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Chris Christie Calls the Claim that Trump Cannot Obstruct Justice 'Outrageous'
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4 Jun 2018 04:43 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer, Image: Chris Christie (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

While Rudy Giuliani and the rest of Donald Trump's legal team insist that he cannot obstruct justice as the president and could shut down the Russia investigation if he wished, there are many who dispute that. One of those disputing this claim is Chris Christie, who for some time seemed like he was in the president's back pocket.  

Christie is the former governor of New Jersey who is now an ABC News contributor after leaving office earlier this year. He chaired the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission for several months last year, a position that Trump appointed him to and then abolished. And for six years he was also the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

 

There has been quite the discussion on whether or not the president can be brought up on obstruction of justice charges. These charges originated with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation after Trump fired James Comey, at times indicating he dismissed him because of the Russia investigation. 

A letter was crafted in January by two of Trump's attorneys, Jay Sekulow and John Dowd. The latter is no longer with Trump's team. In this letter to Mueller they wrote that the president can't obstruct the Russia investigation because he is the top law enforcement officer and has authority over federal investigations.

 

Just published this past Saturday, the letter states, "It remains our position that the president's actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired." 

The attorneys insisted that "no president has ever faced charges of obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional authority" and that a president can "order the termination" of an investigation by the Justice Department or FBI "at any time and for any reason."

 

"It's an outrageous claim; it's wrong," said Christie on ABC News' "This Week." He believes Trump's attorneys are "trying to make a broad argument." 

Giuliani, who joined Trump's legal team after the letter was written, had appeared earlier in the day on "This Week" and didn't as enthusiastically support the argument of the attorneys as he did the thought that Trump would fight a subpoena.

 

"You'd have to ask John exactly what he's relying on for that," the former New York mayor had said in his appearance. "I would not go that far." 

Regarding the claim that Trump could pardon himself, former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara said on "State of the Union" on CNN that it "would be outrageous" for him to do that.

 

"I think (if) the President decided he was going to pardon himself, I think that's almost self-executing impeachment," he continued. "Whether or not there is a minor legal argument that some law professor somewhere in a legal journal can make that the president can pardon, that's not what the framers could have intended. That's not what the American people, I think, would be able to stand for."

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