Christie Staffer Subpoenaed in Bridgegate Probe Resigns
It just keeps getting worse for embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. First, he gets booed at Saturday’s Super Bowl press conference, just for showing up. Then the Democratic National Committee releases a Super Bowl-themed online ad, warning omniously that it's “just the first quarter” in the Bridgegate scandal. Now, one of Christie's staffers, who has been subpoenaed in the ongoing investigation into the lane closures, has resigned. Unbelievably, though, there are some who are still rallying for his support.
Christina Genovese Renna — the governor’s director of intergovernmental affairs — is one of the 17 people close to Christie who's been subpoenaed by a legislative panel investigating September's George Washington Bridge lane closings. She left on Friday, the same day former Port Authority official David Wildstein claimed that evidence existed proving that the governor knew of the lane closures, allegedly created for political payback.
Renna is the second person to leave Christie's office since Bridgegate exploded. Her superior, former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, was fired by Christie last month, after subpoenaed documents seemed to show Kelly, along with Wildstein, orchestrating the Fort Lee lane closures. But Renna is maintaining that her decision to leave has nothing to do with the scandal.
“This reflects a decision I have been considering since shortly after the election,” Renna said in a statement. (Christie was elected to a second term last November.) “I have spent almost four years working hard for a governor I continue to respect and admire. The transition from term one to term two is a natural time to pursue an opportunity in the private sector."
Her decision is understandable. A Rutgers Eagleton poll shows that 64 percent of New Jersey voters see the governor as a bully — only 27 percent think he's trustworthy. Overall, despite a short lag, his approval rating is now at the lowest it's been since May 2011, at only 48 percent. Four months ago, that approval rating was at 62 percent.
In spite of this, certain members of the GOP continue to push for his political survival. Regarding reports that Christie knew of the lane closures, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that Wildstein is likely just looking for immunity from prosecution. "The governor has denied it," said Giuliani. "There’s no evidence to suggest he’s not telling the truth."
Monday could bring out any such evidence, if it exists. The investigating committee has demanded thousands more documents and emails relating to the closures, and — if there is anything in there that implicates the Governor — you can bet your ass it won't stay secret for long. As to Renna, it's not clear whether she's planning on responding to her subpoena.