TRANSCRIPT: Major Garrett's interview with NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski

MAJOR GARRETT: We turn not to New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is the Democrat leading a state investigation into those lane closures on the George Washington bridge last September.  Assemblyman, good to have you with us.

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: Major, good to be here.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: React to Mayor Giuliani.  He says you have prejudged this investigation and are unfit and lack credibility.

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI : He's prejudged everything that's been said.  What I've said is I have skepticism about the governor's statement.  I haven't said that the governor has responsibility for this.  I haven't said that the governor knew when this was happening.  That's something Mr. Wildstein said.  We've I've said is the governor made a statement about when he knew, and I said that I have my doubts about that timeline.  He could've known at any time, but I have my doubts about what he said.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Your committee will begin receiving information tomorrow, subpoenas and other data.

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: That's right.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Will you release it publicly?  How will you process it and what is it going to mean?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: We're not going to release it publicly at the beginning.  The committee needs to see it, evaluate it, decide what next steps have to be taken.  Are there other subpoenas?  Do we bring people in for testimony?  Ultimately this will become part of a public record.  It's too early to say when that will be.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: When will it get to the state attorney?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: I don't know.  I mean, that's up to them.  They're running a separate investigation.  The U.S. Attorney's office has been sending subpoenas out.  They do their own thing.  We're doing our own parallel investigation.  Remember, ours is a legislative inquiry.  It's not a law enforcement inquiry.  We want to fix the problems that led to this abuse of power.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Impeachment, resignation-- what do those words mean to you in the context of your investigation?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: One word, premature.  There's a lot of talk about that.  People are asking the hypotheticals.  We don't have enough facts to even get to that conversation.  We need to get all the facts on the table.  We need to make decisions about who knew what when.  And when that's done, maybe it might be appropriate at that time to have that conversation.  But clearly we're way ahead of that right now.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Rudy Giuliani called this tantalizing, this promise of evidence.  Do you believe what happened on Friday constitutes a major breakthrough in this case?  Or possibly just immunity shopping?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: I'm not sure.  I mean, I think it's an interesting question because the words used in the letter were carefully crafted to say that his client knows of facts or information that would contradict the governor.  It doesn't say that he's in possession of it.  I mean, the question I had naturally is, we had a subpoena out to him.  If he has stuff, it should have come to the committee.  So maybe this is material he doesn't have possession of.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Do you believe there is any risk in criminalizing hardball government in your investigation?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: No, I think New Jersey politics is played as hard as it get anywhere.  But when you cross the line, when you use public resources to exact what appears to be a political vendetta against the mayor of Fort Lee, that crosses a line and it shouldn't be allowed to happen.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Will you call the governor to testify before your committee?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: We're not there yet.  We don't have any reason to do that.  We need to find out the facts about who else in his office had knowledge.  How did this get authorized?  We don't have any answers to those questions, and so we need to take it one step at a time.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: What is the next move your committee will make as far as getting this tantalizing evidence?  How are you going to get it and what do you think it might lead to?

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: Well, I'd like to see the material that Mr. Wildstein's attorney talked about.  We need to get all of the subpoena documents that we're supposed to start receiving tomorrow and start answering some of the questions that are out there.  Why did Bridget Kelly send this email that closed the lanes?  Who gave her the authority to send that email?  What made her believe it was okay?  There's a lot of unanswered questions that will then determine the next step the committee takes.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: Assemblyman John Wisniewski, New Jersey legislature, heading the committee looking into Governor Christie's tactics and actions, thank you very much for joining us.

 

JOHN WISNIEWSKI: Okay, thank you.

 

MAJOR GARRETT: And we'll be back in just one minute.
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