Saturday, March 29, 2014

#Bridgegate News: Christie Talks, Bridget Strikes Back, Samson Quits, Wildstein Still an Outcast

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Chris Christie held a lengthy presser today, showing some of his old arrogance with the media, before flying off to Las Vegas to meet with Sheldon Adelson, one of Mitt Romney's top donors in 2012. Because yeah, somehow Christie thinks he can slough off this controversy and run for President in 2016 now that his own lawyers have attempted to clear him. Good luck with that.
At the same time, his crony at the Port Authority, David Samson, resigned his cushy job, possibly because he is under a Federal Investigation for all the sweetheart deals he got for clients of his private law firm. And maligned mother-of-four Bridget Kelly came out swinging through her attorney after the Bridgegate Report called her "too emotional" and referred to her private life as a cause of the George Washington Bridge Closure. Big day in New Jersey for sure!

Previous Related Posts:
Christie #Bridgegate Report: Time for Some Slut-Shaming in New Jersey
Christie's Well-Named Minion Bridget Kelly
Port Authority Under Scrutiny in #Bridgegate
Christie Faces Bad Karma for Dissing Wildstein
Monday Morning Joe Quarterbacking for Christie


Late today in a Trenton conference room, Chris Christie re-entered the media arena. In his version of "Facing the Lions" the only things missing as he intimidated and taunted the members of the press corps were a chair and a whip. All the rest was on display as he poked and derided the Capitol reporters invited to ask him about his million-dollar defense report he used to day as both shield and weapon. Unfortunately he may not have gotten all that the taxpayers of New Jersey paid for.
~ Chris Matthews on Hardball

He said having David Wildstein at the Port Authority “was a mistake. Let’s leave it at that.” Wildstein is suspected of being a key player in the lane closures. He also denied again that he and Wildstein were friends from high school. Christie appointed Wildstein to the post, though, and the governor’s office praised Wildstein’s skills at the time he took the job.
. . . "What you get with me is what you get. I cannot shed who I am," Christie, a former prosecutor, says, explaining why he didn't question former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly before he fired her.
. . . It took just eight minutes for Christie to snap at a reporter and warned him to “cut the commentary.”

Christie at one point referred in the Friday press conference to his aides, who were fired or resigned, but he might be talking about himself when he said:
“People need to understand that if you participate in this kind of conduct, you will not be permitted to hold the public trust, and the authority that goes along with a senior position in this government that comes with it.”
~ NY Daily News

Ahead of a trip out West laced with 2016 implications, Christie made a great, heave-ho attempt this week to push past the political nightmare known as “Bridgegate.” He is due to speak at a Republican Jewish Coalition event this weekend in Las Vegas, followed by Republican Governors Association fundraising retreat in Park City, Utah.
. . . The former federal prosecutor even reiterated, at some length, that he will decide whether or not to run for president independently of this whole unpleasant saga. Christie said he didn’t think the George Washington Bridge fiasco would weigh heavily on how voters consider “my candidacy, if there even is one.”
~ Politico

“There’s no baggage here because I didn’t do anything,” the Republican governor told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File” when asked whether the scandal would hinder a presidential run.
Asked whether Bridget Kelly would back up the governor’s story under oath, Christie said: “I have no idea, but all I can tell you is it's the truth.”
Christie pledged that no emails or phone records or taped calls will emerge showing he knew about this, “because I didn’t.”
~ Fox News


The lawyer for Bridget Anne Kelly fired back today against allegations that largely blamed her for the George Washington Bridge lane closings, blasting a $1 million report commissioned by Gov. Chris Christie’s office as containing “venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks.”
Michael Critchley, Kelly’s lawyer, said in a statement, “The report's venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning Ms. Kelly have no place in what is alleged to be a professional and independent report.”
. . . Calling the report “a preemptive strike” meant to “isolate Ms. Kelly and impugn her credibility,” Critchley said, “Ms. Kelly is not a liar. She is a single mother of four children who was deeply devoted and committed to her job at the Office of the Governor. She worked tirelessly to pursue the goals of the Office during her tenure.”


Governor Christie's Crooked Pals' Club Band

Gov. Chris Christie announced today that David Samson, whose chairmanship of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has come under fire in recent months, has resigned.
In a statement released today, Samson said: "Over the past months, I have shared with the Governor my desire to conclude my service to the PANYNJ. The timing is now right, and I am confident that the Governor will put new leadership in place to address the many challenges ahead."
Christie said that "in line with that belief, David tendered his resignation to me this afternoon effective immediately."

Asked why Mr. Samson was leaving, Mr. Christie cited his age. "He's tired," said the governor, who thanked Mr. Samson, an ally he has defended as the scandal unfolded.
Mr. Samson is the fifth Christie ally to depart the governor's circle since the scandal over lane closures escalated in January. Mr. Christie also fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and cut ties to his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, whose roles in the closures are scrutinized in the report. David Wildstein, the Port Authority official who engineered the closures, and another top Christie appointee there, Bill Baroni, have also resigned.
. . . With Mr. Samson resigning, Mr. Christie turned to the Gibson Dunn report's call for changes at the Port Authority, and suggested he would even support dismantling its operations, a drastic step that would represent a sea change in New York and New Jersey government.
~ Wall Street Journal

Samson is also connected to the controversy that flared in the wake of the "bridgegate" scandal, involving distribution of hurricane Sandy relief funds. Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of the New Jersey city of Hoboken, alleged in January that the Christie administration leaned heavily on her to pave the way for a lucrative development project by the Rockefeller Group, which was represented by Wolf and Samson.
Samson is not accused of directly intervening in the affair. But Zimmer claimed other Christie officials quietly warned her that Hoboken would be starved of aid money unless she got behind the development project backed by Samson's law firm.
~ The Guardian

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