The man leading the Bridgegate investigation, John Wisniewski, said on Face The Nation that Gov. Chris Christie could be impeached if he knew about the closures of the George Washington Bridge.
WISNIEWSKI: Good morning, Bob. And thanks for the opportunity to be here. I don’t think it’s credible for a governor to have his chief of staff, his communication director, his deputy chief of staff, all involved, his chief counsel all involved in email communications on the day this took place and the days after talking not only about the problems that were created in Fort Lee, but also talking about how to spin it to the press. I don’t think so it’s possible for all of those people to be involved and know and for the governor to absolutely have no communication. Remember, this was in the midst of his re-election campaign. Any governor running for re-election is going to want to know about problems that come up, if for no other reason, to know how to respond when asked a question. So these people got an e-mail from the executive director of the Port Authority saying that laws were broken. His chief counsel knew; his deputy chief of staff knew; his incoming chief of staff knew. It’s just strange credibility that they didn’t look at those documents and say, “We ought to let him know about it.”
SCHIEFFER: So, at this point, though, and you’re very early in your investigation, you don’t have any proof that he did know. But, from what you’re saying, if it proves that he did know, then what? Has a crime been committed here?
WISNIEWSKI: Well, whether he knew or not isn’t the issue of the crime. I mean, clearly, in my opinion, when you use the George Washington Bridge for what the e-mail showed to be a political payback, that amounts to using public property for a private purpose or for a political purpose, and that’s not legal. And so that constitutes a crime. Now, whether or not he was knowledgeable about it; whether he authorized it; whether he was involved in trying to spin it or cover it up, we don’t have any direct communication, e-mails, documents, that directly go to him. But…
SCHIEFFER: But he — if it turns out that this is, as you define it, a crime, could he be impeached, or what would be the penalty?
WISNIEWSKI: Well, I think we’re a little early on that, Bob. I think you pointed out at the beginning we’re at the early stages of this. But, clearly, if it becomes known that the governor was involved and he knew about it and he knew about the cover-up and he was approving the actions taken by his senior staff, that raises serious questions that the assembly ought to look at and that ought to be considered in light of what our responsibility is. The assembly has the ability to do articles of impeachment. We’re way ahead of that, though. Right now, we know that there are senior staffers in the governor’s office, Bridget Kelly, who sent the e-mail, his deputy chief of staff, on August 13, to close the lanes down. She spent the rest of the day with the governor at the fire scene at the Seaside boardwalk. And so, again, you know, this senior aide, who was with him that day, who sent the order, never once communicated with him? It’s unbelievable.
This is why Republicans are so desperate to make the Christie scandal go away. Their potential leading candidate for 2016 is one document or testified statement away from being finished as a national politician and as the governor of New Jersey. It would almost be better for Republicans if the smoking gun was found now. They would have plenty time to move on if it comes out now.
If Christie is the Republican nominee, and the media gets a hold of evidence that implicates him in 2016, the GOP will be stuck with a nominee that will be dead in the water. Of course, that is assuming that Christie will win the nomination, and that he wouldn’t get blown out against Hillary Clinton. Neither of these things is a given right now.
Chris Christie’s explanation for Bridgegate defies logic, common sense, and everything that is known about the man and his administration. Chris Christie is both damaged goods, and a political ticking time bomb. If Republicans nominate him, they shouldn’t surprised when it all blows up in their faces.