Gov. Christie Fires Back at NY Times and Wildstein

Gov. Chris Christie sent this email in response to the media flap caused by a letter written by the lawyer for David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official involved in the lane closure scandal who has been seeking an immunity deal and payment of his legal fees.

I had written a long post with a lot of links on this yesterday but it got eaten by the computer when I accidentally closed the tab before publishing it. I don't have time to rewrite it all, so I'll just say it made many of the same points Christie does about the letter.

The lawyer's letter, which was carefully and ambiguously worded, didn't prove anything, let alone that what Christie said at the news conference was false. Here's the transcript of Christie's Jan. 9 press conference. [More...]

It has also come to light that a person within the Christie administration communicated the Christie administration's order that certain lanes on the George Washington Bridge were to be closed, and evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference he gave immediately before Mr. Wildstein was scheduled to appear before the Transportation Committee. Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the Governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some.

The letter doesn't even allege to whom the Administration Order was communicated. If the lawyer meant it was communicated to Christie, why didn't he say so? And alleging evidence exists "tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge" isn't a claim there's evidence Christie did have knowledge. Why the word play?

The only statements of Christie the letter claims were inaccurate are those about Wildstein, not about the bridge closure. And the letter states Wildstein can only prove the inaccuracy of some of them.

Christie never said at the press conference he didn't know about the lanes being closed, he said he had no knowledge of the involvement of his office in the closures until the media reported it.

I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or it execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.

.... So what I can tell you is if people find that hard to believe, I don't know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this -- of the planning, the execution or anything about it -- and that I first found out about it after it was over.

And even then, what I was told was that it was a traffic study. And there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday that was brought to my attention or anybody else's attention.

... Q: But you can tell us that you do not authorize this kind of retribution.

GOV. CHRISTIE: Oh, absolutely not. No. And I knew nothing about this. And until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure, but even then I was told this was a traffic study.

...whether there was a traffic study or not, I don't know. It appeared that there was one based on what I saw in the testimony...

...I found this out at 8:50 yesterday morning. By 9:00 this morning, Bridget Kelly was fired. By 7:00 yesterday evening, Bill Stepien was asked to leave my organization.

I have no fondness for Chris Christie or his political views, but I agree him on this: "Bottom line - David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein." I expect the same from the now-fired Bridget Kelley and anyone else caught in the cross-hairs of the scheme.

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    You're right as usual, TL, but (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by scribe on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:35:21 AM EST
    I think your focus on the finer aspects of the back and forth is overlooking the bigger implications.  

    This is a case where the lawyer letter from Wildstein's lawyer is deliberately vague so as to not implicate or inculpate the client.  Wildstein is trolling desperately for (a) immunity and (b) getting his legal fees indemnified by the Port Authority.  His basic argument is "I was doing what I was within the scope of my employment" and therefore my fees should be paid.  FWIW, Wildstein's lawyer - Alan Zegas, is one of the better criminal defense lawyers in North Jersey and has been for going on 30 years.  So, I'll go with this being a very calculuated move to get to indemnification and keep the fire burning under Christie's ass.

    I would not be surprised if Wildstein deliberately held back some documents in his subpoena response.  This, for three reasons.  First, you're not going to give up your crown jewels and thereby (a) kill any negotiating leverage you might have and (b) let the others (folks you may need to roll on) build their self-exculpatory stories around what you reveal.  Second,  you're not going to tend to incriminate yourself - which is what I suppose the documents show.  Third, you want to have a story to tell if and when you get to (a) an impeachment hearing or (b) your criminal trial.

    Recall, also, that NJ's state Constitution both makes pretty explicit that impeachment and criminal proceedings are independent of each other, and that officeholders can be impeached up to 2 years after the end of their term.

    In particular, this point "(b) let the others (folks you may need to roll on) build their self-exculpatory stories around what you reveal" is quite important.  Bridget Kelly retained Gold Bars Luskin to defend her.  We all (those of us who've been around TalkLeft a while, anyway) remember how Luskin came up with someone who sort-of said they kinda remembered meeting Karl Rove in a bar and had some exculpatory story to tell about what they talked about, how Valerie Plame's secret job was common knowledge around DC.  That story was enough, we discovered when the judicial opinions were un-redacted, to move Rove from the category of "suspect" (he was named as such alongside Scooter Libby in the judicial opinion) to not.  

    One wonders where Bridget Kelly came up with the doubtless-huge retainer Luskin commands and where she came up with the idea to hire him out of all the attorneys in the world.  My suspcion there is that the Republican party - possibly Rove or someone close to him - decided to build their firewall around Christie at Kelly.  Recall, back in 2006 Christie was one of the US Attorneys on Kyle Sampson's draft "fire" list for being insufficiently predatory on Democrats.  Those paying attention then will remember that, after grand jury subpoenas started landing, very publicly, all over Bob Menendez' senate re-election campaign (well within the usual "grace period" designed to avoid affecting elections), Christie's name was removed from the "Fire" list.  

