New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during the "Managing the Disruption" conference held at the Tideline Ocean Resort on April 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida.
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July 18, 2017 6:56 PM EDT

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. was not colluding with Russia when he took the meeting during the 2016 campaign with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, but was simply a political novice who didn’t know any better.

“You got to consider the source of the information and the recipient of the information,” Christie said Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, referring to the email exchange the President’s son released last week detailing the lead-up to his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign where he was promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton “The source of the information seems to be like a music promoter. I don’t think this was a guy who was necessarily sophisticated in the language of government like you and I would be. And the recipient of the information, Donald Trump Jr., who I know very well, is by no means a sophisticated political actor.”

“This is a guy who loves his father and got involved in politics because his father got involved,” Christie continued. “But I don’t think Don would have gotten involved in that level any other time.”

The e-mail exchange that Trump Jr. released between himself and publicist Rob Goldstone showed the President’s son was promised “very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

The meeting was not “advisable,” said Christie, but he told Wallace it doesn’t necessarily represent collusion.

Christie also said he does not think Trump knew of his son’s meeting. “He’s not the holding back type, we would have talked about it,” he said of the President.

Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com.

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