Aug 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Mar-a-Lago search was "fair game," Chris Christie says

Chris Christie
Chris Christie. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told a radio show on Tuesday that while he has some "concerns" about the FBI's search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, he believes looking through Trump's personal safe was "fair game."

Why it matters: Although the FBI and Justice Department haven't officially disclosed their reasoning for the search, it reportedly took place as part of an investigation into whether Trump brought classified records from the White House to Mar-a-Lago.

What they're saying: "'I'm hoping that this was reviewed by the FBI director and by the Attorney General of the United States before it was done," Christie told Sirius XM’s "Julie Mason Mornings" in an interview.

  • "I trust that it had to have been and I hope that they understood the implications, both from a policy perspective for the Justice Department and politically, of doing something really as unprecedented as raiding the home or office of a former president," he added.
  • "So I have concerns this morning about it but I also am not going to jump to any conclusions, because I know I don't know all the facts about it."
  • "This is not something you should be doing willy-nilly. This is something that should be backed up by grave concerns about the conduct of the subject of the search warrant," Christie said, noting that a federal judge would have had to sign off on the search warrant.

State of play: Christie spoke of his personal experience as a U.S. attorney, saying that if a request to search such a high-profile figure in New Jersey came to him, he would have wanted to see enough evidence to already bring charges against the subject.

  • Asked about the search of Trump's personal safe, of which Trump made specific mention in a statement Monday, Christie said the search of the safe was "fair game."
  • "It’s not anything that’s out of bounds to go into a safe, and it happens frequently in federal law enforcement," Christie said, underscoring that "you have to have the factual underpinnings to be able to convince a federal judge that you need and have the right to do that."

Between the lines: Christie is a longtime Trump ally but has sharpened his criticism of the former president in recent months as he weighs a possible bid against Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Christie ran against Trump in 2016 but eventually bowed out and offered his endorsement.

Go deeper: What we know — and don't know — about Trump and the FBI

Go deeper