    In this regard, Christie's attacks on the strongest points of his opposition are straight out of Rove's playbook.  Not only is he going after his handpicked man at the Port Authority, but there's now also a lawsuit pending against the Hoboken Mayor and City by someone claiming they were lined up for firing and just happened to be wearing a wire when the converations all went on and all within the last couple weeks.

    So, I think the national Rethugs are still trying to save someone they saw as their best hope for winning in 2016.  And they're attacking to do so.

    Do you honestly believe that ... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:04:36 AM EST
    ... David Wildstein and Bridget Kelly acted on their own, and that Gov. Christie had no idea what was going on because his entire inner circle conspired to keep him in the dark?

    Right now, this is first and foremost a political issue, and not a criminal one -- at least, not yet, anyway. I've been involved in state-level politics and government for a long time, Jeralyn, and I'd like to think that I have a pretty good idea how your average governor's office operates. And quite frankly, Christie's version of events flies in the face of everything I know about that subject.

    There were simply too many other senior staffers working in the governor's chambers at the Statehouse, whom we know for a fact had been kept in the loop -- thanks to all the e-mail traffic -- as this incident and scandal unfolded. This includes Christie's incoming chief of staff, his campaign manager, his chief counsel and his communications director, not to mention his three appointees to the Port Authority, who were Wildstein, Michael Baroni and Authority Chair David Samson.

    You mean to tell me that not a single one of these people would have brought this issue to the governor's attention -- particularly when the State Senate Majority Leader was up in arms over the Ft. Lee traffic debacle because that's her district, and the Port Authority executive director had launched an internal investigation into the matter because his own authority had been circumvented?

    I'm sorry, but that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It flies in the face of both reason and long-established executive protocols, and Gov. Christie insults my intelligence with his woebegone tale of earnest ignorance. We've arrived at a zero-sum moment in this story, because only one of these people can be telling the truth here. And were I a betting man, my money would be on Wildstein and not Christie.

    If Christie really didn't know, then his entire political raison d'etre of competence and forthrightness has been exposed as a lie. If he doesn't resign, then he'll most certainly be the lamest of ducks with very little clout.

    But if Wildstein is telling the truth, and he and Ms. Kelly testify before the Legislature's investigating committee in the coming weeks that Gov. Christie did know what was going on, and there are others who will back them up, then Christie's two-hour December 2013 press conference is reduced to a grotesque display of political bull$H!+ as performance art, and he should be impeached and removed for a wanton and egregious abuse of power, including lying to the state legislature.


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:15:41 AM EST
    This is a political issue foremost.  And, while we can suspect that Christie was the ringleader of what appears to be an act of political vindictiveness, we need not speculate on the actions and lies of certain of his inner circle of staff--we have  Christies own words in support.

    And, having key staff absent of integrity, decency and minimal judgment skills is no testimonial to his executive skills, and, brings question to the culture of an operation where staff may believe that thuggish behavior will gain the nod of their boss.

    Now it may be that the political leached into the criminal, but I have faith in the criminal justice system to sort through that which is political malpractice and that which is relevant to criminal behavior.


    Substitute (none / 0) (#60)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:14:12 PM EST
    Obama for Christie and plenty seem happy to believe he knew nothing about the IRS, Benghazi, NSA, Fast and furious, etc etc.

    New style politics is to leave somebody between you and trouble that can be thrown under the bus.


    Substitute evidence and facts ... (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:32:57 PM EST
    ... for speculation and conspiracy theories from winger websites, and there's your difference.  Bridgegate is real, with actual evidence.  The only issue is whether Christie knew about it.

    Real (none / 0) (#63)
    by Slado on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 11:19:44 PM EST
    In your world I guess you decide what is real.

    That allows the hypocrisy to flow like a mountain stream.

    Christie is using the Obama I'm an idiot defense.   Unfortunately for him he doesn't have a media ready to play along.

    If Christie lied he will go down.   If he didn't the damage may already been done.  

    And thank goodness because this sort of evil must be stopped.   Hopefully this scandal will stop my highway bridge on the way to work from ever being closed to one lane again.   Then maybe just maybe some good will come of this dark moment in Americas history.


