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Christie on White House talking to FBI: ‘perception matters’

By Eric Bradner

CNN

(CNN) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says Democrats are overreaching in asking for a special investigation into reported contacts between President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians known to US intelligence.

But, he said, the FBI and the White House have walked themselves into a perception problem.

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday, Christie was critical of a meeting first reported by CNN between White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said FBI Director James Comey should speak to McCabe.

“I would have sat them down and said, ‘You’re not to have those conversations with people who could be in the orbit of an investigation, because you never know where the investigation is going to go,’ ” he said.

As for what Priebus should have done, Christie said, “If you’ve got something to say about that, talk to the White House counsel about it.”

“I don’t think he thought he was doing anything wrong, I really don’t, and I have absolute confidence in his integrity,” Christie said. “But you have to have a sense of a prosecutor when you’re dealing with this type of thing, because perception matters.”

Christie also said that the White House faces a “learning curve” with staffers new to government, and that “the sensibilities need to be tightened a little bit at the White House as well.”

Still, Christie rejected Democrats’ calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign’s reported contacts with Russians known to US intelligence.

“The Justice Department, over the course of time, has shown itself with the professionals that are there to have the ability to investigate these type of things,” he said.

Christie added: “When a special prosecutor gets involved, things get totally out of control.”

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