New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dismissed reports that White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus reached out to the FBI and other intelligence officials for help in pushing back on claims of Russian involvement in the U.S. election by saying he and other Trump staffers are new to governing.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper — with host Tapper noting the White House refused to send a spokesperson — the former Trump adviser said the contact between Priebus and various intelligence officials was being blown out of proportion by Democrats who are “overreaching.”
“Let’s talk about the fact that Reince Priebus reached out to the FBI to knock down stories about the fact that the FBI was investigating these contacts was not true,” Tapper said. “That should be troubling. He reached out to those doing the investigation, saying basically ‘will you give a public relations station statement on our behalf?'”
“If the story is to be believed that was put forward, it was the FBI who first approached the chief of staff,” Christie parried. “So I think the assistant deputy of the FBI, if I was an attorney and I was an FBI leader in charge in the Newark or Camden office, I would have sat him down and said you can’t have conversations with people who are in the orbit of the investigation because you never know where it’s going to do. If I was sitting in that position, talk to the White House counsel about it out of an abundance of caution. I don’t think Reince thought he was doing anything wrong.”
According to Christie, alarm at the Priebus meetings with FBI at the behest of the president is a matter of Democrats “overreaching,” and that everyone has to realize that Trump administration officials — including former RNC head Priebus — are new at running the government.
“What they [the Democrats] should do here is take a deep breath and look into these matters in a way that the American public will think has integrity to it,” Christie advised. “In my experience, the Democrats are the ones with the problem of overreaching on this stuff. But these are all people who have never been in government before, so they’re going to need to learn these things. I don’t think you get the learning curve just by winning the election.”
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