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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 11, 2014 3:00am-4:01am PST

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open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. the most important thing we knew before today about the chris christie scandal was sent from bridgette ann kelly to a christie appointee saying, for some reason, quote, it's time for traffic problems in ft. lee. they control the george washington bridge, the busiest bridge in the world responded to that apparent order by saying, got it. that was the most important thing we knew before today. for cover, before today, we have mr. wildstein and somebody else unknown texting back and forth
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about their glee, the delight that ft. lee new jersey was in traffic hell, school buses were trapped and kids couldn't get to school the first day of classes. they were the clirn of barbara buono. it's not wrong that you are smiling at the suffering we have caused them. we have that before today. today, with the release of more than 2,000 pages of documents, which the legislature obtained under subpoena, today, we learned quite a bit more. after that mid august instruction from governor christie's office that it was time to cook up something terrible, within the port authority, the traffic engineers were asked to provide a few different scenarios for how to do that. under what appears to be the guise of a traffic study, the
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chief traffic engineer proposed three scenarios for messing with the access lanes on the george washington bridge. three scenarios in essentially descending order of hellishness. the worst impact is a plan that would merge all the ft. lee's access of a bridge down to two lanes. not good enough, apparently. the next day, the engineers come back to the issue. look. look at this e-mail the next day. here, mr. wildstein, as requested attached is the modification. the plans for unleashing hell on ft. lee are more draconian. we have made additional modifications to the menu of options. now, we have come up with a one-lane option as well instead of a worst case for ft. lee merging lanes down to two lanes. one additional scenario could be a merge down to one lane.
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yeah, twice as bad. does that seem better. the chief traffic engineer is adviced they picked the one lane option. they implemented the fourth plan, the one they were asked to come up with when they didn't come up with a worse enough plan on the first go around. one lane. that'll show 'em. that was on friday, the friday before the traffic jam was put into effect. over the weekend, the chris christie apain tee, david wildstein, who seems to have been orchestrated this, sent a cheery note back to the governor's office saying, quote, i will call you monday a.m. to let you know how ft. lee gos. the chief of staff goes, great. they let the bridge manager on the george washington bridge know as well. i will be at the bridge early monday morning to see this in
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action. this thing i have told you to do, i will be there to see it happen when we put it into effect. monday morning rolls around. ft. lee has no access to the bridge, the whole thing is under way, another e-mail from david wildstein, gonna take a ride with chip and see how it looks. going to go tour my work. of course, we know how it looks. see the guy out of his car? he hasn't moved in a long time. it's safe to get out, you are in gridlock. it's disaster, like it was designed to be. before 9:00 a.m., before the shutdown, the police department reporting heavy bridge volume and delays on local streets. right, local streets. of course the local street traffic in ft. lee can no longer get on the bridge, 8:53 a.m. less than 20 minutes later, they are e-mailing david wildstein, again. the police chief is not happy about the traffic pattern.
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he's upset no one from the bridge had the courtesy or neighborly intent to call about testing a new traffic pattern. the police chief asked how he goes about ending this miserable failure. that same first day, two more hours down the road, two more hours into the commute. now, it's not just angry cops. now it's getting very serious. e-mail from one of the head communications people to david wildstein and his boss, another chris christie appointee at the port authority. how did she know they were the guys to get in touch with. >> wanlted you both to have a heads up. the increased volume and congestion throughout the burrow with the bridge. she mentioned there were two incidents that ft. lee police and emergency vehicles had a problem responding to, a missing
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child and cardiac arrest. how did she know to e-mail them about that? the chris christie appointees knew directly, they were advised on the first morning the plan was in effect, that it was putting lives at risk. are we going to stick with the plan. 2:28, that same afternoon, 2:28 in the afternoon, stick with it. the bridge manager e-mails, quote, i have been advised by d.w., presumably david wildstein, that we will continue this current operation through tomorrow at a minimum. we knew before this that they did it. now we know more about how they did it and we know the governor's office not only called for it in the first place on august 13th, but we know the same deputy chief of staff was told the weekend before the traffic jam started that it was
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teed up for monday. the chief of staff saying great. when she learns she's going to get updates from him on the fate of poor old ft. lee once they put their plan into action on monday morning. must have been an exciting weekend to know that little town had no idea what you were about to hit them with. you knew. you knew in advance, they didn't know. the bulk of the rest of the 2040 pages released today. the bulk of the rest of it is about handling the feedback and blowback, receiving complaints from the public, the ft. lee mayor at great length, complaints from the police and emergency technicians, the memo from the port authority, he seems to have been out of the loop on this scheme. we see, i think, for the first time here, his angry memo putting a stop to this scheme, calling it potentially illegal. we see, for the first time, i think, his angry memo is sent to
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the governor's office. not to bridgette kelly, the deputy chief of staff that arderred this, but ord staffer of governor christie. somebody he tapped to become the chief of staff. the governor's office noticed this was happening in ft. lee and it was a problem and maybe illegal and they had that notice directly the week that the shutdown happened. i'll also save you the swear words but we also, in this document get treated to the governor's spokesman and david wildstein using all sorts of new jersey language about pat foye who stopped the scheme. they call him all sorts of stuff. receiving the complaints from local officials and not responding to them, gleefully not responding to them, give them radio silence. that's a big part of today's document.
