08:05 - Source: CNN
Christie: Prosecutors have 'very, very compelling case' in Trump docs probe
Washington CNN  — 

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie on Sunday labeled Donald Trump and his team “the Corleones with no experience” after additional charges were filed against the former president over his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving office.

“This is bad stuff. And you can’t say there was no underlying potential crime here,” Christie told CNN’s Kasie Hunt on “State of the Union” after comparing Trump and his allies to the fictional Corleone family from “The Godfather.”

“This was the withholding of confidential classified information from the government. After 18 months of asking Donald Trump to return it voluntarily, not only did he not return it. He lied about having it,” the former New Jersey governor added.

Prosecutors allege in an updated indictment that two Trump employees – aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira – attempted to delete security camera footage at the former president’s resort after the Justice Department had issued a subpoena for it.

De Oliveira told the director of IT at the resort “that ‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted,” according to the indictment.

Trump, who already faced 37 criminal charges in the classified documents case, was charged with one additional count of willful retention of national defense information and two additional obstruction counts.

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The former president on Sunday denied that he directed his employees to delete security footage, claiming in a Truth Social post that his legal team had “voluntarily” turned over the security tapes to authorities.

“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 Sunday.

The New Jersey Republican conceded that Trump is innocent until proven guilty, before adding that “the government has made a very, very compelling case.”

Since entering the race last month, Christie has been among the most outspoken critics of Trump in a GOP primary full of candidates still hesitant to directly criticize the party’s front-runner.

Vivek Ramaswamy, another 2024 Republican candidate, told CNN in a separate interview Sunday on “State of the Union” that the latest round of charges against Trump wouldn’t change his vow to pardon him if the tech entrepreneur was elected president.

“I intend to be our next president. And, yes, I do believe I will move us forward. And, yes, I think one of the right ways to do that is to pardon the former president of the United States from what is clearly a politicized prosecution,” he told CNN.

Ramaswamy said Trump should not be convicted for a crime “that would not have existed but for the existence of an investigation.”

Meanwhile, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, another 2024 GOP contender, told CBS News in an interview that aired Sunday that if the accusations against Trump were true, “It’s incredibly dangerous to our national security.”

But Haley argued “this is coming down from a Department of Justice that, frankly, the American people don’t trust.” She maintained she would consider “what’s in the best interest of the country” when asked if she would pardon the former president if elected to the White House.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Alayna Treene and David Wright contributed to this report.