    No - in my world ... (none / 0) (#68)
    by Yman on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 06:12:34 AM EST
    ... REAL evidence is an email from a top staffer to a top appointee saying, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee".  It's a non-existent "traffic study" that no one had ever heard of.  In your world, "real" is some fantasy dreamed up on a winger website that's usually been debunked numerous times by media/independent fact checkers.  Oh wait ... that's right ... we have to trust wingnut websites and conspiracy theories over facts produced by actual journalists because the "liberal media" is in Obama's pocket.


    Don't you guys ever get tired of trying to blame the refs when your silly theories get shot down?  Do you think anyone but you buys it?


    Oh, enough already with Benghazi, IRS, etc. (none / 0) (#62)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 08:17:15 PM EST
    Repeating something over and over again doesn't make it any more real.

    Neither (none / 0) (#75)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:13:06 PM EST
    Does repeated denial make it less so. Benghazi will not go away quietly, not matter how great Obama and his minions attempt to cover it.

    The IRS taking political action is Nixon level dirty tricks, done with Clinton level disconnects.


    Nobody cares (none / 0) (#76)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 12:31:40 AM EST
    except a handful on the Right.

    This is just like the Right's complete certitude that the polls were wrong and Romney would win.  The Right talks to itself in loud crazed voices long enough that it talks itself into believing crack pot ideas are absolute certainty.   But it ain't so.


    You know what would be ... (none / 0) (#77)
    by Yman on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:04:49 AM EST
    Benghazi will not go away quietly, not matter how great Obama and his minions attempt to cover it.

    The IRS taking political action is Nixon level dirty tricks, done with Clinton level disconnects.

    ... a nice change of pace?  Actual facts and evidence to support your fairy tales.

    The reason you never post them is obvious ...


    You want facts (none / 0) (#83)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:55:03 AM EST
    Ask Obama to explain what he was doing.

    The big difference I see between Obama and Christie is that Christie fired the minions that made mistakes, and Obama promoted them.


    No, I want facts from YOU ... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:45:45 AM EST
    ... to support your silly fantasies.

    Without facts and evidence, that's all they are.


    What everyone else said. (none / 0) (#80)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:07:13 AM EST
    Where's your evidence, Mikado? All you do here is repeat GOP talking points ad nauseum, adding the occasional "Obama and his minions" as though that somehow cloaks your BS with a veneer of veracity. But the hard truth here is that you've been overdosing on too much AM squawk radio, and are simply channeling the ghost of the quasi-legendary right-wing conspiracy crackpot George Putnam.

    (Suffice to say that Richard Nixon considered Putnam his favorite news anchor, when the latter held sway at L.A.'s KTTV-TV Channel 11 News until 1975. And the late Ted Knight acknowledged that his Mary Tyler Moore Show alter ego, WJM-TV anchorman Ted Baxter, was based in large part on the bombastic but ignorant Putnam, who became a mainstay of L.A. squawk radio after his ouster from KTTV, and remained on the air until just before his death in 2008 at age 96.)



    I remember George (none / 0) (#84)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 03:00:18 AM EST
    Funny how "bad" he was is the new norm for news.

    Odd people here continue to claim I listen to AM radio, and I do not, nor do I watch any TV news. Usually I google stories, and research from as many sources as possible. Most often BBC or other less partisan than US sources, but also partisan US sources with as much doubt as possible.


    Right (none / 0) (#86)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:47:41 AM EST
    Like the Conservative Treehouse and their fantasy about the guy pulled over due to ALP readers.

    Saw (none / 0) (#87)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:30:07 PM EST
    the story at TCTH, where I am banned for being too liberal, but read the background materials from the source article. AFAIK still no official responses from MD.

    What helps is to separate wacky idea or opinion from information collection.


    The "background materials" ... (none / 0) (#89)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:39:43 AM EST
    ... like the story from the FL newspaper said nothing about him being pulled over due to ALPRs.  That was entirely your/CTH fantasy.

    where (none / 0) (#88)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:31:22 PM EST
    is your evidence I have listened to am "news".

    Christie's email attacking Wildstein for his (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:04:38 PM EST
    '"Tumultuous past" seems pretty desperate to me. I agree his political career is done.

    It was pretty funny, Rudy Guiliani on my tv this morning defending Christie with the 'wildstein will do anything to get a deal ' line, which may very well be true. Wasn't Guiliani a persecutor, who no doubt used such witnesses to get convictions? At least Jeralyn is consistent in her opinions of these kinds of deals.

    Paul Krugman's (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:56:00 PM EST
    observation on Christie's response about Wildstein: "... is it his (Christie's) position that this guy is scum. Everyone has always know he is scum since he was a teenager.  And, that;s why I appointed him to a major policy position?"

    I was going to mention that too (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 12:43:51 PM EST
    but had to verify for myself that Christie appointed him, as I thought he did. Christie's senior advisers must be really incompentent to let that email go out.  