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there's a ton of stuff about the media. david wildstein getting a trickle, then a torrent of questions from the media and requests for documents and formal freedom of information requests and they turn every single one of them down. every one. the name ted man, the reporter that reported on this story, his name turns up over and over and over again, requesting information asking increasingly long lists of hard questions about what happened and who knew about it. it shows how at every turn he was stone walled by chris christie's appointees. joining us is ted mann who has been covering the scandal. who is a lot more famous than before because your name has been read millions of times today. hi, ted. >> how are you? >> what did you learn that you didn't know before? >> our impression of what was
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happening got deeper. things we saw momentarily. they were strung together in a way we didn't see. you can see the anger in ft. lee build to what we had only seen the result of. the letter from the mayor saying there's a public safety emergency. it goes deeper when you see the messages piling up. the kids are loose and run away and we can't find them. the other thing you alluded to is the forwarding of the pat foye e-mail to the governor's office. a question chris christie didn't answer is why, whether this was a study or not, it seems it wasn't a traffic study, whether it was a study or not, why everything being reported to the people who work for him didn't require a corrective action during or after it happened. that's a question they don't have an answer for. if you get a report things are so chaotic, why not address it
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and figure out when it happened. >> you knew it happened? >> your senior level staff or members of it knew. >> let me ask you about a senior appointee of governor christie. david samson, former attorney general of new jersey, he headed up the governor's transition team when he became governor, a close political ally. the governor said yesterday, even though samson's name turned up in the first provocative 22 pages of the documents, he was helping take part in retaliation. we weren't sure what that meant. the governor sat down with him, talked to him for two hours, is confident he had nothing to do with this. how does david samson come across in the documents? >> the other thing this shows, which we only had in vague indications from sources was that the new york and new jersey sides basically went to war
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after pat foye found out about the lane closures and reversed them. samson is the key figure, infuriated by the fact the e-mail got to us, other newspapers and really is going after him to his new york counter parts saying you have to bring this guy in. he's always trying to stay distant from issues, ride in and solve the problem. it sounds petty, but what they are fighting about is the basic duties of the organization and whether they are being managed right. >> they have been vocal about other bridge delays and traffic problems. in 2011, a shortage of toll collectors under the port authority and with the press saying this is unacceptable. he was silent about the ft. lee disaster, even after the pat foye memo exposed it as being something that wasn't about a traffic study and seemed to be politically motivated. >> he was silent and the effort
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to keep it silent and from going public is remarkable. one of the people doing that is his senior adviser on the e-mails saying should we put out a statement, do an op-ed or grit or teeth and get through it or words to that effect. they were deciding, is this something we can hunker down and let blow over or do we have to address it. he said yes, we have thought about it and yes, we are going to try to let it blow over. >> not a good move. ted mann, great reporting on the story. now we know exactly how dogged you have been. thank you for your time. i appreciate it. the reason we have 2040 pages of documents ability this case today that we did not have yesterday is because the new jersey legislature has been investigating this scandal. a specific part of the new jersey legislature, the transportation committee in the assembly has subpoena power, which is how they can compel the release of documents and hold in
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contempt the chris christie official who refused to testify yesterday. he refused to testify. everybody's got their fifth amendment right, but it is contempt when you refuse. if this committee did not have subpoena authority, we would have never seen not only all this stuff, we would have never seen the testimony of all the witnesses and never seen that time for traffic problems in ft. lee e-mail. we would have never seen any of this. governor christie would be dismissing the story and attacking anybody that dared to ask him about it. here is the important thing that happens and what happens to chris christie. the subpoena authority of that committee that is so critical to breaking the story open. it is about to expire on tuesday. unless the new speaker of the assembly agrees to extend it. it's his decision and his decision alone. governor christie was asked about that at the press conference. >> moving forward, they
