In the midst of several overlapping scandals, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took to the airwaves of New Jersey 101.5 to answer audience questions and once again denied involvement in the plot to close down the George Washington Bridge. Christie emphasized that “nobody has said that I knew” and continued to deny having any knowledge.
Christie appeared on the radio show, a regular feature of 101.5 called “Ask the Governor,” and took questions for an hour about everything from local ordinances to education reform. His appearance followed a tumultuous weekend in which former senior aide and Port Authority official David Wildstein, through his attorney, asserted that “evidence exists” linking Christie to knowledge that the lanes connecting the bridge to suburban Fort Lee had been closed. Naturally, the question came up during the talk with host Eric Scott, who asked the Governor, “what in particular do you dispute in Wildstein’s account?”
Christie narrowed down the question to one issue: “Did I know anything about a plan to close these lanes? Did I authorize it, did I know about it?” On that question, Christie answered, “unequivocally ‘no.'” He added that, in addition to his denial, “no one has ever accused me of that.” “Nobody has said that I knew anything about this before it happened, and I think that’s the most important question,” he reiterated. Wildstein’s new claim is that Christie knew as it was happening, but did not specify whether Christie knew that the bridge closing was politically motivated.
In discussing the scandal later on, Christie touched on another facet of the situation: the federal government’s involvement. While the New Jersey Legislature is conducting its own investigation into the bridge lane closings in which it received a host of new documents Monday, Christie confirmed last night that the federal government is also conducting an independent investigation of his office. “We are complying with that in the same way we are complying with the legislative subpoenas,” he explained, adding that his office will “comply and cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s inquiry into this.”
In a post-game analysis of Christie’s comments on the program, Scott noted that the governor has left himself “no wiggle room” in denying the allegations and admitting that there is, in fact, a federal investigation of his office underway. This echoes the conventional wisdom on the entire bridge affair: the only way for Christie to escape barely scathed is to be proven honest throughout the entire ordeal, without anything close to a distortion of the truth uncovered.
Watch a recap of Christie’s one-hour appearance on 101.5 below: