Chris Christie Says James Comey Was 'Single Biggest Factor' in Shifting Momentum Towards Trump Before 2016 Election

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) revisited ex-FBI Director James Comey's decision to reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server during the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign, saying it was "the single biggest factor" in propelling momentum towards President Donald Trump.

On Monday's The Hugh Hewitt Show, Christie argued that Comey's decision effectively reshuffled the race after Trump's victory was looking implausible in the days following the release of an infamous 2005 Access Hollywood recording where the then-presidential candidate talked about groping women.

"I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it," Trump was heard saying in the tape to host Billy Bush. "You can do anything. Grab them by the p***y."

"Did Comey win Donald Trump the election?" Hewitt asked Christie on Monday.

The former governor responded: "I believe that Comey was the single biggest factor in changing the momentum after Access Hollywood and before the election."

Christie, who supported Trump in 2016, told Hewitt he remembers advising Trump during the campaign that whoever created more buzz in the days leading up to Election Day would win. "But in this race, whoever they were talking about was the one that was going to lose," Christie explained. "And because of Jim Comey's actions, they were still talking about Hillary Clinton. And I think that had a large part to do with his victory and her defeat."

Comey sent congressional leaders a letter 11 days before the 2016 presidential election, saying FBI agents have discovered a new batch of emails "that appear pertinent" to an earlier investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. Just over a week later, the then-FBI director announced that the agency determined that the emails "have not changed our conclusion" that Clinton has committed no criminal wrongdoing.

At the time, senior Democrats accused Comey of political meddling, while some political pundits argued that the action probably cost Clinton the election. In an interview with ABC News last year, Comey, who was abruptly fired by Trump in May 2017, revealed that his decision at the time was made based on his belief that Clinton would win the presidential election.

"Wasn't the decision to reveal influenced by your assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to win, and your concern that, she wins, this comes out several weeks later and then that's taken by her opponents as a sign that she's an illegitimate president?" host George Stephanopoulos asked Comey.

"It must have been," the former FBI director responded."I don't remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. I'm sure that it was a factor. I don't remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That she's going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected, the moment this comes out."