    "[P]ersecuter?" We will discuss this (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 03:44:13 PM EST
    in NY!

    LOL, dang auto correct!!! (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:10:00 PM EST
    But if the shoe fits....;-)

    What matters (none / 0) (#1)
    by koshembos on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 02:45:46 AM EST
    Christie's political future doesn't depend on facts, but rather by perception. Clinton was investigated for years on a scandal that never happened.

    Wildstein says there is evidence he did.

    But this is alll about whether Christie remains Governor or goes to jail.

    His Presidential hopes are over.

    I am not clear what crimes (state or federal) (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 02:21:28 PM EST
    are potentially in play here that could lead anyone to "go to jail." Gross abuse of the power of office, yes; but my (insufficiently prosecutorial, perhaps) imagination is not identifying a crime.  What do you have in mind, BTD?

    You're not following the story obviously (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:22:15 AM EST
    Google, for example, Sandy aid Christie or Harrison Samson PATH.

    Unbelievable. (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 08:11:08 AM EST

    And this paragraph is near the end of the article (after info on land acquisition, votes, and special tax-exempt districts):

    Lawyers at Wolff & Samson are also currently helping the developer before the state Department of Environmental Protection, the mayor said. The property is contaminated and is listed as an "immediate environmental concern," meaning exposing people to contamination at levels that exceed public health standards, state records show.

    I think you misunderstood my question (none / 0) (#27)
    by Peter G on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 10:08:40 AM EST
    I wasn't asking what circumstances were under investigation.  I asked a legal question, what statutory violations you think might apply.  Googling the scandal in general terms is not going to address that issue.

    As for BridgeGate itself (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:23:02 AM EST
    Misuse of public facilities is a crime in New Jersey, as in most jurisdictions I imagine.

    Also Hoboken Rockefeller Group (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:24:41 AM EST
    And? (none / 0) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:21:29 PM EST
    At least with "Bridgegate," you gave a potentially actionable crime, "Misuse of public facilities."

    How does dropping the name of the developer, "Hoboken Rockefeller Group," answer Peter's question, "what crimes (state or federal) are potentially in play here that could lead anyone to "go to jail?"


    Treating federal Sandy aid money as the ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 03:38:57 PM EST
    ... equivalent of a political slush fund, for starters.

    In this particular case, this would be the leveraging of federal relief funds to the city of Hoboken with its mayor's prior approval of a lucrative development complex, a quid pro quo sort of contingency which would be to the direct financial benefit of the Rockefeller Group, led by David Samson -- who also so happens to be Gov. Christie's appointee as Chair of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

    I'd like to think that if Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is telling the truth, this type of political shakedown is against the law.



    There are (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 03:57:29 PM EST
    a lot of contradictions with Mayor Zimmer's story, it seems.

    How bad this is, if it all, remains to be seen, but she herself has been accused of the same "pay for play" behavior and of being a politicial bully.

    The Democratic mayor at the center of one of the controversies swirling around Republican Gov. Chris Christie is, to put it politely, a woman of contradictions.

    Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says the New Jersey governor threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy relief funds unless she got behind a redevelopment project he favors. It's a story that has changed with the telling.

    The inconsistencies don't stop there. Hundreds of pages of court documents reviewed by CNN raise questions about her allegations against Christie and whether she deals in the same pay-to-play politics she's alleging against him.

    Still trying (none / 0) (#39)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:07:06 PM EST
    to justify your insistence that Christie will be the nominee?

    Funny (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:12:21 PM EST
    As I never said that he would be.

    But seeing your other comments below, I see you are back to writing fiction!


    Meh (none / 0) (#46)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:38:41 PM EST
    Accusations - predictably fired back at her - don't really have much bearing on her allegations against the Christie administration.

    Sure (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 05:50:33 PM EST
    Pushback is to be expected.

    But some of these allegations pre-date Bridgegate, so that kind of blows the theory a little.


    Not really (none / 0) (#59)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 05:56:46 PM EST
    I'm not saying they were manufactured specifically as retribution - merely that they're being thrown at her for that reason.

    Either way - they're not relevant to her allegations against the Christie administration.


    I agree with Yman, (none / 0) (#56)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 05:04:01 PM EST
    More to the point, and Andy Warhol's quip about fifteen minutes of fame aside, how does Mayor Zimmer stand to benefit personally from these allegations she's made about the Christie administration?

    It seems to me that Dawn Zimmer's taking a real risk by coming forward as she did. She's got a helluva lot to lose if she's purposely being untruthful, because lying to federal law enforcement officials in the course of any federal investigation is considered a felony offense.

    Further, none of CNN's points have any bearing on the actual substance of her complaint against Christie, and really constitute nothing more than a very predictable attempt on the part of the political establishment to discredit her publicly by any means necessary. Looks to me like they're desperate to change the subject.



