Chris Christie: Getting oppo from Russia is 'probably against the law'
Posted July 18
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters on Monday it's "probably against the law" to get opposition research from a foreign country, "in addition to being inappropriate."
Christie was asked by reporters about President Donald Trump's eldest son's meeting with Russians during the 2016 election.
"I think there's a law that says you can't get anything of value from a foreign government in those situations" he said. "This is why you have the Department of Justice, to be able to do the kind of work and investigation that they typically do and will come to conclusions."
He also said that he personally has not seen evidence of collusion between the Trump team and Russian government.
"You know, my understanding of all this is that there's concern by some people of collusion. Even from what we've heard so far I don't see any evidence of that," Christie told reporters. "But none of it's positive and I'm sure no one in the administration thinks that was a good week."
He added: "So we need to get back to what the bottom line here is which is if there is collusion that's a major issue. If there isn't then I don't think it is."
Christie was referencing news that broke last week that Donald Trump Jr. attended a meeting in June of last year with a Russian lawyer -- alongside Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and five others -- in which, Trump Jr. expected to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, a former prosecutor, wrote in an op-ed published to CNN that Trump Jr.'s actions were not illegal.
"It might be morally and politically objectionable to gather dirt about your campaign opponent from an enemy of the United States, but the mere acceptance and use of the material would not be illegal," he wrote.
So far news of the meeting has only raised more questions about whether the Trump team had a role in Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Christie defended Trump Jr. attending the meeting, saying he wasn't a member of government so he didn't have any "any obligation to come forward."
"Now, I don't know that Donald Trump Jr. had any obligation," he said. "He's not a member of the government and I don't know whether he had any obligation to come forward and say who he was meeting with at that time."
After ending his own presidential bid in 2016, Christie was one of the first major Republican figures to endorse then-candidate Trump -- and Christie served as the head of his transition team before being replaced by then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence after the election.