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News Friday, Dec 5 2014


Dec 05, 2014

Since Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal first broke, threatening his 2016 ambitions, he has been desperately trying to sweep it under the rug, and not just with public statements about its triviality.

A new report from the New Jersey Assembly’s special Bridgegate committee makes it clear that Christie and his office made every effort to stonewall the investigation. The report states plainly that Christie “repeatedly refused ” to comply with subpoenas, raising “continued and ongoing concerns about the completeness of [the Office Of Governor]’s productions.” The report goes on to say that “several key witnesses have declined to cooperate in the Committee’s work or were otherwise unavailable to provide testimony and other evidence.”

From major discrepancies between Christie’s story and the actual record, to aides deleting text message exchanges with Christie and lying about them under oath, the Bridgegate scandal is still replete with suspicious behavior and unanswered questions. If Christie and his office have nothing to cover up, they sure have a strange way of showing it.

This an ongoing investigation, and one that Christie is resisting at every turn. But don’t take our word for it, take it from the legislative committee’s chairman himself, who said today, “We are not done by any means.”

Check it all out below:

Lack Of Cooperation

Legislative Report Said Christie’s Office “Repeatedly Refused” To Fully Comply With Subpoenas For Documents Related To Bridgegate, Which “Raises Continued And Ongoing Concerns About The Completeness Of OOG’s Productions.” According to the Interim Report, “In the course of Special Counsel’s communications with OOG, it became clear that OOG had taken a narrow view regarding which documents were relevant to the Committee’s review of the lane closures. For example, OOG asserted that materials related to the resignation of Wildstein were not responsive to the Committee’s previous subpoenas. […] OOG has repeatedly refused to do so, apparently taking the position it can refuse to abide by a legally binding subpoena based on its unilateral determination that the requested information is ‘beyond the present scope of the Committee’s investigation.’ This history raises continued and ongoing concerns about the completeness of OOG’s productions.” [Interim Report, Pages 11-12, 12/8/14]

New York Times: Report Was “Significantly Hindered” By A Lack Of Cooperation From Former Christie Aides And Appointees. According to the New York Times, “The report affirms the role of Ms. Kelly and Mr. Wildstein, but says that many questions remain about the role of Mr. Stepien and Mr. Christie’s two top appointees at the Port Authority — Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director, and David Samson, the chairman of the board. All of those people declined to speak with either lawyers conducting the inquiry for the governor or with the legislative committee, which has eight Democrats and four Republicans. Ms. Kelly and Mr. Stepien have declined to comply with subpoenas from the committee; Mr. Samson and Mr. Wildstein provided some initial documents, but subsequently stopped cooperating. The report, written by the private counsel to the committee, notes that its investigation has been significantly hindered by that lack of cooperation and a continuing federal investigation. Legislative investigators have not been able to interview key witnesses until the United States Attorney’s office finishes its review. So the report, the committee said, is only interim.” [New York Times, 12/5/14]

Legislative Committee Was Not Able To Review Documents In The Possession Of Bridget Anne Kelly, Bill Stepien, Or David Samson Because Of Their Refusal To Comply With Subpoenas And Assertion Of Fifth Amendment Rights. According to the Interim Report, “Several key witnesses have declined to cooperate in the Committee’s work or were otherwise unavailable to provide testimony and other evidence. […] Kelly and Stepien declined to comply with the subpoenas served on them and advanced a number of arguments for their non-compliance, including asserted Fifth Amendment and analogous state law protections against self-incrimination. The Committee filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court seeking to compel Kelly and Stepien’s compliance with their subpoenas, which the Court denied on April 9, 2014. Port Authority Board Chair David Samson produced a set of telephone logs in response to the subpoena, but on May 2, 2014, he, too, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and declined to produce additional materials to the Committee. As a result, the Committee does not have the benefit of reviewing documents in the possession of Kelly, Stepien, or Samson.” [Interim Report, Page 10, 12/8/14]

 Ongoing Investigation

Legislative Committee Could Not Conclude If Christie Knew About Lane Closures Beforehand Or Not. According to the Interim Report, “The Committee is also not in a position currently to conclude what Governor Christie himself knew about the lane closures or when and how his knowledge of these events developed.” [Interim Report, Page 2, 12/8/14]

CNN: Legislative Panel “Will Continue To Push For More Answers.” According to CNN, “The legislative panel investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal was unable to determine whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the lane closures ahead of time, but the panel will continue to push for more answers, the co-chairman of the panel told CNN.” [CNN, 12/5/14]

  • Chairman Of Legislative Panel: “We Are Not Done By Any Means.” According to CNN, “Asked whether the panel would continue to pursue the investigation, Wisniewski said, ‘We are not done by any means.’” [CNN,12/5/14]
  • Chairman Of Legislative Panel: Report “Will Certainly Raise Additional Questions.” According to CNN, “In a separate phone exchange with CNN’s Chris Frates, Wisniewski said the report will bring some new facts to light ‘that will certainly raise additional questions.’” [CNN, 12/5/14]

New York Daily News: Christie Claimed That He Was Not Involved In Bridgegate, But The Report “Did Not Draw The Same Conclusion.” According to the New York Daily News, “A New Jersey legislative report into the Bridgegate scandal does not rule out Gov. Chris Christie’s involvement in the politically motivated debacle. While Christie has insisted he had nothing to do with the September 2013 lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, the joint legislative report did not draw the same conclusion. ‘At present, there is no conclusive evidence as to whether Governor Chris Christie was or was not aware of the lane closures either in advance of their implementation or contemporaneously as they were occurring,’ states the report, sources told The Star-Ledger of Newark. ‘Nor is there conclusive evidence as to whether Governor Christie did or did not have involvement in implementing or directing the lane closures.’” [New York Daily News, 12/5/14]

 Christie’s Knowledge Of Bridgegate

New York Times: Report Concluded That Christie Was “Not Telling The Truth” When Discussing His Aides’ Involvement In Bridgegate. According to the New York Times, “But in a detailed chronology, the report argues that the governor had many opportunities to know about the lane closings, the political motive behind them and the involvement of his administration, even as he insisted he knew nothing. Using testimony and records from the governor’s closest allies and staff members, the 136-page report argues that the governor, a Republican, was not telling the truth when he told a news conference almost exactly a year ago that his senior staff members and campaign team had assured him that they had not known about the closings while they were happening. ‘He knew more than he was publicly saying he knew,’ said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democrat who is co-chairman of the legislative committee. At best, he said, ‘he was under-representing the extent of his knowledge.’” [New York Times, 12/5/14]

  • New York Times: Report Found That Christie Knew About Emails Indicating Bridget Anne Kelly’s Involvement In Bridgegate, But Still Defended His Entire Staff Publicly. According to the New York Times, “Still, it lays out several contradictions between what the governor said publicly and what telephone records, emails and interviews indicate was happening. The report notes that Mr. Christie was told at least twice — by his chief of staff and his campaign chief — that Ms. Kelly had emails indicating her knowledge of the lane closings as they happened. Yet the governor subsequently told reporters that his staff members had assured him that none of them knew. ‘It is difficult to review this sequence of events without seeing indications that some of the participants may have known or suspected that the traffic study cover story was a fabrication even as they continued to embrace that story publicly,’ the report said.” [New York Times, 12/5/14]

Published: Dec 5, 2014

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