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indicated yesterday the assem y assembly's investigation of this will continue. do you believe that he and other folks in the legislature will continue to look into this type of thing or do you believe they are looking to -- score political points against you. >> i think they have the right to do what they are doing. i'm certainly not going to question that in terms of their right to an investigation. given what was revealed yesterday. i was shocked by it. i assume they were, too. i have a good relationship with the incoming speaker. i'll work with him in every way i can to put this matter to rest. so, i certainly am not going to question their right or ability to do that, no. >> if governor chris christie does want to get to the bottom of this, should he do something else with regard to what he explained there? should he insist, somehow, more
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overtly? should he advise explicitly that the committee with subpoena power that brought us this far, should he insist that that committee should be allowed to continue their investigation, including their ability to subpoena documents and subpoena witnesses? joining us is the chairman of the transportation committee that has that subpoena power. mr. chairman, thank you for being with us, again. >> thank you very much. >> i have to ask you about the 2040 pages. >> it's a lot of paper. >> we have a lot of paper. what do you think is most important about the documents, what should people understand? >> the documents paint a picture. the 20-some pages talked about as part of the governor's press conference and the press day talked about certain issues. when you look at this, you see a plan that was talked about, executed and then the attempt to cover it up. you see significant names in the
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governor's administration dotted throughout the correspond spon dance. you can see the names of michael, the governor's press spokesperson, references to other people, the new incoming chief of staff. so, you really have to question what the governor said the other day because it either paints one of two pictures, either the governor has no control over his administration or not telling the whole truth. in terms of the context between the governor's inner circle or the people involved here, we see his communications director in contact with david wildstein about reporters questions, specifically about his own resignation. we see that the governor's pick to be chief of staff was sent the letter from pat foye exposing what was going on, saying it might be illegal.
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do you think those type of contacts, the ones you described, seeing the names, does that make you question the governor's truthfulness when he says he was just finding out about this yesterday morning after his workout? >> i don't find it plausible. let's talk about the person who did the e-mail that unleashed hell on ft. lee. time for traffic problems at ft. lee from bridgette kelly. where did she get the authority from and the idea from? david's two-word response was he understood what she meant and there was a conversation before that called for the meeting between david samson and the governor a week beforehand when there was back and forth when they could meet. it was provided. we asked for e-mail communications that dealt with the bridge issue. that meeting has some relevance.
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obviously, we didn't get answers because he wouldn't answer those questions. the committee needs to look at that. >> do you need to subpoena documents ability something else or in a different time frame that would shed more light on what the political vendetta was about? is the relevant time frame for figuring out why they did it and who had the motive to do it around august 13th when the order was given rather than september 9th when it happened? >> we asked for documents from august 1 forward. i'm starting to think july or june would have been a good time frame. we need documents from bridgette kelly. the governor said in his press conference he wants to cooperate and be helpful. it would be nice if he called up the legislature and said why don't you come over, look at what you need to look at. toupt get to the bottom of it. we haven't heard that, but i hope we hear that.
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>> do you have any assurances, i'm asking, do you know about the subpoena power that will come up on tuesday? >> i made it clear i believe they ought to reauthorize the resolution on the day we reorganize so there's no gap in the ability to continue the investigation. we have real work to do. we need to hear from bridgette kelly and see her documents. we need to hear from bill and see his documents. if we are forced to shut down for awhile and regroup, that's only going to delay the ultimate resolution. i think what we need to do is get to the bottom of it. >> especially with the governor saying he's not going to ask those specific people who he's fired or separated himself from, he's not going to ask because he doesn't want to interfere with the investigation. >> curious position on his part. >> chairman of the assembly transportation, keep us posted.
