NJ Politics Digest: Christie Says Trump Shouldn’t Speak to Mueller

Chris Christie and Donald Trump NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump shouldn’t speak to federal investigators who are looking into whether his campaign colluded with the Russian government and whether Trump obstructed justice, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, Christie said Trump shouldn’t sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, even if he’s innocent. “I would always counsel a client, at that level, not to talk,” Christie said. “I think the smart thing, especially for a principal — and the president is the largest of the principals in the government — if you’re ever going to talk, you wait until everything is over and everyone else has talked.”

In Washington, former Rep. Scott Garrett’s nomination to lead the Export-Import Bank went down in flames, as a Senate committee rejected his bid to run the federal agency. Later, the House passed a sweeping tax overhaul backed by Trump. Rep. Tom MacArthur was the only New Jersey member of the House to vote in favor of the tax bill.

And Governor-elect Phil Murphy announced that he will nominate Assemblywoman Marlene Caride to become the state’s next banking and insurance commissioner. He had nothing to say about a fast-tracked bill that would pad pensions for some politicians, notably Camden Mayor Dana Redd.

Quote of the Day: “Well, we got some good news today — [Scott] Garrett was voted down.”– Rep. Frank LoBiondo to Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. after the House passed a tax overhaul they opposed.

CHIP Reauthorization Takes Center Stage in New Jersey’s Third District
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3) voted in November to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2022, but his opponent in the race for New Jersey’s third congressional district, Andy Kim, has tied MacArthur to the current inaction on the bill in the Senate.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

MacArthur the Only NJ House Member to Vote Yes on GOP Tax Bill
All but one member of New Jersey’s 12-member House delegated voted against the national Republican tax plan on Tuesday, with Rep. Tom MacArthur breaking ranks with the rest of the state delegation (made up of 7 Democrats and 5 Republicans) to cast his vote in favor of a sweeping tax overhaul backed by President Trump.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Senate Tanks Garrett’s Ex-Im Bank Nomination
The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday rejected former Rep. Scott Garrett’s nomination to lead the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that assists in financing and facilitating trade between the U.S. and other nations.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Murphy Dodges Questions on Bill to Boost Pensions for Politicians
Governor-elect Phil Murphy on Tuesday declined to give an opinion on a bill that would boost pensions for politicians, even though a benefits task force he once chaired called for an end to pension padding by the politically connected.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Murphy to Nominate Caride to Lead Banking and Insurance Department
Governor-elect Phil Murphy will nominate Assemblywoman Marlene Caride to become the state’s next banking and insurance commissioner, putting a three-term assemblywoman in charge of creating his proposed public bank.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Phil Murphy to appoint former N.J. Turnpike boss to cabinet
Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will announce Wednesday he’s nominating former New Jersey Turnpike Authority executive director Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti as commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, NJ Advance Media has learned.
NJ.com Read more

Legal Bid to Stop $200M State Bonds for Controversial Trenton Construction
A group of Trenton residents that includes a top city official, a sitting state lawmaker and the city’s former mayor is suing Gov. Chris Christie’s administration in a bid to block the state from issuing more than $200 million in new debt to finance the construction of government office buildings in Trenton.
NJ Spotlight Read more

Murphy says nuclear plants should keep running, stops short of taking stance on subsidy bill
As a lame-duck bill granting nuclear subsidies heads to the finish line, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has yet to take a hard stance on the issue, despite pressure from environmental groups.
Politico Read more

Mayor fired from bi-state authority’s deputy director job
Saying he was no long the right person for the job, the Delaware River and Bay Authority Tuesday fired the New Jersey man who has served as the agency’s deputy executive director since 2009.
NJ.com Read more

Police, fire arbitration cap to expire – but for how long?
Good news for those advocating the extension of a 2 percent cap on the raises arbitrators can award police officers and firefighters: Senate President Stephen Sweeney says it could happen by mid-January, depending on what it says in a task force’s final report.
NJ101.5 Read more

As G.O.P. Celebrates House Vote, New York and New Jersey Lawmakers Say No
Amid the cheers and gavel-pounding among Republicans on Tuesday at the passage of the tax bill in the House, there was a Northeastern accent to the party’s dissenters, with nine lawmakers from New York and New Jersey bucking the consensus to vote no.
New York Times Read more

NJ home sales: Will the tax bill hurt them?
New Jersey’s home values in some markets could take a 10 percent hit under the tax overhaul nearing a vote in Congress, according to a new report.
The Record Read more

Christie may leave office with this part of his legacy intact
Gov. Chris Christie appears on pace to leave office next month with at least one perfect mark: a flawless veto record.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Moves to Outlaw Bump Stocks
“Bump stocks,” devices that can convert regular rifles and semi-automatic guns into assault weapons, are in the process of being banned for sale or possession by the state Legislature. The device was used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, the tragedy in Las Vegas about two months ago.
NJSpotlight Read more

Editorial: Legislators lay lame-duck egg on pensions
Whenever New Jersey’s politicians talked of pension reform, we thought they were talking about ways to improve the pension system, i.e., by making it more solvent and fair, and perhaps by asking the start’s large corps of public employees to contribute more, or even switch to a 401(k) type retirement plan going forward. We didn’t bank on a form of “pension reform” – or let’s be honest, pension padding – that includes taking care of the political class first.
The Record Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Christie Says Trump Shouldn’t Speak to Mueller