Tag Archives: Chris Christie

10 things you need to know today: April 10, 2014

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett waits to speak about the stabbings. 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett waits to speak about the stabbings. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Week

A student is charged with a high-school stabbing rampage, Chris Christie catches a break, and more

1. Pennsylvania student charged with high school stabbings
A 16-year-old boy was accused of stabbing at least 21 people in a rampage at a Murrysville, Penn. high school on Wednesday. Four were in critical condition. Witnesses said the student, Alex Hribal, moved through the hallways with two kitchen knives before being tackled by a security officer and a vice principal. Another student, Nate Scimio, was praised as a hero for sending people fleeing by pulling a fire alarm, and defending a girl before being slashed. [Reuters]

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2. Judge shields ex-Christie aides from Bridgegate subpoenas
A New Jersey judge ruled Wednesday that two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie do not have to comply with subpoenas for records related to the Bridgegate scandal. Some state officials have complied and provided documents, but Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, were fighting a demand to turn over information on the allegedly politically motivated bridge-lane closures. [Asbury Park Press]

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3. Russia didn’t tell the U.S. about Tsarnaev’s talk of jihad
The Russian government knew that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the late Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had discussed Islamic jihad in a phone call with his mother, but didn’t tell the FBI until after last year’s deadly attack. Russia had the information, which should have prompted heightened scrutiny of Tsarnaev, for two years before sharing it. Before the deadly bombing, all Russia had told the FBI was that Tsarnaev believed in radical Islam. [The New York Times]

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4. Search chief says Malaysia Airlines plane will be found soon
Australian authorities shrank the area where crews are looking for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 on Wednesday after the detection of fresh pings believed to have come from the plane’s black-box recorders. “I’m now optimistic that we will find the aircraft… in the not too distant future,” said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who’s coordinating the search. The area in the southern Indian Ocean is still as big as South Carolina. [CNN]

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5. GOP senators reject equal pay bill
Republican Senators blocked a Democratic bill on pay equality on Wednesday, unanimously backing a filibuster to prevent the opening of debate. The bill sought to narrow the pay gapbetween men and women by making it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who ask about or disclose their wages. Democrats said the bill would increase fairness. Republicans said it would only increase lawsuits. [The Washington Post]

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6. Car crashes into Florida day-care center
One girl was killed and 14 other children were injured on Wednesday when a car crashed into a central Florida day-care center. Authorities were searching for a man, Robert Corchado, whose SUV they believe sent another vehicle slamming into the building. Police said Corchado fled the horrific scene. “It was just kids on the ground and there was teachers giving CPR,” one witness said. “It was horrible.” [CNN]

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7. Alleged cartel enforcer reportedly confesses to 40 killings
A man accused of nine contract killings in Central California has confessed to killing 40 people over several decades as a drug-cartel hitman, police said Wednesday. Jose Manuel Martinez, 51, was arrested last year after entering Arizona from Mexico, and allegedly told investigators about the murders while in custody. Martinez faces a June trial in Alabama, but says he is innocent of the charge there, a defense attorney said. [The Associated Press]

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8. Embarrassed congressman decides not to ask who leaked damning video
Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) reportedly has decided not to ask the FBI to look into who leaked a surveillance video showing him kissing a staff member in his district office. McAllister, a first-term representative who ran as a devout family values Baptist, has apologized for his actions. The woman’s husband has called McAllister, saying he and his wife, who quit her job after a local paper posted the video online, are heading for divorce. [The Christian Science Monitor]

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9. George H.W. Bush greets the Obamas in Houston
Former president George H.W. Bush went to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday to greet President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. “When the president comes to your home town,” Bush said, “you show up to meet him.” After a brief visit with the Republican former president, Obama headed to a meeting with 30 members of the Democratic National Committee and a Democratic fundraiser. [Houston Chronicle]

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10. UMass guard Derrick Gordon becomes first openly gay Division I player
University of Massachusetts basketball player Derrick Gordon announced to ESPN and Outsports that he was gay, becoming the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball. Gordon, a starting sophomore shooting guard, said he told his parents, coaches, and teammates, then decided to make a public announcement because he didn’t want to hide. He said he had been waiting for a player to come out. “Finally I just said, ‘Why not me?’” [ESPN]

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Probably not the headlines Chris Christie was hoping for

Fox Chyron: "Firm hired by Christie admin clears him in bridge scandal"

Attribution: Fox News

Daily Kos

Now that Chris Christie’s lawyer has miraculously cleared Chris Christie of any and all wrongdoing in the politically motivated traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey, last September, Bruce Springsteen’s best friend must be breathing a major sigh of relief … right? Not so fast, governor.

