Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie took several shots at White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in his new book “Let Me Finish,” alleging that in an act of spite, Donald Trump’s son-in-law coordinated his removal from the president’s transition team shortly after the 2016 election.
He claims Kushner was still "seething” from events that took place more than a decade prior — when Christie, as a U.S. attorney, prosecuted Kushner’s father, Charles, for tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign contributions, sending the elder Kushner to prison for 14 months.
The former governor did not mince words while discussing the case Tuesday:
“Mr. Kushner pled guilty, he admitted the crimes. So what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor?” Christie asked. “If a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister in an attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that?”
He added, “It’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was U.S. attorney,” Christie said during a segment with PBS’s “Firing Line With Margaret Hoover.” “And I was a U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Margaret — so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there!”
Charles Kushner, a wealthy and well-connected real estate developer, pleaded guilty in 2004 to 18 counts of filing false tax returns, retaliating against witnesses and making illegal campaign contributions. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison and served 14.
Christie at the time wrote in a news release that Kushner’s guilty plea was a “great victory for the people of New Jersey.”
“No matter how rich and powerful any person may be, they will be held accountable for criminal conduct by this office,” he wrote.
Christie now writes that Jared Kushner retaliated after the 2016 election by having Stephen K. Bannon, then an executive for Trump’s campaign, fire him. The White House and a spokesperson for Jared Kushner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that occurred a decade ago, was exacting a plot of revenge against me, a hit job that made no sense at all for the man we had just helped elect,” Christie wrote in “Let Me Finish.” “And Steve Bannon, hot-shot, big-balls campaign executive, was quietly acquiescing to it."
He continued, “What wimps, what cowards. And how disloyal to Donald Trump.”
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.