Christie Reacts to Bridgegate Testimony [POLL/AUDIO]
Gov. Chris Christie, appearing on Townsquare Media’s “Ask the Governor” program, said the Select Committee on Investigation has taken almost 11 hours of Bridgegate testimony — including seven from press secretary Michael Drewniak on Tuesday — and has learned nothing that isn’t in the report issued by lawyers who conducted an internal probe.
“I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this strange, unnecessary and idiotic episode that brings us here today,” Drewniak said, “nor did I play any knowing role in any actual or perceived cover-up.”
According to Drewniak, former Port Authority official David Wildstein told him the lane closure idea was his, and two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly also knew about the scheme. Both Stepien and Kelly were let go by Christie in January.
Drewniak also testified that Wildstein claimed he told Christie about the closures at a 9/11 event. One panel member asked Drewniak if he believed Wildstein.
“I do not know what to believe about David Wildstein or Bridget Kelly in particular,” Drewniak said. “It was just so bizarre. It made no sense and had no value, so I don’t know who to believe and why they would do such a thing. It is a mystery to me to this day, and I wish I knew the answers.”
Near the end of his lengthy testimony, Drewniak said when he told Christie that Wildstein claimed Kelly and Stepien were aware of the lane closures, the governor said he always wondered if Stepien knew more about it.
“I have very little recollection of that conversation,” Christie said Tuesday night. “I don’t have any great recollection of that conversation at all. If Mike says I said that, that’s his recollection of it. I can’t say he’s wrong, but I can’t say he’s right. I don’t remember.”
The governor said he is confident in his senior staff and the people he has around him now. He explained that the people he wasn’t confident in are no longer around him. Christie also criticized the Democrat-controlled SCI, saying the panel has uncovered nothing new.
However, there is something new that could happen. Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), SCI co-chair, said Tuesday that the committee’s legal counsel is drafting new subpoenas for Kelly and Stepien. He said if those subpoenas address problems noted by the judge who quashed the original ones, the two ex-aides could be issued fresh orders in the future.
The Bridgegate scandal has been dogging Christie for months, and some believe it is threatening any chance the governor may have of running for president in 2016.