TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie claims no involvement in "Bridgegate"
despite spending hours with his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne
Kelly, on the day Kelly was receiving messages related to the shutdown
of George Washington Bridge lanes.
The head of the New Jersey
Assembly panel investigating the politically motivated lane closures
said that's a reason Christie's claim to have been unaware of the plot
is "not credible."
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fired by Christie last week, was the one who gave the code red shutdown
order to a Christie appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, saying it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
the traffic jams in place, Kelly spent time on her personal e-mail
account receiving messages from authority officials on what to tell
reporters on Sept. 12, the day she later accompanied Christie in
response to the Seaside Heights, N.J., boardwalk fire.
the rest of the day with the governor at the fire scene at the Seaside
boardwalk," Assemblyman John Wisniewski said Sunday in an appearance on Face The Nation
on CBS. "This senior aide, who was with him that day, who sent the
order, never once communicated with him? It's unbelievable.''
a Middlesex County Democrat who is chairman of the Assembly
Transportation Committee, also said impeachment of Christie is possible
if it can be proved the Republican governor had direct involvement or
participation in the lane closures.
The most recent
impeachment of a U.S. governor occurred in 2009 when the Illinois House
voted 117-1 to oust Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges.
Christie's press office did not respond to request for comment.
has put Christie in a tight spot heading into his State of the State
address Tuesday and his inauguration speech next week, said Patrick
Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
should remember that Gov. Christie enjoyed a stellar 65% job-approval
rating in the December Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll.
Nothing that came out last week is going to totally wipe out that
positive view," said Murray. "Our polling all along has shown that few
New Jerseyans have a problem with the 'bullying' aspect of the
governor's personality. The real question is the degree to which his
integrity has taken a hit."
Wisniewski also said Sunday using
public property for political purposes is a crime. The lane closures in
September have appeared to be an effort by Christie's team to tie up
traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., over four days in September in a plot to
punish the town's Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, according to e-mails
and text messages made public last week.
STORY: Poll: Christie's approval rating at 65%
Assembly has the ability to do articles of impeachment" if necessary,
said Wisniewski, who added, "We're way ahead of that, though.''
documents show involvement of multiple Christie aides, including Regina
Egea, then director of the authorities unit, who was promoted last
month to become Christie's chief of staff.
On Sept. 9 Patrick
Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, complained in an e-mail that the closures created "dangers to
the public interest." That message was forward by Christie loyalist Bill
Baroni, deputy director of the Port Authority, to Egea three hours
after Foye's complaint. Foye is an appointee of New York Gov. Andrew
"I don't think it's credible for a governor to have his
chief of staff, his communication director, his deputy chief of staff,
his chief counsel, all involved in e-mail communications on the day this
took place and the days after, talking to not only the problems that
were created in Fort Lee but also talking about how to spin it to the
press. I don't think it's possible for all of those people to be
involved and know and for the governor to absolutely have no
communication," Wisniewski said.