Drewniak later testified that Wildstein said on Dec. 4 that he told Christie about the traffic issue during a Sept. 11 anniversary event. The press secretary said he informed the governor of the statement on Dec. 5, more than a week before the Dec. 13 press conference where the governor said he had questioned his senior staff about any involvement and was assured none of his circle had any part in the traffic debacle.So, according to Drewniak's testimony, the governor's office had been told about the involvement of of administration staffers but didn't think anything improper had happened because they assumed Democrats were simply being partisan. Not only that, but Drewniak acknowledges that Wildstein said he was involved—and that he claimed to have told Christie of his involvement, a conversation that Christie says he doesn't remember.
Christie has said he doesn’t recall the Sept. 11 conversation with Wildstein.
According to Drewniak, none of that really matters, because even if the Christie administration did know more about what was happening than they originally acknowledged, they thought they were victims of partisan Democrats trying to exploit a traffic study. But if it was just a little traffic study, why would Wildstein have bothered to mention it to Christie while it was happening? Oh, right: Christie can't remember if Wildstein ever talked to him about it, so he doesn't need to answer that question. How convenient.
Drewniak's bottom line is that while it's true that there may have been more awareness inside the governor's office of what was going on than previously acknowledged, the important thing is that they failed to understand recognize that anything improper was taking place, so therefore they did nothing wrong. If you find it implausible that the governor's office could have been aware that administration staffers were involved in the lane closures without also recognizing that their staffers were up to no good, the only evidence Drewniak offers to convince you is this:
“Nobody would mock something as egregious as we now know transpired,” he said. “This governor — and none of the people around him — would never make a mockery of something so abusive on its face.”But that's a circular defense—Drewniak is saying that if they had known what was actually going on, they would have handled things differently. But they did know the facts of what was going on. At best, they failed to grasp the significance of those facts. At worst, they are a bunch of cowards trying to blame the entire episode on three rogue staffers. Neither scenario looks good for them.