Here’s just a taste of the headlines from around the web:

Probably not the now-let’s-move-along-and-elect-me-president headlines Chris was hoping for.

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The Daily Show Pays Homage To Morning Joe (Comedy)

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TPM LiveWire

Bee gave the morning show the performance art treatment, showing how “Daddy Joe” Scarborough and “Mother Mika” Brzezinski gave birth to a cast of “boy pundits” who naturally always agree with their “dad” at Brzezinski’s expense.

Then she turned her attention to the co-hosts’ bevy of high-powered friends, from former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to Bono and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), because “if they’re not friends with Joe and Mika, they don’t exist! They’re nothing!”

Of course, those famous friends are part of the “Morning Joe” family, too — so when the media tried to pin the scandal around the George Washington Bridge lane closures on “Uncle Chris” Christie, Bee said, the family rallied behind him.

“Oh sure, my ‘Morning Joe’ family may fight and bicker and starf*ck like nobody’s business, but when the chips are down for one of our powerful friends, we pull together to attack anyone who questions them,” she said. “Because that’s what morning news shows do.”

Watch below, courtesy of Comedy Central:

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ChristieGate: The Nation reports on another bridge scheme

Bayonne Bridge

Governor Christie announces that work has begun on a $1.3 billion Port Authority to renovate the Bayonne Bridge, June 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) | H/t: The Nation

Daily Kos

ChristieGate? BridgeGate? BridgeGate II?

The Nation reported today that Chris Christie’s “hatchet men” Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, along with the Port Authority’s Chairman David “The General” Samson, headed a scheme to reconstruct the Bayonne Bridge ten years before it really needed it. Christie touted the efforts in his recent successful reelection bid.

I didn’t see this diaried yet, but I will take it down if someone else covered it already. 

The Nation‘s Christie Watch crew does an excellent job of reviewing the nefarious deeds of this crew, including this weekend’s release of the toll hike theater. Today’s post focuses on the Bayonne Bridge project, a $1.2 billion project awarded to construction firm Skanska Koch, a client of, wait for it, Wolff & Samson. The project also won the support of the Laborers’ International Union.

The Bayonne project existed before Christie was elected to his first term, but really took off after his administration was installed. Baroni rallied his troops around him and pushed the project through with the help of Wildstein and, it would seem, Samson. The Nation’s sources claim Samson was a hands-on manager who would meet with Baroni and Wildstein for two hours at a time.

They created a “climate of fear” inside the PA, the source said. And, he added, Baroni and Wildstein were often closeted with David Samson, the PA chairman and Christie’s political mentor. Samson, who has been accused of using his position as PA chairman to benefit his law firm, and whose resignation has been demanded by the Star-Ledger, was a highly engaged and activist chairman, said the source, adding that that was very unusual for a chairman. “Samson was in the office a minimum two, sometimes three times a week and [Baroni and Wildstein] would be behind closed doors with the chairman for two hours at a time,” he said.Baroni and Wildstein, the latter of whom maintained a secret list of favored officials, conspired inside the PA to press for the toll hikes. Along with $1.8 billion in federal and PA funds used by Christie for pet projects after he canceled a plan to build a new Hudson River transit tunnel, the toll hikes and the PA’s more recent PA’s capital spending plan created a tidal wave of new cash for Christie to spend as saw fit. In an editorial on March 4, the Star-Ledger said in an editorial that all these funds created a “piggy bank” for Christie, and it quoted John Wisniewski, chairman of the committee investigating the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, who said, “It’s a slush fund.” According to the Star-Ledger’s news article, Baroni and Wildstein also organized a cabal inside the PA over the toll hikes.

The article is totally worth the read, whether you follow every twist and turn or if you need a primer.Thanks for the recs! Please visit jamess’s diary, “It’s a slush fund.” He had the story first.

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Watch The Daily Show lament the media’s patience with Chris Christie

The Week

Jon Stewart started out Monday night’s Daily Show with some good jokes about the Super Bowl and some incomprehensible jokes about a newly married Irish couple in his studio audience. He followed that up with a look at how new New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has dealt with the third big snowfall of his month-old tenure.

During the previous storm, residents of the tony Upper East Side complained that they had to wait up to 24 hours for their roads to be cleared of snow, while areas of the city that supported de Blasio in the election (instead of his Democratic primary opponent Christine Quinn) were swept clean more quickly. Stewart checked in with correspondents Samantha Bee (snow-free Times Square), Jessica Williams (tropical Brooklyn), and Aasif Mandvi (arctic Upper East Side) to see how the cleanup went this time.