    Wildstein needs to put up (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 03:19:55 PM EST
    It's not like he's a delicate little flower who has been used by Christie - he knows how to play hardball.

    Christie is done.  But Wildstein needs to put up or shut up.  All he wants is to have his legal bills paid.


    He's walking the line (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Yman on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:06:45 PM EST
    Trying to make it appear as though he has some evidence the US Attorney would really like to have, without giving too much information or pointing them in a specific direction.

    I have my doubts as to whether he actually has a smoking gun that leads to Christie, but in the meantime, it sure is entertaining.


    From The Daily Beast: (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:07:21 PM EST
    What would sting any groupie most would be a disavowal by the adored one that there was any connection between them, most particularly if the adoration goes all the way back to when they were in the same high school. None of the statements regarding him at that press conference likely hurt Wildstein worse than when Christie said. "David and I were not friends in high school. We were not even acquaintances in high school. We didn't travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don't know what David was doing during that period of time."

    Apparently David was suing the school board during (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:12:09 PM EST
    that time.

    I think the eventual film about the two of them could be better than 'American Hustle'!


    All in due time. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:25:47 PM EST
    There's no need for Wildstein to give away his trump card prematurely -- provided that he actually has one to play -- without getting something in return.

    Of course, if Bridget Kelly beats him to the deal, that trump card will lose significant value, so were I Wildstein, I wouldn't wait too long.



    If that happens (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:11:58 AM EST
    Wonder if they could be charged with something else (obstruction?) since there doesn't appear to be any "evidence" of a smoking gun in the documents that were produced to the investigating committee in response to a subpoena? (Also - the choice of words the lawyer used, "Evidence exists," as opposed to "I have evidence". Who has this "evidence" then?)

    ... would be willing to go on the record personally, and testify before the special committee that the governor knew of the plan to close two of the three onramp toll lanes to the GWB at Ft. Lee, and ordered its implementation. If others corroborate their story, wouldn't that testimony suffice as evidence of Gov. Christie's culpability in this disgraceful affair?

    When assessing the potentially illegal actions of political appointees and subordinates, I believe that one must look always first to motive and opportunity.

    We know that Wildstein and Kelly both had opportunity, by virtue of their respective positions of power within the Christie administration. But more to the point, what would be their motive here -- that is, how would either of them have benefited personally from the commission of this act?

    And it's on this point where I'm really hard-pressed to see how either of them had anything at all substantive to gain personally from ordering lane closures at the GWB. Rather, as we now see, they both had an awful lot to lose personally, should their respective roles in this scheme ever become public knowledge -- which it subsequently did.

    So, if there was no real personal motive on their part, this leads me to believe very strongly that someone else had to have put them up to it. And I'd like to know who that someone else is.

    Further, why did nobody else who was in the e-mail loop -- that is, the governor's current chief of staff, his campaign director, his communications director and his chief counsel -- take any action themselves to warn off Waldstein and Kelly from this foolish and possibly illegal act, and thus forestall what's now become a grade-A political disaster for the boss?

    Again, this leads me to believe that this was hardly a rogue operation rooted in individual initiative, but rather, a harebrained scheme of petty political retribution which was probably first hatched within the governor's own inner circle in Trenton, and then worked its way down the chain of command. I'd like to know at what levels of that chain of command were the respective orders given to first plan for this particular occurrence, and then proceed with it.

    Finally, I've already said on several occasions -- both here and in other threads -- that I don't believe Gov. Christie's version of events. But giving him the benefit of the doubt for the moment, I'm sure you'd at least agree that at the very least, the governor is responsible for (a) the overall tone of behavior he sets in his own office; and (b) the professional conduct of his cabinet and his own immediate staff.

    Therefore, taking him at his own word regarding his alleged ignorance of the scheme to close GWB toll lanes at Ft. Lee, I'd argue that Gov. Christie failed spectacularly on both of those counts.

    And in so doing, the governor violated his sworn oath as his state's chief executive to provide for the public safety and welfare which, in this case, would be protecting the good citizens of Ft. Lee and surrounding communities from the machinations of his own staff.

    I would further argue that in fact, such executive negligence on Christie's part directly facilitated a wanton act of political malice against wholly innocent parties, which constituted an egregious abuse of executive power that is at once reprehensible -- and which may ultimately serve as potential grounds for his subsequent impeachment and removal from office by the New Jersey State Legislature.

    I would agree with Jeralyn contention that at this point, David Wildstein will say and do anything to save his own skin. But I'd also note that by the same token, so will Gov. Christie.  



