The former New Jersey governor and ex-Trump ally called the Trump team “the Corleones with no experience” in reference to the crime family in the Godfather movies.
“This is bad stuff. And you can’t say there was no underlying potential crime here,” Mr Christie said on CNN on Sunday.
“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,” he added.
In the updated indictment, prosecutors state that two of Mr Trump’s employees, Walt Nauta, an aide, and maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira, tried to delete surveillance footage at Mar-A-Lago, Mr Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, after the Department of Justice had issued a subpoena seeking the footage.
The indictment states that Mr De Oliveira told the IT director “that ‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted”.
Another count of willful retention of national defence information and two counts of obstruction were added to the 37 counts Mr Trump already faced in the case.
On Sunday, Mr Trump rejected the notion that he had told his staff to delete the footage, writing in a post on Truth Social that his team had “voluntarily” provided the authorities with the footage.
“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,” Mr Christie said on CNN.
“The government has made a very, very compelling case,” he added.
The former Garden State governor is one of the staunchest critics of the former president to enter the race against him while most other candidates are still very reluctant to criticize Mr Trump.
Fellow GOP 2024 candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech entrepreneur, told CNN on Sunday that the additional charges against Mr Trump made no difference to his promise of pardoning Mr Trump if elected.
“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 said.
Mr Ramaswamy added that Mr Trump shouldn’t be convicted of a crime “that would not have existed but for the existence of an investigation”.
The former UN ambassador and governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, another 2024 candidate, told CBS News on Sunday that if the allegations Mr Trump faces are accurate, “It’s incredibly dangerous to our national security”.
But she said the charges are “coming down from a Department of Justice that, frankly, the American people don’t trust”.
When asked if she would pardon Mr Trump, she said she would do “what’s in the best interest of the country”.
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