Stewart then turned his gaze across the Hudson to New Jersey, and the deepening political scandal embroiling Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.). He spent a good amount of time examining the ties that bind Christie with one-time high school classmate David Wildstein, whom Christie appointed to a new position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Wildstein, the official implicated in closing lanes onto the George Washington bridge, recently said through a lawyer that Christie knew about the politically motivated traffic jam, contradicting Christie’s public statements.

This is juicy stuff, especially since Christie has also said — contrary to media reports — that he and Wildstein weren’t even acquaintances in high school. When Wildstein turned on Christie, the governor lobbed more high school–era accusations against his appointee. With all this red meat, why, Stewart wondered, is the media being uncharacteristically evenhanded and waiting to see the proof before passing judgment? “Who are you people?” he asked. “Where’s the swift, impatient justice in the court of public opinion — you know, the news?”

Stewart then pronounced himself disappointed, not in Christie, but in the news media. “If this measured-approach thing catches on,” he says, “I’m out of a f—king job!” (Watch above)

The rest of the show is Stewart’s interview with de Blasio. In part one, Stewart asked about the snow — drawing some pretty good responses from the mayor — then got down to the important business: pizza. If you are a Daily Show watcher, you know that 1) Stewart is obsessed with New York–style pizza and believes there is only one acceptable way to eat it, and 2) de Blasio was caught on film violating that rule, using a knife and fork  instead of his hands.

So Stewart brought out a sausage and mushroom pie from John’s Pizzeria in the West Village. De Blasio was obviously prepared for this, as he brought a knife and fork out of his jacket pocket. The absurdity of Stewart’s arbitrary pizza purity aside, they get some good jokes in:

In part two, Stewart and de Blasio talk about actual things of substance, like stop-and-frisk, de Blasio’s plan to tax the wealthy to pay for universal pre-K for New York City children, and economic inequality. There’s more of their interview online, if you’re interested. But you’ll get plenty of policy in this five-minute stretch. Watch:

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Christie changes story on bridge closures, may have lied during 2 hour press conference

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton. | Matt Rourke/AP Photo

America Blog

Wow, just wow. I’d reported an hour ago that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was facing new allegations that he lied when he told New Jersey voters, and America, that he had no knowledge about the now-infamous lane closures on the George Washington Bridge until AFTER the lanes were reopened.

After we heard today that a key Christie appointee to the New York and New Jersey Port Authority told the Port Authority general counsel that Christie was lying, and that the aide appointee have evidence to prove it, Christie has now suddenly changed his story.

Christie is now admitting that he knew about the bridge closures while they were happening – which is not what he said earlier.  Christie also now appears to be lying about what he said earlier.

 

January 31, 2014

What Christie’s office is saying tonight:

In the response to a story from The New York Times, Christie’s office says a letter from a former Port Authority official that suggests the governor knew more about the controversial lane closures than he originally admitted, merely “confirms what the governor has said all along.”

“Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along – he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened.”

But that’s not what Christie has been saying all along.  He’s been saying all along that he didn’t know about the closures until after the lanes were reopened.  So Christie is now lying about his previous lie.  And there’s video to prove it, see below.

First, what Port Authority appointee David Wildstein said today via his lawyer:

“…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.”

 

January 9, 2014

Now, what Christie said during his two-hour-long January 9 press conference:

Christie: “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.”

 

December 2013

Bergen Record reporter John Reitmeyer on Twitter:

“Christie during a Dec. news conference specifically if he knew about the closures as they were occurring. “Never. No,” he replied.”

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Now that’s interesting – as some might try to argue that Christie’s quotes are talking about not knowing about the allegations of impropriety, not that he didn’t know about the actual lane closures while it was happening.  But, the reporter from the Bergen Record says he asked Christie specifically about whether he knew about the closures at all while they were happening, and Christie said no.

More from John Reitmeyer of the Bergen Record on this point:

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December 13th Press Conference (video below)

Christie: “A: factually it did not get to me, um the first I ever heard about the issue was when it was reported in the press, which I think was in the aftermath of Mr. – the leaking of Mr. Foye’s email. I think that was the first I heard of it, but it was certainly after the whole thing was over.”

Note: Foye’s emailed leaked on October 1st, weeks after the lane closure.

 

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Christie was with Wildstein on 9/11/13 during Bridgegate

“This is Chris Chistie, center-left, having no contact with David Wildstein, red tie with hand almost touching Christie. The date is 9/11/13, while the Fort Lee fiasco was in its 3rd day.” ~ Daily Kos 1-14-2014

I know a lot of my TFC friends are weary of reading about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.   All I can ask is that you ignore the articles all together.  

