Giuliani calls investigation of Christie a ‘partisan witch hunt’

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said Sunday that the New Jersey legislature's investigation into the bridge scandal tied to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inner circle "clearly is a partisan witch hunt."

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Giuliani (R) said Christie's response to the controversy could prove beneficial in a potential 2016 presidential run. "He's given an example of a leader taking responsibility for something that was, no question about it, wrong," he said.

Giuliana also said the scandal does not confirm Democratic suggestions that Christie (R) has shown a pattern of political bullying.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) of Hoboken, N.J., on Saturday accused the Christie administration of threatening to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds from her city if it did not approve a private redevelopment project.

New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), who is leading a probe into the scandal surrounding the closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge at For Lee, N.J., said: "We have to give the allegations serious thought, because it is a pattern that we've heard time and time again throughout New Jersey."

"Meet the Press" host David Gregory questioned Wisniewski about why many Democratic politicians who once voiced approval of Christie are now coming out against the governor when he seems vulnerable.

"Mayor Zimmer was one of those elected Democrats early on who has always said very nice things," Wisniewski said. "I'm not sure what caused Mayor Zimmer to wait until now."

Wisniewski said New Jersey's legislative investigators are not after proof that Christie knew about his staff's controversial dealings in the lane closures.

"We want to make sure this can't happen again," Wisniewski said. "The fact that four people lost their jobs over it doesn't stop this kind of abuse from happening again. We have to change the laws. The only way we can do that is to find out how that happened in the first place."

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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Josh Hicks · January 19, 2014

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