    I can assure you (none / 0) (#64)
    by Slado on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 11:27:39 PM EST
    He's not going to jail and I'd almost assure you he'll stay governor.

    This was an attack on a presidential hopeful.   It's probably succeeded but you never know.

    It would be better if he was a Clinton.   No amount of scandal (Bill) or incompetence (Hillary) ever seems to matter.


    Did you just crawl out from under a rock? (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 01:16:43 AM EST
    Bridget Kelly just followed in the footsteps of David Wildstein, and invoked her 5th Amendment rights today in refusing to comply with the Legislature's subpoena. So did Bill Stepien, Gov. Christie's campaign manager.

    Now, why would any of these people feel the need to assert their constitutional right against self-incrimination, if this was all just a politically motivated attack on a presidential hopeful?

    Face it, the guy's in trouble.



    Boo to you for including (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 11:42:43 PM EST
    your last paragraph.

    It was a cheep shot, shouldn't blog after midnight (none / 0) (#66)
    by Slado on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 12:06:30 AM EST
    I voted for bill twice and I could have cared less about his philandering ways.

    You forgot one word (none / 0) (#69)
    by Yman on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 06:14:47 AM EST
    It would be better if he was a Clinton.   No amount of imaginary scandal (Bill) or imaginary incompetence (Hillary) ever seems to matter.

    That's the difference.


    Couple of things: (none / 0) (#5)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:09:17 AM EST
    First, how is it possible Christie didn't even know there was this major traffic problem?  Because I don't see any indication that this was a governor who stepped in to bring the power of his office to relieve, rectify or get to the bottom of, this out-of-nowhere, constituent-angering gridlock.

    Second, do we have a count on how many scandals the governor has been involved in or associated with?  Because that, it seems to me, is what is going to sink him.  Even if we end up believing him about the bridge problem, how does all the rest of the stuff get ignored?  At what point do people say that if he was completely in the dark, observing a total media blackout, not questioning or having any WTF-is-going-on? conversations with staff from top to bottom, isn't that a problem, too?

    The more we learn, the more the question becomes not "does this guy have a chance in 2016?" but, "can this guy remain the governor of NJ with this thing the albatross around his neck, the elephant in the room, on every single move he makes?"

    I think the answer's "no" to both.

    Agree...it has gone way beyond the point of (none / 0) (#15)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:14:06 PM EST
    it being about the gridlock anymore, fairly or not.

    Um, maybe people are jumping too soon? (none / 0) (#18)
    by womanwarrior on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:43:09 PM EST
    You know, despite the fact that the gov was pretty much observed to be a bully as he chosen persona and his actions, he was reelected with a huge margin.  People just didn't care about what was there.  So, don't underestimate his powers of diversion, yet. There are those of us who hope his staff has the goods on him, but hope may not be reality.  

    The political ground has shifted. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:56:37 PM EST
    Christie's margin of victory in his re-election last November is now irrelevant. Had this scandal broken in late September or early October, Barbara Buono would probably be governor right now.

    So you're going with the (none / 0) (#20)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 07:34:21 PM EST
    ..."I'm not a crook.  I'm just really incompetent, and it turn3ed out that everyone who reports to me, people I have known for years, turned out to be crooked.  They ran a shadow government out of my very office!" defense?

    If that works for you, go with it.  Despite all the lawyerizing, weasel wording and "plausible deniability," the fact is that Christie knew for sure and most likely ordered the Code Red.  There is lots more to come.

    I can't believe that anyone is defending this pompous, lying megalomaniac, but there it is.  Rachel Maddow has cataloged demonstrable lies from the 2-hour ordeal.  She would be happy to fill you in.

    Do not bet on this hoss to round the far turn.  He's a goner.

    I would not use (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:28:14 PM EST
    Rachel Maddow as your definitive source, as she is not exactly above shading the truth on her show to prove a point.

    Jbindc, as one who finds Rachel Maddow (none / 0) (#31)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:55:43 PM EST
    insufferably self-aggrandizing, what with all that smiley, cutesy delivery style, repeating whatever "gotcha" point she's trying to make, over and over and over again, as if we didn't "get it" the first time, I do (begrudgingly) believe her fact-checking discipline to be 1'st. rate.

    Maddow, being an unapologetic Liberal, I don't find her "leaning" towards one side of an issue offensive. If you have a link illustrating a case where "shading the truth" equates to telling an outright lie, I'd be interested in reading it.


    The Daily Howler (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 02:22:43 PM EST
    a liberal blogger, calls her out all the time on her splicing and dicing of the truth. (and yes, I realzie some people around here don't like Bob Somerby, but when he's showing you Rachel's own words against things like facts, it's not hard to see what he's talking about).

    Here's some of his observations.