At the risk of sounding less optimistic than his supporters…there will be a lot of news coming out of Trenton, NJ until Christie either “comes clean” or continues the slow agonizing demise of his career by a death of a thousand cuts via revelations that he chose not to disclose at his now infamous press conference earlier this month.

Daily Kos

Gov. Chris Christie was with the official who arranged the closure of local lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 11, 2013 — the third day of the closures, and well after they had triggered outrage from local officials beset by heavy traffic.It isn’t known what, if anything, Mr. Christie discussed with David Wildstein that day, when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official was among the delegation of Mr. Christie’s representatives who welcomed him to the site of the World Trade Center for the commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks there.

Wall Street Journal commits journalism

This is the guy Christie barely knew, remember? The guy who arranged the lane closures and worried he wasn’t getting enough credit.

I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election,” which was held Nov. 5, Mr. Christie said last week. “You know, I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I’ve had with David since he worked at the Port Authority. I did not interact with David.”

There’s a picture, Chris. David is that guy on your left about two feet away, reaching out his hand so that he almost touches the end of your tie. I guess that since he didn’t actually touch you there’s no “contact”, right?

And now the bridge scandal really takes off, because Christie has been caught in a lie. And neither Christie, nor Wildstein, nor Baroni, nor Samson, all of whom were there, are willing to respond to the Wall Street Journal regarding this meet-up. Baroni and Samson were up to their eyebrows in the traffic mess.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Chris Christie Bridge Scandal

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The George Washington Bridge

Think Progress

Here Are The 4 Most Incriminating Email Exchanges In The Chris Christie Bridge Scandal

A series of emails and text messages between a top aide in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration and Christie allies at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is shedding new light on a growing scandal involving one of the nation’s busiest thoroughfares.

Last September, the George Washington Bridge, which connects northern New Jersey to Manhattan, was effectively shut down for nearly a week during some of the busiest rush hours when all but one of the tolls servicing traffic into New York City was closed. Local access lanes onto the nation’s busiest bridge were forced to crawl through a single toll booth in Fort Lee, the New Jersey city that lies at the mouth of the bridge.

The bridge closings came without warning, and the cause of it was something of a mystery. Officials from the Governor’s office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey claimed that the closures were a necessary inconvenience as part of a traffic study, but Mark Sokolich, the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, feared something more pugnacious was at work.

In the middle of the closures, Sokolich sent a letter to Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee, wondering aloud if the closures were politically motivated, retribution for Sokolich’s failure to support Christie’s reelection bid.

Those charges were denied by Christie’s administration, but in emails and other messages just released by the Wall Street Journal and others, several Christie aides and appointees, including his Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and the PANYNJ’s Director of Interstate Capital Projects David Wildstein (who has since resigned), can be seen directly plotting the closure and exchanging gleeful text messages when they had the intended effect.

Here are four of the most incriminating exchanges:

Bridget Anne Kelly, a top advisor and deputy chief of staff for Gov. Christie, fired off this email to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the PANYNJ, instructing him to move forward with the closures:

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This text message appears to be a forwarded plea from Mayor Sokolich asking for help on day two of the closures. In response, Wildstein and an unknown individual exchange delighted replies to one another all but congratulating themselves on achieving their goal:

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In a text message exchange between Wildstein and another unidentified person involved in the closure, they comment on the impact the traffic snarl is having on children trying to get to school. Barbara Buono, who is referred to in the exchange, was running against Chris Christie for Governor at the time:

emails_1-21-22

When the New York side of the bridge appeared to have undone the closures pushed through by Christie’s appointees, Wildstein shot off an exasperated email to Kelly bemoaning the fix and promising to enlist the help of “Samson” to get the closures restored. David Samson is the chairman of the PANYNJ, and another Christie appointee. In the weeks following the story, Samson remained tight-lipped about the closure, which would have been unremarkable except for the fact that in similar, previous situations involving traffic jams on bridges under the PANYNJ jurisdiction, he had been very vocal in promising answers and fixes.

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The new revelations appear to directly contradict Christie’s insistence over the last few months that his administration had no direct involvement in the scandal. “Crazy” is what he called the allegations during his reelection campaign, and in an interview last month with the local NPR affiliate WNYC, he dismissed questions about his level of involvement in the story by sarcastically claiming to have been the one to close the toll booths himself. After the emails were released on Wednesday morning, Christie canceled his lone public event for the day.

