Giuliani: Bridgegate a 'witch hunt'
January 19th, 2014
02:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Giuliani: Bridgegate a 'witch hunt'

Washington (CNN) - One prominent Republican who isn't concerned about the controversy over the George Washington Bridge scandal is Rudy Giuliani.

The former Republican presidential candidate and New York City mayor dismissed the forthcoming investigation into the flap as a "partisan witch hunt." Charges that the closing of lanes was politically motivated have enveloped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration - and potentially his presidential ambitions.

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"There are no facts on the table that contradict Gov. Christie," Giuliani told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"Every fact seems to indicate that Gov. Christie is telling the truth," he added.

A series of e-mails and text messages disclosed earlier this month showed senior members of the governor's staff created a traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey, apparently to retaliate against a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie during his re-election campaign. Two top appointees at the Port Authority closed a pair of access lanes from the town to the bridge, causing days of gridlock. The scandal has already caused multiple resignations and prompted Christie to fire his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly.

In both a press conference and his state of the state address, Christie denied any knowledge of the scheme and told reporters staff members lied to him about their involvement in the gridlock.

Giuliani took direct aim Sunday at the lawmaker set to lead the investigation of the scandal, John Wisniewski, calling for the state assemblyman to step down as head of the inquest. The former mayor said Wisniewski has already contaminated the inquiry by announcing, up front, he does not believe Christie.

"He's no longer an impartial arbiter of the facts," Giuliani said. "He should not be handling this investigation."

Giuliani said he has no reason to doubt Christie, and any attack on the Governor is a partisan maneuver by Democrats fearful the New Jersey boss could win the White House in 2016.

"This is a very, very well orchestrated Democratic, kind of, organization effort to hurt Gov. Christie, who after all was the only Republican beating Hillary Clinton in any poll," Giuliani said.

Also appearing on "Meet the Press," Wisniewski swatted at any insinuation his investigation stems from political motivations.

"This is not preordained and we have no connection to Gov. Christie," Wisniewski said of the investigation.

Wisniewski said he found it hard to believe that the governor, in the middle of an election cycle, did not know it if members of his staff were busy plotting petty vengeance. But he said the legislative investigation remains focused on following the trail and finding out who else, if anyone, in his office knew about the plot. The Democratic assemblyman scoffed at any talk of impeachment as premature and reiterated that nothing currently connects the governor to the scandal.

"There's no connection that he knew or that he directed it," Wisniewski said.

Wisniewski, formerly the chair of the state's Democratic Party, pointed to the origins of the initial reports that the snarl in Fort Lee was more than just an unfortunate traffic jam as evidence the investigation is not partisan.

"This story, interestingly enough, didn't start with Democrats. It started with The Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal paper," Wisniewski said.

State Democrats dismissed Giuliani's attack on Wisniewski as overblown rhetoric. In a statement, a spokesman for Assembly Democrats labeled Giuliani as an "uninformed critic" while citing Wisniewski's bipartisan dealings, which have earned him praise from his Republican colleagues.

"Rudy Giuliani quite simply has no idea what he's talking about,” spokesman Tom Hester Jr. said.

Giuliani, the one-time 2008 Republican primary favorite, also said that Christie's performance should embolden his colleagues to rally behind the executive. Giuliani presented Christie's actions as a benchmark for conduct in the wake of a scandal.

"He's given a textbook case in how to handle it, stand up, answer the questions, hold people accountable," Giuliani said.

Filed under: Chris Christie • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Harold Read

    ObamaBots needs the public to be distracted from how bad Obamacare really is.
    Commence with the public flogging...

    January 19, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Mr My Way

    Shut up Rudy. You have become such a joke.

    January 19, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. ja

    If the broom fits then you are witch, this man committed terrorism, with bridgegate, if the Taliban pull the stunt, that is the label we would assign

    January 19, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. Tony in Maine

    Good grief – two sentences in a row without "9/11."

    Rudy – just shut up and go away. you bother me.

    January 19, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. Norma Vessels

    There's plenty of smoke in the Governor's administration. Investigators are going in to see if there's a fire. I can almost feel the heat.

    January 19, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |

    Fast and Furious,Benghazi and the IRS scandals are witch hunts. The hair on fire Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts constantly squawk about them. Nobody listens to them.

    January 19, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. S. B. Stein

    The problem is that Guiliani is a partisan who will support Christie as far as he can. If we could get a clear understanding without the need of the subpoenas, that would have people voluntarily come forward to tell what Christie want or how they perceived his desires.

    January 19, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Smart

    No, Christie's actions that he takes against people that don't support him is a witch hunt. How in the world can anyone try to defend that?? Only Politicians of the same party...

    January 19, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. mrmanhattan

    Who is this guy?

    January 19, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Guliani who ?

    January 19, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    I see when a republican is under investigation its a " witch hunt"
    So tell me Mr. Guiliani why aren't the IRS, fast and furious, Benghazi ( latter specifically directed as HRC) not witch hunts?
    If as you so ardently propose Chris Chrsitie Is innocent and whiter than white, neither you nor he ( or your party) has anything to worry about. same as Issa attempting to show Obama involvement in all three above and failing miserably. But that must proceed he's a democrat for gods sake and a man of ...or!!

    January 19, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. Deke

    Rudy would know. The GOP has been leading witch hunts against the Democrats for years (Whitewater, Monica-gate, Birthers, etc.). Surely a Republican would know a witch hunt when he sees one.

    January 19, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  13. just asking

    faux scandals
    Two years of Faux News Benghazi Investigations and still nothing, now that's a witch hunt.

    nothing? the democrat controlled senate committee looking into it just issued a scathing report that said the total incompetence of the obama administration and especially the hillary clinton headed state department got those 4 americans killed needlessly. of course, they name no names because the corrupt democrat party protects obama and hillary clinton, but the facts of their total incompetence are there for all to see. you of course refuse to even read it and continue to drink the koolaide.

    January 20, 2014 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  14. Tony D

    In the end, Democrats will have nothing against Christie and he will be a stronger candidate for having withstood this Democrat witch hunt. Good job Democrats. And the Democrats will have who? A 70 year old Hillary Clinton whose only accomplishment is to have slept with a former President as many others did! So I guess that also makes them just as qualified to run for President.

    She has no experience running anything. She obviously couldn't have been running the State Dept. because one of her direct reports was killed in Benghazi and to date she has not disclosed anything whatsoever about her knowledge, actions and whereabouts during the event. It is like she was never there. What a miracle huh?

    January 20, 2014 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  15. quinLee

    I watched this guy being interviewed when the Christie story first broke and the first thing out of his mouth was Benghazi. I guess the one trick pony has found a new word to replace 911.

    January 20, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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