    Her claims about the Koch brothers and Florida's drug testing of welfare recipients were rated as "Mostly False" by Politifact.

    And then there's Rachel's constant claim that "women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns." (Even Obama used this in his recent State of the Union speech, and it was found to be seriously lacking.)  [The Daily Howler spells it out here very nicely using Rachel's own words]. Maddow has been constantly corrected on how she phrases this (as it DOES matter), but how she talks about this subject is completely wrong, and she gives bad information out to her viewers, who become no better than FOX viewers - beleiving bad information.

    MSNBC as a whole is mostly opinion - even more so than FOX, which I didn't think was possible, so how anyone can take anything they say as complete truth is beyond me. Anyone who watches MSNBC or FOX should ALWAYS check their facts. If Rachel Maddow stood before me and told me the sky was blue, I would fact check it.


    Thanks a lot.......not! (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 03:15:02 PM EST
    Now I've got to go and read all you've linked to:)

    Like I said in my prior post, I've got issues with R.M. I didn't think being factual was one of them. But, I'll check it out. I'll be especially on the lookout for context; even "fact checking" sites get it wrong sometimes.

    But, back to Maddow, and, why I came to dislike her as I do. I understood that Rachel, being a Liberal, and, a female, would hold certain views on the issues of the day. Then, she was promoted to her current full time spot at MSNBC. That was the very same time that the world, including all those very open minded Liberals (Like the odorous Keith Olbermann) were pounding Hillary Clinton mercilessly for not quitting her primary campaign.

    So, on her very first full time appearance as anchor, knowing what the "boys" at MSNBC headquarters wanted, and, where her bread was buttered, took the opportunity to show she was "onboard" too, and, that she had as big ba!!s as any man at the network.

    The clinically evil (I would even call it sadistic) assault she mounted against H.C. was, simply, breathtaking. Like a vampire who hadn't tasted blood in years, she butchered Hilllary with such joy, and gusto, and, with that psychotic, ear-to-ear grin plastered across her face, it was a sight to behold.

    That night she established her creds as a hack, and, lost a viewer, forever.


    She lost me (none / 0) (#36)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 03:58:31 PM EST
    With 7th grade bathroom humor that was passed off as "high intellect" and a "higher level of discourse."

    Yes, no surprise (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:05:15 PM EST
    you would not like her....She did support Obama in 2008.

    I have not heard of the bathroom humor.

    She is a Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford.  And, no, I do not know that because she talks about it on t.v.  Tell me when you find someone more qualified.



    So? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:13:18 PM EST
    She is a Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford

    That doesn't mean she is an honest person.


    Well, forgive me (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:38:57 PM EST
    if I don't consider your view of her honesty as having any weight.

    Yes, I know (none / 0) (#37)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:02:59 PM EST
    all is viewed through the prism of 2008.


    The Rosetta Stone of understanding this site is to know that all those who opposed Hillary in 2008 are evil and to be despised for evah and evah! To then ends of the Earth and to be chased into the bowels of Hell.

    Maddow can overdo things, but she is very good at finding the facts.  She is, whether you like it or not, the leading liberal on Cable television.


    Which means what? (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:11:17 PM EST
    She has 300K viewers?  In a country of 330 million?



    If she's "the leading voice..." (none / 0) (#43)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:19:05 PM EST
    Then I feel sorry for liberals who have to rely on her for information.

    Doesn't say much for liberals. Thought they were smarter than to fall for shucksters.


    According to you, (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:36:58 PM EST
    if one wants to consider the source.  And broadcast television has its own rhythms.

    For many years, Liberals bemoaned the fact that we did not have anyone who could match Hannity on t.v.

    She does just fine and is rarely off on the facts.   But I know you will find the one time ot out of thousands.....

    Christie is toast and you are wrong about him.  Just as you were wrong about Romney.


    I am wrong about Chistie for what? (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:40:36 PM EST
    You just want to keep the drum beat rolling because you are actually afraid of him.  You got lucky and he imploded. I have no dog in this, except in your head where you think I am a supporter of his.

    But then again, you still adhere to the fact that Obama is a great president, so yes, I am definitely considering the source here.

    "There is none so blind, as he who will not see."


    Sure, you do (none / 0) (#53)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:46:44 PM EST
    You trumpet every piece of pro Christie news.   Why is that?

    He is toast.  Still hoping, I see.


    No, more than that (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:34:02 PM EST
    Her ratings are consistently the highest on MSNBC.

    Ratings for January 31, 2014.  About twice that of Anderson Cooper.

    She routinely gets interviews with Senators and leaders such as Pelosi (and I know you hate her too because she supported Obama.)

    She is influential in the Liberal world.  Sorry about that. But grudges die hard, I know.

