Giuliani: Christie Victim of 'Partisan Witch Hunt'

Sunday, 19 Jan 2014 12:54 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A New Jersey assemblyman leading the investigation behind the growing bridge-gate scandal should step down because he's already made up his mind on Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Gov. Rudy Giuliani said.

"It seems to me [Democratic Assemblyman Wisniewski] has an ethical obligation to step down," Giuliani, a long-time friend of Christie's, told NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory Sunday. "It is clearly a partisan witch hunt."

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Wisniewski, also on the Sunday show, was careful to say that there have "absolutely" been no documents that show Christie himself, and not his senior aides, were involved with September closures on the George Washington Bridge. The closures were allegedly in retribution for the Fort Lee mayor's refusal to support Christie's re-election.

However, Wisniewski said he still finds it hard to believe Christie's claims that he knew nothing of the plan.

Those statements, Giuliani said, show that Wisniewski, who is leading state lawmakers' probe into the bridge closures, has already made up his mind.

"There are no facts on the table to contradict Gov. Christie," said Giuliani. "The person conducting the investigation has already announced the conclusion of the investigation."

Further, Giuliani said that he believes the claims being made against the governor are part of a "very well-orchestrated effort" against the only Republican who is coming out ahead of potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in polls about the 2016 race.

Meanwhile, Christie has handled the blossoming scandal well, said Giuliani, including holding his lengthy press conference and firing the people behind the closing.

Giuliani also said Sunday he has some doubts about claims made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer over the weekend that Christie's administration withheld Superstorm Sandy relief money from her city after she refused to approve a redevelopment project he favored.

"Mayor Zimmer said before that she didn't believe any hold-ups had anything to with her not endorsing [the project]," said Giuliani. "You have to look at her current statement in light of her former statements."

Wisniewski, though, said Zimmer is a "well-respected mayor" and investigators need to give her allegations serious thought.

"She is one of the first mayors to come forward and say this specific thing happened," said Wisniewski.

Meanwhile, Giuliani said that every public official has to worry about his or her staff going too far when trying to please their boss.

"The president says he didn't know what happened with the IRS [targeting of conservative groups] and I believe that's true," said Giuliani, noting that when he was in office, "people would do the things they thought I wanted, and I'd have to straighten it out."

But Wisniewski said that "abusing power should not be condoned. We're going to look and see who else in his office knew."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, appearing on the show's round table segment, said that if Christie is going to run for office, he's "got to understand that this is a marathon. This could go on for six to nine months."

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