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Chris Christie and the #BridgeGate #BridgeGhazi #BridgeNado
Chris Christie attempted to put all answers to rest in a marathon epic press conference yesterday, painting himself as an unhappy victim of staff treachery, and promising that heads would roll. But many questions remain. How could the Governor NOT know what his top capos were doing in regard to closing the bridge to Ft. Lee New Jersey on purpose to create traffic mayhem? Why does Christie continue to insist that there was a "traffic study" when no evidence of such a study exists? And why did he wait from September till now to get to the bottom of this story?
I think we've seen just the tip of the iceberg on this story. The investigations are just beginning.
~ New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 1-9-14
From USA Today:
"I come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey. I apologize to the people of Fort Lee and I apologize to the members of the state Legislature. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team."
Regarding deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly:
"I terminated her employment because she lied to me. … I have not had any conversation with Bridget Kelly since the e-mail came out. And so she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why she lied because it was so obvious that she had. And I'm, quite frankly, not interested in the explanation at the moment."
. . . On his feelings about the scandal:
"I'm sad. I'm sad. That's the predominant emotion I feel right now is sadness, sadness that I was betrayed by a member of my staff, sadness that I had people who I entrusted with important jobs who acted completely inappropriately, sad that that's led the people of New Jersey to have less confidence in the people that I've selected."
A panel of New Jersey state lawmakers voted to hold an ally of Gov. Chris Christie in contempt after he pleaded the Fifth Amendment on Thursday at a hearing on the George Washington Bridge scandal that has engulfed the governor.
. . . “On the advice of counsel, I assert my right to remain silent,” Wildstein said in response to several questions from Chairman John Wisniewski at the beginning of the hearing on Thursday.
. . . Members of the panel peppered Wildstein and his lawyer with questions, ranging from why Wildstein apparently was using his personal Gmail account to discuss the lane closures to what references to “Serbia” meant in some of the messages. (They are believed to be disparaging references to the mayor of Fort Lee, who is actually of Croatian heritage.)
Wildstein, however, refused to answer the questions.
Blindsided. Heartbroken. Stunned. Saddened. NJ Gov. #ChrisChristie apologizes & fires key aide http://t.co/NjHUnohOrw pic.twitter.com/zUGJkys18J
— CNN (@CNN) January 9, 2014
@TheLastWord Faces tell it all..NO ONE BELIEVES HIM...Inside Gov Chris Christie presser pic.twitter.com/wZya4Dmg3t
— Nancy Mitchell (@NancyWonderful) January 9, 2014
It just strains believability that someone who is such a micro-manager spent a great deal of time today to tell us that he isn't. But we all know that's not true. To say that there are "rogue operators" in his administration - look, it says one of two things: that he was entirely duped and misled by his organization and he doesn't know what's going on, or he's not telling us the truth.
~ Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski D-NJ, Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee on NJTV News (my transcript)
I find it four months too late. I find it really astounding that the Governor could stand in front of the citizens of the state of New Jersey and claim that this is the first time he understood the magnitude of this problem. I've been going to Port Authority meetings for almost four months raising this subject. His two top appointees at the Port Authority resigned because of this subject a month or so ago. The Exec. Director of the Port Authority did an email which said laws were broken here, this was in contradiction to every process known to the Port Authority. The Governor never thought to question anything up until now?
I remember his first reaction quite well - he attacked Assemblyman Wisniewski and me, that we were "fixated" somehow. Then he moved on to kind of make a joke "It's no big deal."
. . . It's difficult for me to believe that Bridget Kelly sat in her office one day and suddenly out of the sky, hitting her in the head was "Oh, I know - let's create a traffic jam."
~ NJ Senator Loretta Weinberg on NJTV News (my transcript)
Two hours of explaining. When you're explaining, you're losing, there's no question about that. This is not about emails, this is not about moving cones here and there. This is not a joking matter. The Governor attempted to make himself the victim today. The victims are the people who live in Fort Lee, New Jersey. They're the only victims.
. . . So this thing unfolds like the onion. And here it is, we're pushing back, peeling that onion and learning more and more. Today it doesn't surprise me that Wildstein takes the Fifth Amendment on even the inane questions.
. . . And if they think this is the end of it, they're mistaken. This is the beginning of it.
~ Rep. Bill Pascrell D-NJ on Hardball (my transcript)
A New Theory Emerges from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC:
In a nutshell from Daily Kos:
Rachel Maddow has advanced a new theory on the rationale for the Fort Lee lane closures. Using the date on Bridget Kelly's orginal email to Christie's Port Authority henchmen she posits that the reason was not the Mayor's non endorsement of Christie but instead retaliation against State Senator Loretta Weinberg who represents Fort Lee. Apparently Christie and New Jersey Senate Democrats have been feuding on State Supreme Court nominations and Christie exploded at them on this issue in an August 12th press conference the day before Kelly's email that started the ball rolling for the Fort Lee traffic nightmare.
Everyone is talking about Rachel Maddow's new theory about the Christie scandal http://t.co/xdbGSeA93g
— HuffPost Media (@HuffPostMedia) January 10, 2014
Famous Last Words! pic.twitter.com/561qD0NhAS
— Shelly56 (@sdtilock) January 9, 2014
@GottaLaff .Chris Christie is shocked Republicans aids would shut down a bridge? Dude, your party shut down the entire federal govt! #p2
— Bob Weil (@liewbob) January 9, 2014
@GovChristie knows NOTHING. He's the victim, so leave him alone already. #bridgegate #buckstopsoverthere pic.twitter.com/5kZx7hJlJV
— Scott (@sbrnsouth) January 10, 2014