    Maybe Mitt can run and win Michigan next time.


    "Highest on MSNBC" (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:38:47 PM EST
    Means nothing. More people watch pretty much anything else besides MSNBC.

    Not really (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:40:04 PM EST
    And their ratings are higher than CNN.

    Tell me when someone else can get the same interviews with leading liberals.


    Who cares? (none / 0) (#51)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:42:24 PM EST
    Cable news has been on the decline for years.

    And she still doesn't get the same numbers as say, Bill O'Reilly.

    Woo Hoo - she has the 5th highest rated cable news program!


    Yes, I know Conservatives (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:45:34 PM EST
    crow about O'Reilly.  But his numbers are about 2 million. And Maddow has beaten him in the more relevant (for advertisers) demo.

    Ratings go up (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:50:02 PM EST
    for political shows when there are major political events.  Then they go down when there is not so much political events in the news.

    But now I see you are invested in trashing MSNBC--because they endorsed Hillary in 2008.  And that is all this is about.


    Maddow is a puma bete noire (none / 0) (#70)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:15:34 AM EST
    persona non grata..

    Will she ever be forgiven, anytime in this lifetime?


    Funny (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:29:57 AM EST
    since you and MKS are the only ones who want to relive 2008 and bring up Hillary Clinton.

    Quite the obsession you two have there.


    Face it, jb - MKS is going to (4.40 / 5) (#72)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 09:00:05 AM EST
    dog you with the political equivalent of "when did you stop beating your wife" for as long as he can keep getting a rise out of you.  And he's doing it because he has nothing else to offer.

    And I find it doubly rich that he keeps trying to pillory you for something you aren't doing - crowning Christie the nominee - even as he's been insistent for some time now that Hillary will be the Dem nominee for president.

    The bottom line is, if someone can't do anything else, they can always bring up 2008, invoke the "P" word, and see if they can use that to derail whatever it is they don't want to focus on.

    That some people still watch MSNBC is kind of amusing, actually; I guess it's regarded as one of the few places where Dems can go to feel a little bit better about how things are going, to hear what they want to hear, but that doesn't mean what one sees or hears there is the be-all and end-all of what constitutes news or information.  

    And, for what it's worth - in light of how the response to my comments from a certain quarter will be "2008! 2008!" - let me just say that, for me, 2008 was when I finally could not ignore what
    I already suspected: that it wasn't just Republicans and conservatives who could play fast and loose with facts and events and reporting.  It wasn't just the right that could shape the news to generate a desired perception: they were all doing it.  All of them.  

    And that's when I decided it was foolish to take at face value pretty much anything I was seeing, hearing or reading from the media (well, maybe not with regard to sports and weather).  And coming to that realization wasn't "retaliation" for 2008; it's not a "grudge."  It's what many of us have come to understand: that if you rely on the media to have your best interests at heart in educating and informing you, if we allow them to shape what we think or how we think, we're doing ourselves a great disservice.


    Not true (none / 0) (#73)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 09:47:14 AM EST
    jb references Obama and 2008 quite frequently.

    What is all this highbrow won't condescend to watch MSNBC stuff?

    Anyone who can participate in the debate at that level and get interviews with Pelosi and Obama does matter.

    Like I said, the magic decoder ring is who supported Hillary in 2008 (good) and who supported Obama in 2008 (bad).  Yes, it is that simple, all your protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.  

    And, yes, I wholeheartedly support Hillary in 2016.  I am a  Democratic Partisan.  Fancy that.  I actually want to support people (Democrats) who can get elected.  


    Not sure about your ability ... (5.00 / 5) (#74)
    by Yman on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 05:52:08 PM EST
    Like I said, the magic decoder ring is who supported Hillary in 2008 (good) and who supported Obama in 2008 (bad).  Yes, it is that simple ...

    ... to use magic, but I will give you one thing, ...

    ... that is "simple".


    Yes (none / 0) (#78)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 10:54:23 AM EST
    why would anyone ever think the acrimony directed at Maddow and MSNBC here had anything whatsoever to do with 2008? The man's obviously obsessed.  

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by sj on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:45:34 AM EST
    The man's obviously obsessed.  
    apparently he's not the only one. I see that you are also.

    I couldn't help it, sj (none / 0) (#81)
    by jondee on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:46:00 AM EST
    to read one of your posts is to be smitten by an elemental force bigger than both of us.

    Well, it is certainly bigger (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by sj on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:00:08 PM EST
    than one of us. Since you reference yourself I assume you know whereof you speak.

    ... Christina Genovese Renna, has resigned her position, effective last Friday. She was one of the senior staffers on the bridge closure e-mail train, and has since been subpoenaed to appear before the New Jersey legislature.