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Christie Says Trump Family Not Being Honest About Security Clearances Is 'Not Defensible'
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5 Mar 2019 02:10 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Chris Christie (Image source: Screenshot)

 

Even some of Donald Trump's allies know that Jared Kushner getting security clearance over the objections of top officials isn't right. Although admittedly, Chris Christie has been his opponent and is on a book tour; however, he's also been a close ally and considered for roles in the administration.

 

He practiced law for many years, was a state's attorney for New Jersey, and was then the governor for eight years. After running against Trump in 2016 and failing to get the Republican nomination, Christie was a part of Trump's transition team, chaired the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission during this administration and was also considered for many other positions but turned them all down, as what he really wanted was to be attorney general. 

Suffice it to say that Christie knows his way around the law. And while he often defends Trump as a political commentator, this time he just can't. That he went against the advice of others and gave Kushner security clearance, the former state's attorney finds that it makes it "very, very difficult" for his allies to defend him.

 

It was reported last week by The New York Times that Trump went against the advice of intelligence officials after a background check and demanded that his son-in-law get clearance. This was something that was alarming to both former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn. 

Christie said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that this leads up to the problem of Trump bringing in his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Kushner, for roles in the administration as senior advisers. He added that as president he can award security clearance to whomever he wants, but he also "needs to be held to account for that."

 

"If The New York Times story is true — and I have no reason to believe it isn't — then why not tell the truth about it?" the former governor asked. 

"Why not just say, 'I did it,' and why wouldn't Ivanka do the same? Just say, 'Listen, my father thinks I'm trustworthy. My husband is trustworthy. He's made the decision we should have access. He's said needs us to consult with him on these issues of foreign policy and intelligence.' "

 

Earlier this year Trump denied to the Times that he had intervened to get Kushner security clearance. Last month Ivanka Trump told ABC's Abby Huntsman that her father had "zero" involvement in getting security clearance for herself and her husband. 

A spokesperson for Kushner's attorney affirmed that last week, saying that when Kushner got his clearance, "White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner's security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone."

 

They added that "new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time. 

Christie believes all those differences in the story that the Times called out will cause Trump more difficulty later on, but he seems a little miffed that he's expected to defend him at times like this.

 

"For those of us who are out here at times defending the president and what goes on, moments like what happened Thursday night when that New York Times story broke make it very, very difficult, because you can't defend that," he reasoned. 

"No, some people try to defend it. I won't try to defend it. It's not defensible. You need to tell the American people the truth about what happened here."

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