Chris Christie says he could 'definitely' see Trump targeting GOP senators who vote for additional witnesses

Chris Christie says he could 'definitely' see Trump targeting GOP senators who vote for additional witnesses
© Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says in a new interview that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE might target Republican senators who buck party leadership and vote for additional witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial for primary challenges.

In an interview with ABC News, Christie said he could "definitely" see the president at least encouraging primary challengers if not seeking them out himself.

"You could very well see the president encouraging or creating primaries against senators that are up this year if they went and voted the other way," Christie said Thursday.


"I could definitely see him at least attempting to do that," he continued.

Trump has remained vocally opposed to the prospect of former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE or other key witnesses testifying in the ongoing impeachment trial. 

Some moderate Republican senators such as Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Hogan 'embarrassed that more people' in the GOP 'aren't speaking up' against Trump Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump MORE (Utah) have signaled that they are open to calling new witnesses to testify. 

Bolton in particular is seen by Democrats as a top witness due to recent reports of claims made in his upcoming book. According to the unpublished manuscript, Bolton claims that Trump made clear that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would be released pending Ukraine's president launching of criminal investigations into Trump's political rivals.


Democrats including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS economy hurtles toward 'COVID cliff' with programs set to expire Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump Divided citizenry and government — a call to action for common ground MORE (D-Calif.) have argued that the president will not receive a fair trial unless additional witnesses are considered.

"You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation," she tweeted Thursday afternoon. "If Republican Senators choose a cover-up, the American people and history will judge it with the harshness it deserves."

Senate Republicans are planning on a vote to call witnesses that will take place on Friday after the Senate has heard the closing arguments from both the House managers and Trump's defense.