Former New Jersey Gov. Christie is being floated as a candidate for attorney general, after President Trump forced out Jeff Sessions and installed a successor who has criticized the Mueller probe in the past.
Christie, who himself ran for president and served two terms in Trenton, ran Trump’s transition before Mike Pence took over the task.
Christie met with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner at the White House Thursday about prison reform, the White House told NJ Advance. Christie helped put away Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, for campaign and tax crimes.
His name was among several floated to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer at a time Democrats are already calling a constitutional crisis.
Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie is being floated as a candidate to be attorney general after President Trump forced out Jeff Sessions
Other names being floated include Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been handling negotiations with Mueller’s team over what questions Trump would have to mention in the Russia probe.
Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, who has appeared with Trump at campaign events, has also been floated. Trump’s foundation gave a 25,000 donation to a committee backing her election in 2013, prompting complaints it came at a time she decided not to join a Trump University lawsuit.
Senate Republicans could confirm a new AG on a simple party-line vote. Several months ago, Republicans warned that were Trump to replace Sessions, the Senate might not get to a successor, but those admonitions have evaporated.
President Donald Trump, left, appears with Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony in Quantico, Va. in 2017
LOYALIST: Former Sessions chief of staff Matt Whitaker has taken over oversight of the Russia probe. He has criticized it in the past and spoken about cutting its funding. He was not confirmed by the Senate for his post
The short-list came after George Conway III, a prominent lawyer, penned an op-ed in the New York Times along with former solicitor general Neal Katyal, arguing that Trump’s power play at the Justice Department is ‘unconstitutional.’
Trump announced that former Sessions chief of staff Matt Whitaker would serve as acting attorney general. Whitaker has spoken critically about the Mueller probe and spoke in a TV interview about choking off its funding.
He also was not confirmed by the Senate, since he does not hold one of the top posts that meet this bar. According to Conway, this come in violation of the Constitution’s appointments clause.
‘Mr. Whitaker’s installation makes a mockery of our Constitution and our founders’ ideals,’ the men wrote.
‘President Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional,’ they wrote. ‘It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who months ago warned Trump against firing Sessions, met with the President Thursday and said he had ‘confidence’ Whitaker would do a professional job ‘in this position.’
Graham said in a statement: ‘I talked with the President about a permanent replacement for Attorney General. I’m confident the White House is looking for someone who the President and country can have confidence in, and be confirmed by the Senate. In my role as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to meeting with acting Attorney General Whitaker soon and have confidence he will do a professional job in this position.’
The Washington Post reported that Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself, following howls from Democrats about his past statements on the special counsel.
He managed a Senate campaign for Sam Clovis in Iowa, who later was nominated to join the Trump administration, ran Iowa for Trump, and was interviewed by Mueller’s investigators.
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility in Washington called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe.
‘Never before has a President designated an acting attorney general who had not previously been serving in a Senate-confirmed position,’ the group wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.
‘Nor has a President ever before appointed an acting attorney general who is on record describing the means by which the President could curtail an ongoing investigation of the President’s conduct.’
‘The rule of law is disappearing before our eyes,’ tweeted former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who was the first senior figure fired by Trump.
‘He wants a political crony to protect him from the investigation of his own campaign,’ she wrote.