Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said if Donald Trump keeps making “nonsense arguments” on TV about the Justice Department investigation into his handling of classified documents, he might just find himself facing a “self-inflicted indictment.”
“I think these are all self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump,” Christie said during a panel discussion on ABC about the chances the former president could be indicted in the case. “And you know, one of the things that I always say to clients are, you know, don’t out-loud fight with the Department of Justice. Like, you know, we’ll fight in court and do the things we need to do. He’s doing the exact opposite.”
“His lawyers aren’t fighting any of this in court,” he continued. “They’re really not. They’re not putting forward any of these arguments. He’s putting forward all these arguments on television. There comes a point where prosecutors are human too. And you want to keep daring them, they may just actually do it.”
Trump has personally put forward an array of sometimes contradictory defenses after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and reported finding classified government documents improperly stored there. According to investigators, they had attempted to subpoena the remaining documents months earlier, but Trump’s lawyers vowed they had handed them all over.
Chris Christie, a former Trump ally, has suggested he may run for president in 2024. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images)
During media appearances and in posts on his Truth Social platform, Trump has, among other excuses, baselessly claimed the FBI planted evidence at the Palm Beach resort, argued he had a “standing order” to declassify documents he removed from the Oval Office to his White House residence, and, most recently, announced he could declassify documents with his mind.
Numerous former Trump administration officials have said the “standing order” claim was fiction and would never have been allowed. Presidents can declassify documents, but there is an official process involved.
In court, where they could face penalties for lying, Trump and his lawyers have not made the same assertions. Instead, they have suggested Trump had the authority to declassify documents while remaining silent on what he actually did. They have also argued that the Justice Department should not be taken at its word that some of the seized documents were classified.
Despite all this, Christie said, “I still don’t think [Trump’s] going to be charged,” but suggested the former president was inching closer to an indictment with each new media blast.
“The more you absolutely antagonize with nonsense arguments on television that your lawyers won’t make in court — because they’re afraid they’ll be sanctioned if they do because they have no evidence — you’re pushing yourself closer to a self-inflicted indictment,” he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.