Chris Christie Says White House Contact With FBI Was Result Of ‘Learning Curve’

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and his wife Mary Pat Christie look on as President Donald Trump signs House Joint Resolution 41 in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Sunday that members of President Donald Trump’s administration who pushed the FBI to publicly dispute reports of contact between Trump’s aides and Russian officials before the election were experiencing a “learning curve.”

“I don’t think you get the learning curve just by winning the election,” Christie told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He said that members of Trump’s administration will “develop experiences over time.”

“I can guarantee this, I don’t think the chief of staff will ever have that kind of conversation with the FBI, with FBI personnel, again,” he said.

“Remember, these are all people who have never been in government before,” Christie said. “And so they’re going to need to learn these things.”

CNN reported on Thursday that the FBI refused a request from White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to dispute a story saying that Trump’s aides were in contact with Russian officials before the election.

Though Christie characterized Trump’s staff as political newcomers, Priebus served as general counsel and chairman of the Republican National Committee before becoming White House chief of staff.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued on Friday that Priebus had no choice but to push the FBI to publicly dispute the reports.

“I don’t know what else we were supposed to do,” he said.

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Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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