Christie calls for Weinberg, Wisniewski to turn over DNC emails

August 2, 2016 GMT

Governor Christie on Tuesday called for an investigation of the two lawmakers who led the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal after leaked emails showed at least one of them communicated with the Democratic National Committee about public statements critical of the governor.

Christie also said he wants the two Democrats – Sen. Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck and Assemblyman John Wisniewski of Middlesex County – to turn over all their emails they have sent to or received from the committee since they opened the investigation in 2014 through today.

And if the two were found to have used state resources to advance the committee’s agenda, Christie said that “where appropriately, they should be charged.”

A trove of emails leaked last week by the independent media organization Wikileaks showed that a Democratic National Committee staff member wrote a news release for Weinberg in which she calls for Christie to resign after accepting the position of White House transition chair for Republican nominee Donald Trump. Weinberg told a committee staffer that she was not comfortable with doing so and did not send the release.

The committee then crafted a new release on May 9, which NJ.com reported Tuesday was similarly worded to a May 11 quote Weinberg gave to Politico New Jersey. Weinberg told PolitickerNJ, who first reported the correspondence, that she does “not recall ever getting a request like that from the DNC,” using the committee’s acronym.

“If the DNC was coordinating what was going on in response to the transition chairman, imagine what the email back and forth traffic was in January 2014 between the DNC and the two supposed co-chairs of that investigation committee. I believe they need to be investigated,” Christie said. “I think we need to see whether taxpayer money was used to advance either DNC’s political agenda to attack me right after my re-election. I think we need to see whether Sen. Weinberg and Assemblyman Wisniewski used legislative staffers in order to be able to forward the DNC’s political agenda.”

Christie chastised the media Tuesday for its “non-vigilance” of Weinberg, one of his biggest critics in the Legislature. She and Wisniewski co-chaired the joint legislative panel investigating the bridge lane closures, finding Christie had no knowledge or involvement of the traffic plot that prosecutors say was politically motivated.

The document dump by Wikileaks has already had damaging consequences for Democrats. The committee’s chairwoman, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned in the wake of the release after emails showed the committee had a bias toward Clinton and against her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Christie said that if his name were included in the emails that were released, the news media would have been “yelling and screaming at me at every event to answer these questions to come clean,” and demanding reporters to “do your job.”

“If what they were doing was pursuing a political agenda orchestrated and directed by the Democratic National Committee, then they need to be held to account for that, and that people of the state need to know that that’s what was going on – that it was not some white-knighted investigation, but instead it was one with a political agenda,” Christie said.

Email: racioppi@northjersey.com