Dems press for answers in bridge case

Assemblyman John Wisniewski
Assemblyman John Wisniewski
Posted: January 14, 2014

Democrats continued to ask Sunday whether Gov. Christie had more knowledge than he has let on of a plot by aides and appointees to jam traffic on the George Washington Bridge because Fort Lee's mayor failed to endorse him for reelection.

Republicans defended the governor, though some of the party's leading 2016 presidential contenders declined to speculate about Christie, a potential opponent in the party's primary elections.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democratic chair of the Transportation Committee leading the investigation into the closures, said on CBS's Face the Nation: "It strains credibility" that Christie's advisers who were involved in or aware of the situation did not let him know about it.

Last week, Christie fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, after documents emerged showing she had urged one of the governor's appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to cause traffic problems in Fort Lee.

Christie also severed ties with his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who also has been linked to the controversy. Stepien had referred to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, as an "idiot" in an e-mail to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority.

Christie has denied involvement in or knowledge of the plan. He said last week his staff's actions had "embarrassed and humiliated" him.

Wisniewski made clear Sunday "we don't have direct communications that directly go to" Christie. Legislators in Trenton have released thousands of subpoenaed documents that tie members of Christie's inner circle to the plan.

If legislators do learn Christie was involved in the plot, "that raises serious questions that the Assembly ought to look at," including possible impeachment proceedings, Wisniewski said.

He cautioned that his committee's investigation was still in its early stages.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Christie had demonstrated leadership in addressing the controversy.

"Everyone is fallible," he said on NBC's Meet the Press. "The real question is, What do you do when mistakes happen? He admitted mistakes happened."

Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican who lost in the party's 2012 primary to Mitt Romney and who is considering running again in 2016, said on Meet the Press: "It's very clear personnel there was not sensitive to what seemed to be a fairly obvious wrong thing to do."


aseidman@phillynews.com

856-779-3846

@AndrewSeidman

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