UPDATE

Gov. Christie issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon addressing the revelations contained in the email exchanges made public earlier in the day. Calling the actions partaken by members of his administration “unacceptable,” he again denied knowing about the scandal and promised to hold those responsible to account:

“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsactioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”

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3 questions on Chris Christie’s Bridge-gate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reacts to a question in Trenton, N.J., Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, after he announced that Deborah Gramiccioni would replace Bill Baroni as executive deputy director of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Baroni, one of Christie's top appointees, resigned Friday amid an escalating probe into ramp closings on a bridge into New York City. The resignation of Baroni comes a day after the Democratic National Committee tried to link Christie, a Republican, to the controversy and a state lawmaker issued seven subpoenas to Baroni and other agency officials. Christie said he was certain the shutdowns were not politically motivated. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reacts to a question in Trenton, N.J., Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, after he announced that Deborah Gramiccioni would replace Bill Baroni as executive deputy director of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. AP Photo/Mel Evans

The Fix – Chris Cillizza

On Wednesday morning, the  Bergen Record reported on private emails sent between Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority, that make quite clear that Kelly ordered the closure of some of the lanes to the George Washington Bridge as an attempt to make life more difficult for Mark Sokolich, the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote to Wildstein in an email just weeks before the closures began.

As the Record’s Shawn Boburg writes:

The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied.

The emails add to the burgeoning controversy that has already led two Christie picks — including Wildstein — at the Port Authority to step aside.  They also raise all sorts of questions in our minds — some that Christie will have to answer, others that we just don’t get. Here’s three.

1. How can Christie hang on to the idea the Fort Lee traffic wasn’t politically motivated? Amid the resignations, Christie has steadfastly stood by the idea that while these officials made poor judgments, there was nothing political about it.  (He said the resignation of Bill Baroni, deputy director of the Port Authority, had been long coming and had nothing to do with the bridge controversy.) While the emails between Kelly and Wildstein don’t make clear why the mayor of Fort Lee is being targeted, they do make crystal clear that the traffic study was simply a guise for a bit of old school bare knuckled politics. (Democrats have alleged that the closures were payback because the mayor refused to endorse Christie for re-election last November.)  What does Christie say now?

2. Can he keep this from making it all the way to him? Prior to these emails, the story was — in the Christie re-telling — a case of Port Authority officials acting badly. Well, now, one of his top aides is caught red-handed delivering a bit of political payback. Even if Christie jettisons Kelly — and it’s hard to see how he can avoid doing so after today’s stories — that won’t end it.  This thing just got a lot closer to Christie than is comfortable for someone who is looking very seriously at running for president in three years time.

3. Who puts these sort of things in emails/texts? Kelly and Wildstein quite clearly thought that their private email accounts couldn’t be subpoenaed and that texts, too, were off limits. Otherwise, why would you write “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”, which, literally, sounds like a line out of the “Godfather”?  The assumption of privacy in this day and age is a fallacy, and people who work at such high levels for someone as high profile as Christie should know better.

We’ve been skeptical in the past that this Bridge-gate saga would matter much to Christie as he looks toward 2016. But, the fact that it is now in his inner circle and looks entirely political make it something he is going to have to address in a more comprehensive way than he has in the past. As recently as early December, Christie was joking about the closures; “I worked the cones,” he told reporters. “Unbeknownst to anyone, I was working the cones.” (The Newark Star Ledger has a great timeline of Bridge-gate that’s worth checking out.)

Molehills can grow into mountains in politics. This is now a serious problem for Christie.

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NJ Mayor: Nope, Guv, We Told You About Traffic Jam

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie | AP Photo / Mel Evans

Stay tuned…

TPM LiveWire

The mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. is disputing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s claim that top transportation officials were unaware of gridlock caused by lane closures in September on the George Washington Bridge, the Bergen Record reported Friday.

Christie suggested at a press conference Thursday that local authorities never notified the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s executive director, Patrick Foye, of the supposed traffic study that closed down lanes on the bridge and paralyzed traffic in Fort Lee.

“Did the Fort Lee officials — law enforcement, political — lose his number? Could they not get it and find him somehow? How did this happen exactly?” Christie asked, as quoted by the Bergen Record.

But Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich challenged that claim Friday and said borough officials called “at least five or six” people at the Port Authority.

“Fort Lee incessantly called,” Sokolich said, as quoted by the Bergen Record. “We called the contacts that we always called whenever there was an event. We did not depart from protocol that had been established for 20 years. … We called everybody that we were supposed to call.”

State Democrats have suggested that Christie’s Port Authority appointees ordered the lane closures because Sokolich didn’t support the governor’s re-election bid. Sokolich himself said hebelieved he was being sent “some sort of message” by the lane closures on the bridge.

Christie has denied any wrongdoing on his part in the bridge scandal and asserted that his appointees were truthful in explaining that the lane closures resulted from a “traffic study.” Two of Christie’s appointees resigned earlier this month as criticism of the lane closures grew.

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