DES MOINES, Iowa (CBSNewYork/AP) — When asked at the Republican presidential debate Thursday night about the Bridgegate scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reiterated his claims that he knew nothing – and went on to suggest that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton would be the one to face prosecution.
Former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official Bill Baroni and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly face federal charges for allegedly orchestrating the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge closures in 2013, for revenge against Fort Lee’s mayor for not endorsing Christie. They have pleaded not guilty. Former Port Authority official David Wildstein pleaded guilty and is expected to testify for the government.
As part of his plea, Wildstein said the closures were meant to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Christie, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, hasn’t been charged and has disavowed any prior knowledge of the scheme.
When asked about it by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace Thursday night, he repeated that he had known nothing and had taken action against those involved.
“There’s been three different investigations that have proven that I knew nothing, and the fact is that what I did do from the beginning, as soon as I found out about it, I fired the people who are responsible,” Christie said. “And that’s what you expect from a leader.”
Christie went on to tout his own record in New Jersey and attribute his successes to conservative values. He said the state has had the best job growth in 15 years because his administration “beat down” the Democratic policies of “high taxation and regulation.”
Christie then turned the discussion to Clinton and the investigation of her unusual use of a private email account and server while in government, suggesting that she could be prosecuted for it.
“There is no one that is better prepared to prosecute against Hillary Clinton than I am,” Christie said.
He said he would ensure that the Clintons never again got near the White House if he were elected president.
“The days of the Clintons in public housing are over,” Christie said.
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