Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) says a former aide to President Trump’s campaign is innocent until proven guilty, following reports that the FBI investigated the aide for connections to Russia.
The FBI reportedly obtained a warrant last summer to secretly surveil Carter Page, who has been described as a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“Everybody in this country deserves … the presumption of innocence,” Christie said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“As a former prosecutor, I used to tell my prosecutors all the time that the name of our department was not the Department of Prosecution, it was the Department of Justice,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate added.
“Our job is to do justice, and justice is about, first and foremost, protecting the individual rights of everybody. So let’s not jump to conclusions.”
Reports emerged Tuesday that the FBI and Justice Department had demonstrated probable cause to believe that Page acted on behalf of a foreign government in order to obtain its FISA warrant.
The FBI reportedly believed Page was in contact with Russian officials last year, inspiring the bureau to obtain a FISA warrant against him while probing possible ties between Moscow and Trump’s campaign.
BuzzFeed reported earlier this month that Page had been targeted by a Russian spy recruiter years before the Trump campaign.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer has sought to distance Trump from Page, describing the foreign policy adviser as only one of many campaign “hangers-on.” But Trump himself listed Page as one of his foreign policy advisers in a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post.