Dem to Michigan gov: ‘Plausible deniability only works when it’s plausible’

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Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) tore into Michigan’s Republican governor Thursday and accused him of repeatedly ignoring Flint’s cries for help with its contaminated water.

Cartwright repeatedly pushed Gov. Rick Snyder to admit to seeing or hearing numerous signs of Flint’s water crisis and problems related to lead, bacteria, E. coli and other problems with the city’s water.

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“You admit here today that even after the whole world knew that even after Flint residents were exposed to unimaginable levels of lead, you did not declare a state of emergency until January 2016. Is that true?” Cartwright, a former trial attorney, asked Snyder.

Cartwright was the first Democrat on the House Oversight Committee to question Snyder, who oversaw the emergency managers who controlled Flint’s city government during the switch, as well as the state environmental agency that downplayed city residents’ complaints.

Snyder maintained that, due to environmental experts covering up Flint’s problems, he did not know about the contamination until October 2015, a year and a half after complaints began.

After increasingly angry questions, Cartwright tore into Snyder and accused him of being willfully ignorant of the problem in his own administration.

He called on Snyder to resign and called into question the governor’s claim that he did not know about the lead levels in the water until October 2015.

“Gov. Snyder, plausible deniability only works when it’s plausible. And I’m not buying that you didn’t know about any of this until October 2015,” Cartwright said.

“You were not in a medically induced coma for a year. And I’ve had about enough of your false contrition and your phony apologies.”

Cartwright pointed out that former Environmental Protection Agency official Susan Hedman resigned, and said her responsibility for the Flint crisis is a small sliver of Snyder’s culpability.

“Pretty soon, we will have men who strike their wives saying, ‘I’m sorry, dear, but there were failures at all levels,’” Cartwright said, to audible gasps from the hearing room.

“People who put dollars over the fundamental safety of the people do not belong in government. And you need to resign, too, Gov. Snyder.”