Top Republicans say they stand by Christie

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TRENTON, N.J. -- High-profile Republicans were adamant Sunday that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should not resign from his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Association following a former ally's claim that there is evidence Mr. Christie knew about an apparently politically motivated traffic jam earlier than he has said.

The support from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin put Republicans on the offensive and the Democratic chairman of a state legislative committee investigating the September lane closures near the George Washington Bridge on the defensive on the day Mr. Christie's state was host to the Super Bowl.

Also on Sunday, a member of the Christie administration who was subpoenaed by lawmakers investigating the lane closings confirmed she had resigned. Christina Genovese Renna left the governor's office Friday, according to her lawyer. Ms. Renna had reported to ousted Bridget Kelly, the deputy chief of staff who apparently set the lane closings in motion with an email saying "time to cause some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Mr. Christie, a potential 2016 presidential contender, has been dealing with Super Bowl ceremonial duties and has not taken questions about the scandal in recent days. He didn't respond Saturday when some spectators booed him at an appearance in New York City's Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," took aim at the credibility of two figures central to the scandal: John Wisniewski, who's leading the investigative probe, and David Wildstein, the former Christie loyalist who as an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last year ordered the lane closures after receiving Ms. Kelly's email, as someone with less than pure motives.

He said Mr. Wildstein "wants somebody else to pay his legal bills and he can't get them paid unless the governor is responsible."

The unannounced lane closures caused massive gridlock in Fort Lee in September, delaying emergency vehicles and school buses and tying up some commuters for hours over four mornings. The town is near the New Jersey approach to the George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River across to Manhattan.

New Jersey legislators are investigating whether Christie aides engineered the lane closures to send a message to the town's Democratic mayor. The U.S. attorney's office is also investigating.

Democrats have taken to other forums to bash the governor. The Democratic National Committee posted an online ad Sunday comparing Mr. Christie to a football player who seemed unstoppable before the scandal. "It's going to be a long game," the ad says.

By Saturday, Mr. Christie's allies were striking back after Mr. Wildstein's claim. The governor's team sent an email to politically plugged-in allies who might be in a position to defend Mr. Christie, bashing Mr. Wildstein and his accusations.

The statement Sunday from Ms. Renna's lawyer, Henry Klingeman, said she said been considering leaving since after the November election, which Mr. Christie won decisively.

Ms. Renna is among 17 people close to Mr. Christie subpoenaed by a legislative panel, almost all of whom have asked for extensions from today's deadline. She is the fifth person close to Mr. Christie to lose their job amid the scandal. The others have been fired or resigned.


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