President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE on Thursday hailed a Supreme Court ruling that tossed out the convictions of two government officials implicated in the 2013 Bridgegate scandal as a "total exoneration" for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who remains an ally of the president.
The president weighed in on the case hours after the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that said the scheme involving Christie's aides did not violate federal law.
"Congratulations to former Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and all others involved, on a complete and total exoneration... on the Obama DOJ Scam referred to as 'Bridgegate,' " Trump tweeted. "The Democrats are getting caught doing very evil things, and Republicans should take note. This was grave misconduct by the Obama Justice Department!"
....are getting caught doing very evil things, and Republicans should take note. This was grave misconduct by the Obama Justice Department! @GovChristie— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2020
Christie endorsed Trump early in the 2016 campaign after dropping out himself and has remained an informal adviser. He was under consideration for chief of staff in late 2018, but declined the role.
The Supreme Court case centered around convictions of Bridget Anne Kelly, a former aide to Christie, and Bill Baroni, a former Port Authority official, for their role in a scheme to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create traffic problems for the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who had refused to endorse Christie's reelection campaign.
The two were convicted of fraud for lying about a fake traffic study in order to justify the lane closures.
The justices reasoned that in order to be convicted under the fraud statutes that Kelly and Baroni were charged with, a public official would have to be seeking money or property in such a scheme. Justice Elena KaganElena KaganSupreme Court considers Kentucky AG's power to defend abortion restriction Alito bristles over criticism of Supreme Court's 'shadow docket' North Carolina voting rights ruling offers a model of anti-racist jurisprudence MORE wrote that it was not enough to show that a public official had lied about their actions.
Trump's response echoes his rhetoric toward investigations into his own administration. He frequently declared his own "complete and total exoneration" from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation, which did not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice.
The president's accusations that Democrats "are getting caught doing very evil things" comes amid an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation and outcry over the FBI's questioning of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.