WASHINGTON — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie likened former President Donald Trump and his allies to the fictional Corleone crime family from “The Godfather” series, albeit “with no experience.”
Christie took aim at the new charges special counsel Jack Smith filed against Trump last week in his classified documents case, alleging Trump ordered to have surveillance footage destroyed at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
“It’s pretty brazen,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “These guys were acting like the Corleones with no experience.”
Prosecutors allege Trump, along with his valet Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira, attempted to delete surveillance video after investigators issued a subpoena for the footage.
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Christie said Nauta was akin to Fredo Corloene, depicted in the series as the weaker and less intelligent brother in the crime family.
“The day after a grand jury subpoena is served, which includes the surveillance tapes, they go down to Mar-a-Lago and Walt Nauta appears to be the Fredo of this family,” Christie said. “They send him to go down there, and they sent him to go and delete it.”
“This is bad stuff,” Christie alleged. “This was the withholding of confidential classified information from the government after 18 months of asking Donald Trump to return it voluntarily.”
Unlike most of his opponents in the 2024 Republican presidential primary field, Christie has shown no reluctance to go after Trump for his multiple indictments and other legal troubles. Christie has argued Trump’s legal cases disqualify him from the presidency.
Trump’s alleged mishandling of the classified documents, Christie said, endangered national security.
“This is not what a former president should be doing and it’s certainly not something that someone who wants to be president should be doing,” Christie said.
Christie has said he wouldn’t be inclined to pardon Trump if the former president is eventually convicted and the former New Jersey governor wins the 2024 race for the White House. But other candidates, including biotechnology entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, have said they disagree and would lean towards issuing Trump a pardon.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chris Christie on Donald Trump, allies: ‘Corleones with no experience’