Lead Dem on bridge investigation questions Christie's statement

A top Democratic investigator into the George Washington Bridge lane closures as possible political retribution by allies of Gov. Chris Christie questioned the Republican's assertion that he had no knowledge of his top aide’s role in the closures.

New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D), the Democrat leading the investigation into the closures, told The Hill that Christie’s admission that he had no knowledge of what was going on in his office was unusual for the governor.

“It’s certainly not in keeping with the accepted and understood method on how the governor’s office has operated,” he said, when asked whether he believed Christie’s claim.

“This is a very tightly-run operation, in which there is a high degree of centralized control. And for the first time, we’re supposed to believe that there are independent rogue operators in his office?” he added.

Christie responded earlier Wednesday to emails that emerged linking his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and Port Authority official David Wildstein, a Christie official, that suggested Kelly gave the go-ahead for Wildstein to order two lanes on the bridge closed for four days in September, which snarled traffic in Fort Lee.

Democrats have suggested the closures were political retribution against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, who refused to endorse Christie for his reelection fight.

On Wednesday evening, Christie issued a statement that said he had been “misled” by his staffer on the situation.

“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged an deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge,” he said.