‘I fired Flynn. It’s over’: Trump thought firing solved ‘Russia thing,’ Christie writes
William Cummings, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – In his new memoir, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner believed that firing former national security adviser Michael Flynn would resolve the “Russia thing,” according to a New York Times reporton an advance copy of the book.
Christie’s book, “Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics,” is scheduled to hit bookstores Tuesday.
According to the Times, one scene in the book describes a lunch Christie had with Trump and Kushner on Feb. 14, 2017, the day after Flynn was fired, for lying about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“This Russia thing is all over now, because I fired Flynn,” Trump said, according to Christie, who wrote that he laughed in response to the president’s remark.
“‘Sir,’ I said. ‘This Russia thing is far from over,'” Christie wrote.
“What do you mean? Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It’s over,” Trump replied in Christie’s telling.
“That’s right, firing Flynn ends the whole Russia thing,” Kushner added. Christie said Kushner called him “crazy” when he said they would still be talking about Russia a year from then.
“What I was trying to do was help them and say, ‘Listen, you guys need to get ready for a war,'” Christie explained Monday on “Good Morning America.” He said it “turned out I undersold it.”
The former New Jersey governor said he never saw any evidence of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russians to sway the election. He believed the team was too disorganized to have “run a Tom Clancy operation,” the Times reported.
Christie said he always opposed the appointment of Flynn as national security adviser.
“Flynn was a train wreck from beginning to end,” Christie said in the book, according to the Times. As an example, he pointed to one debate prep session where Flynn suggested Trump begin to support abortion rights to rob Hillary Clinton of the issue.
When the president asked Christie why he didn’t like Flynn, he told the president, “because he’s going to get you in trouble,” Christie recounted Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Christie’s book paints Trump as a great campaigner who was unprepared to lead and who did not always surround himself with the most qualified advisers, the Times reported.
“What I outline in the book though is, ‘garbage in, garbage out,'” Christie said on “This Week.” He said “the problem for the president has been” that “the people he had around him, in the beginning, were just not suited to be there.”
Christie led Trump’s transition team until he was fired three days after Trump’s victory. He said people like Steve Bannon and Kushner got Trump “off to a really bad start” and “it drove me crazy because I knew we had a plan for him that would have gotten him off to a good start with good people.”
“When you have a White House where Omarosa Manigault is in the White House – I don’t know what she was supposed to be doing, but that’s not the kind of person when we put together the transition that we wanted to surround the president,” Christie said. “The core of the book talks about the idea that this president was so ill-served by the decision made by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner and Rick Dearborn to throw out all the work that was done by the transition.”
He said Bannon “physically fired” him but that Kushner was behind the decision.
“Steve said very clearly that this was, as he put it, ‘The Kid,'” meaning Kushner, who fired him, according to Christie.
In the book, Christie claimed that Kushner wanted him off the team because as a U.S. attorney he had prosecuted his father on tax evasion charges, the Times reported.
“He tried to destroy my father,” Kushner complained to Trump at one meeting, according to Christie’s book.