Trump-appointee judge overseeing the case granted the request, preventing the DOJ from moving forward with its own review of the materials.
“There’s only one executive who can assert the privilege, and that’s the one who is the current executive, Joe Biden. A previous executive can’t assert executive privilege. They’re not the executive any longer,” Christie said Sunday.
“Biden will not assert executive privilege over these documents. And I think the idea that some of these documents are somehow attorney-client privilege is going to be a bit of a reach … So I think, for one, I think the DOJ probably has a pretty good chance on appeal.”
Christie on Sunday also defended the DOJ’s much-critiqued move to search Mar-a-Lago and seize the materials, saying the department “had no choice.”
“It’s not only the nature of the documents. We now have a good idea of the timeline. This has been 16 months that the Department of Justice has been saying please, asking nicely, negotiating with his attorneys, taking up partial production, seeing a non-response to a subpoena. They had no choice, in my view, but to go in and take them, because of the nature of the documents.”
Newly unsealed records show FBI agents found more than 100 classified documents at the Palm Beach, Fla., resort — as well as dozens of empty folders marked as classified in Trump’s personal office.
Christie recalled working with highly sensitive information, the likes of which were found at Mar-a-Lago, during his tenure as a U.S. attorney in New Jersey.
“When I had to review that in the post-9/11 era, I had to go into a special room called the SCIF to review it. I couldn’t take pictures. I couldn’t take anything with me. [Trump] had that in the top drawer at Mar-a-Lago in his desk. That’s a problem. I don’t think he’ll be prosecuted for it, but we ought to get those documents back.”