In private, according to one person who said Christie recounted his conversation with Kushner, Christie is said to have cautioned that the president “better lawyer up and keep his mouth shut,” this person told me. (Brian Murray, a spokesman for Christie, said that “a phone conversation taking place regarding retention of counsel is categorically false. The conversation did not happen.”)
That Kushner would seek Christie’s legal advice on a matter pertaining to a family member raises eyebrows. Christie, after all, prosecuted a case against Kushner’s father, Charles, more than a decade ago. The elder Kushner ended up pleading guilty to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering, and illegal campaign donations. Jared Kushner, who visited his father in an Alabama prison most weekends while he was serving out his sentence, initially had a harder time accepting Christie into the campaign inner-circle once the New Jersey governor dropped his own presidential bid and threw his weight behind Trump. He reportedly balked at Christie as a vice-presidential nominee, and once Trump won the election in November, played an influential role in removing him from his post as head of the transition team. As sources explained to me last year, Kushner believed Christie was responsible for his father not getting out of prison 28 days early, as the family had expected him to.
But a White House official told me earlier this year that the two buried the hatchet months ago in order to serve the administration together. When the White House announced that Kushner would helm a sweeping Office of American Innovation within the White House, they appointed Christie to head its opioid task force—allowing the two to work closely together under Kushner’s purview. Sources confirmed to me last week that they now talk often.