There was an interesting exchange on ABC This Week with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Christie attacked the Trump legal team as “C-level” performers, specifically calling out John Dowd and Ty Cobb. However, the reason given by both politicians to George Stephanopolous is that they did not believe that President Donald Trump should have been so cooperative with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and should have refused to have White House staff cooperate freely with him.
Here is the exchange:
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Let’s go back to where this all really started and when the president looks back if he does get struck down, he’s talking about Don McGahn in a tweet yesterday. The people he should be talking to are John Dowd and Ty Cobb who gave the screwiest advice I’ve ever seen to a sitting executive by saying —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cooperate in part.
CHRISTIE: Let the White House counsel go in and give all the testimony he wants without restriction.
RAHM EMANUEL: He needs his money back for that.
CHRISTIE: I said to you, you remember, on this show, that they were a c-level legal team on their best way and let me tell you something, what’s going on right now shows I had great insight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Before we move on, let me play devil’s advocate on that point. Say they decided to hold the line and in the face of holding the line Mueller does in fact subpoena the president, does in fact subpoena these White House aides and that makes the president, we all know, the president blow up and fire Mueller?
CHRISTIE: Donald Trump’s self-preservation gene would never have permitted him to fire Bob Mueller. There’s not much that I’m confident about —
STEPHANOPOULOS: He tried.
CHRISTIE: No, no, he didn’t try. He did what Donald Trump does.
EMANUEL: He blew up.
CHRISTIE: Which is to blow off steam and if someone else wants to go and do it, then go ahead and do it.
EMANUEL: Two things —
MAGGIE HABERMAN: The argument from a lot of people around him. He did touch the hot stove with Comey and I think he saw there was a lesson from that.
CHRISTIE: It’s a big lesson he learned from that.
EMANUEL: Number one, get Mueller in front of Congress. Number two, the legal team should have known what McGahn was saying from day one.
CHRISTIE: No one interviewed Don McGahn before he got interviewed by Bob Mueller. Imagine the malpractice there.
EMANUEL: I’m not even a lawyer and I know not to do that.
So both Emanuel and Christie believes Trump should have been less transparent? The problem is that it would have forced Mueller into court where he would eventually prevail to get the testimony. In the meantime, an obstruction case viewed as close by some Mueller aides would have been dramatically strengthened in their eyes. It would also have the President resisting his own Justice Department since Mueller is a Special, not Independent, Counsel.
For Christie, there is an obvious irony given the fact that his former aides were recently criminally sentenced in the Bridgegate scandal. They have insisted that Christie knew of their plan to slow traffic to punish one of his political opponents and that he was ultimate co-conspirator. However, he was spared any prosecution.
For Emanuel, he is a sole Democratic politician who believes that Trump should not have cooperated so much with Trump. It is a curious position when most Democrats are already alleged obstruction due to a lack of cooperation by Trump. How can Trump be both obstructive but too cooperative?
A curious world just gets curiouser and curiouser.