POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Christie Announces Matching Funds for Sandy-Ravaged Towns, Talks Presidential Campaign and Future

Starting Monday, 405 towns savaged by Superstorm Sandy can apply to get reimbursed for the money they spent on disaster recovery projects in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Gov. Chris Christie stepped away from the Trump campaign to announce $42 million in matching grant funds. NJTV News Correspondent David Cruz was in Toms River. He spoke with Anchor Mary Alice Williams.

Cruz: Hi Mary Alice. Hard to believe that October will mark four years since Superstorm Sandy landed here in New Jersey. Usually on a Friday the governor will just use this time for a news dump — information and news that he doesn’t want to share with. But today there was actually some good news for folks, like folks here in Toms River. What this program does is it matches the 10 percent that towns had to pay when the 90/10 split from FEMA. And so this 10 percent was coming out of local towns’ taxpayers. And so, starting Monday as you said, this program will give towns, for instance like Toms River, they’ll receive $2 million. And Ocean County will receive $10 million. The theory being that since the state is chipping in this money, the local taxpayers won’t have to pay. Although since the state is chipping in and the state is mostly funded by taxpayers, it’s kind of switching the burden a little bit but still for folks in Toms River, good news today.

Williams: OK. But Gov. Christie didn’t stay too far away from the Trump campaign, which has taken so much of his time, right?

Cruz: Yeah, absolutely not. There was a lot of talk today about the Trump campaign and the governor’s role in it. Earlier this week, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, said that Chris Christie had played a big influence in the Trump campaign, particularly as it pertained to Trump’s immigration stance. He said that it had been softened on the advice of Chris Christie. We asked the governor about that today and essentially he said he doesn’t advise and tell:

Christie: There are two things that make an adviser valuable — the quality of their advice and the depth of their discretion. There is no reason for me to be talking about what I tell Donald Trump and the only reason I would tell you what I’m talking to Donald Trump about is if I wanted to make sure that I got credit for the advice I gave. I seek no credit for the advice I give, except from the person that I give it to.

Cruz: Continuing on the theme of Donald Trump and Chris Christie, earlier this week Donald Trump suggested that a special prosecutor should be impaneled to look into Hillary Clinton’s role while she was secretary of state as it pertains to the Clinton Foundation, some close ties there. The governor, we asked him whether a special prosecutor should be impaneled. Donald Trump said earlier this week that it should. And today, Chris Christie agreed:

Christie: I believe a special prosecutor is necessary for two reasons. One because I think it needs to be investigated and secondly, the United States attorney general has shown herself to be so compromised through her private meetings with … the former president of the United States and the fact that she was appointed by the former president of the United States to be U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, she’s compromised. She’s so compromised that she couldn’t even bring herself to make the announcement that Hillary Clinton was not going to be prosecuted. She dished that off to the FBI director — unprecedented. That never happens. Prosecutors make decisions about who’s going to be prosecuted and make the announcement, not FBI agents.

Cruz: Next month the trial for those individuals accused of participating in the GWB lane closures will begin. There have been a lot of motions and counter-motions all over the last couple of weeks. There was discussion this week as a matter of fact about whether or not Chris Christie might be subpoenaed to appear at the trial. We asked him today if he was subpoenaed whether or not he would appear, and he said that he would:

Christie: If I’m served with a proper and appropriate subpoena, I comply with the subpoena. Just the way I’ve cooperated from minute one, voluntarily, in every aspect of the three different investigations that people have had into this that to this point still, and never will, show that I had any involvement in this because I didn’t.

Cruz: One last thing, Mary Alice, a little bit of news, we asked and have been asking the governor about what his future plans may be. He reiterated again today that he plans to go into the private sector so that he can make some real money. He added today — and I don’t think he’s announced this anywhere else — that his wife, First Lady Mary Pat Christie, is retiring and that she’s going to stay at home and be a stay-at-home mom now and have Chris Christie go out and make himself an honest living. Mary Alice?

Williams: Thank you, David.