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and he has picked this guy. kevin o'dowd whose last job is governor christie's chief of staff. he's been with chris christie since governor christie's day as u.s. attorney. deputy chief of staff before the chief of staff. he's been chris christie's closest aide for a long time running day-to-day operations of the administration including during the time that the deputy chief of staff seems to have ordered the shut down of traffic in ft. lee, new jersey, as a way of settling some as yet poorly understood political vendetta. chris christie's chief of staff is the man governor christi says he turned to when he first started asking his staff questions about the bridge scandal. governor christie says he relied on his chief counsel and on mr. o'dowd, the chief of staff, to talk to everybody else. to get anybody else on his staff who knew anything about the bridge shutdown to fess up. now that he has been nominated
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to be the next attorney general for the state, kevin o'dowd may be in the position to ask his former colleagues, once again, what they knew about the manufactured traffic jam in ft. lee, because if he is confirmed as attorney general, he might find himself running a criminal investigation into this whole affair. and according to governor christie, there is no problem with that. no conflict. >> absolutely not. kevin's, you know, confirmation hearing will go forward on tuesday. and i expect, you know, he'll be vigorously questioned like any candidate for attorney general should be. and i expect that he'll get swift and certain confirmation because he deserves it. >> well, today the head of the committee in charge of that confirmation told the new jersey "star ledger" that actually the confirmation will not be all that swift. given what has happened this week, given these revelations, new jersey lawmakers say they need more time to prepare for that hearing for their would-be new attorney general.
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they are postponing mr. o'dowd's confirmation hearing. it is the job of the attorney general to investigate and prosecute criminal activity in the state. as it happens, new jersey has a very clear criminal statute about official misconduct that may be relevant here. i will share it with you. this is from title 2c, subtitle 2, part 4 chapter 30 of the new jersey code of criminal justice. "public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another, or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit, he commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions. knowing that such act is unauthorized or he's committing such act in an unauthorized manner." new jersey law is clear, and it seems relevant to the kind of activity that has both been alleged and documented among the governor's top staff and appointees in this bridge shutdown scandal.
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the question, now, is who enforces the law in new jersey? chris christie's chief of staff? the direct boss of the woman who ordered the bridge shutdown? joining us now is kendall coffey, former u.s. attorney and news analyst. thank you for being with us. >> thanks for including me, rachel. >> the new jersey senate said today they need more time to prepare for kevin o'dowd's confirmation hearing to be the next general. reasonably speaking, given this scandal, mr. o'dowd's name has not surfaced directly with regard to the scandal, i should say. what should happen before they would feel comfortable holding this hearing, much less confirming him? >> well, i think there are at least three areas they have to explore very closely. none of which have been resolved yet. first of all, question of whether there was any complicity in this outrage. now, so far no evidence has indicated that he might have been implicated, but until bridget kelly is heard from, she would be the one person who an
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definitively clear him. other than that, he's simply saying, going to be in a position of saying self-serving things. next you have the question of how could all of this happen with him knowing nothing about it? the attorney general is immensely powerful in new jersey and does a lot of supervision. in fact, supervises all 21 county prosecutors with much more supervisory power than you see in other states. if he's an empty suit, not paying attention supervisor, is that a great idea? and finally, is there, was there a culture of intimidation or bullying fostered in that office? last thing you want in a powerful attorney general prosecutor position is somebody who has a mean streak, somebody who's vindictive, somebody who's a bully or would be any part of that kind of mentality. >> somebody who uses the prosecutorial powers of their office, potentially, as a way of getting their political way or their boss' political way. absolutely. >> that's frightening. isn't that? frightening. >> because attorney generals
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have such leeway, they have the decision -- they get to make the decision about whether to prosecute, whether to investigate. in the documents released today, we got the e-mail from the port authority executive director patrick foye says from his perspective "i believe this hasty and ill-advised decision violated federal law and the laws of both states" meaning new york and new jersey. i'm not a lawyer. when i look at what seemed to be the relevant statutes, it seems to me there's a much clearer case that any criminal misbehavior, if there is any, it's a clearer case to make under state law than under federal law which makes the attorney general all the more important. is that the way you see it? >> absolutely. it's a much stronger case and a clearer case under state law. in fact, the feds might decline simply because they'll view this as a matter for the new jersey statutes and the new jersey prosecutors. and what would that then do to a new jersey attorney general named kevin o'dowd? he has the final say on anything a local prosecutor would do. if that is not a conflict, it's
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hard to imagine one. >> if the investigation, let's say mr. o'dowd were confirmed as attorney general and say it's widely viewed to be improper for him to be the one prosecuting this particular matter, given his role as chief of staff during the time these events happened. if those things happened, who else would conduct the investigation? would it -- would the state have to pay for a special prosecutor, some sort of external investigator if the attorney general, himself, couldn't act? >> i think that's the only way you could responsibly go in this situation. sometimes in particular cases, a chief law enforcement office will assign one of his or her subordinates as an acting attorney general or someone who's got a specific role and, quote, step out of it. but the perception here, where you've got o'dowd is the boss of the attorney general's office and the criminal law enforcement system of new jersey and immediate boss of the alleged architect of this outrage, that's a little much.
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>> kendall coffey, thank you for helping us understand this. the legal parts of this are not as complicated as they might be, but that sometimes leads us laymen into thinking we understand it. it's good to get confirmation from you. thanks. >> thank you. >> thanks. all right. if you were near a tv at all yesterday, it would have been hard to miss part of governor christie's two-hour-long visit with the assembled new jersey, new york and press corps. what was almost as fascinating as the press himself is how governor christie's staff reacted almost immediately after it was over. that's just ahead. stay with us. that's it? i mean, he picks up the tab every time, which is great...what? he's using you. he probably has a citi thankyou card and gets 2x the points at restaurants. so he's just racking up points with me. some people... ugh! no, i've got it. the citi thankyou preferred card.
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[ male announcer ] can't find theraflu, politics ain't beanbag, okay. everybody in the country who engages in politics knows that. on the other hand, that's very, very different than saying that, you know, someone's a bully. >> i hereby declare a moratorium on the phrase politics ain't bean bag. we had enough of that yet? that's it. what governor christie's particular brand of non bean bag looks like in new jersey turns out to be a fascinating portrait of this guy and how this scandal fits into his future. and that story, which we have not heard anywhere else, is here, next.
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i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. there's no doubt in my mind that
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the conduct that they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for their appropriate role of government and for the people that were trusted to serve. >> new jersey governor chris christie spoke for exactly 1 hour, 48 minutes and 4 seconds yesterday. his marathon press conference about the george washington bridge controversy went on for so long it delayed a start of a hearing in the new jersey state assembly aimed at getting to the bottom of the incident. the people in the hearing room just sat around, waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for governor christie to finish. when he did finally finish, governor christie's office decided of the roughly 19,000 words he spoke in that press conference, these right here were the most important ones. >> but what i also want the people of new jersey to know is that this is the exception, not the rule. and they've seen that over the last four years with the way i've worked and what i've done. so i don't want to fall into the
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trap of saying, well, this one incident happened, therefore, the one incident defines the whole. it does not. >> this is the exception. this is not the rule. shortly after governor christie's press conference was over, his office clipped and blasted out that section of his remarks. as what they wanted to be the takeaway message from the press conference. chris christie insisting this is not how he does thing, not the way he operates as governor. that is sort of key to chris christie successfully managing to keep some distance between himself and what happened here. right? arguing that his administration exacting terrible retribution for some perceived political slight was an anomalous error. it was a mistake. it was not business as usual. that's not the way he has governed in new jersey. he can't possibly understand why anybody who worked for him would think that's what the governor would want them to do. do you remember jim mcgreevey,
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former governor of new jersey forced to resign in the middle of a sex scandal in 2004. remember, i am a gay american? when he stepped down as governor, new jersey senate president at the time, a man named richard codey, he ascended to the job. he became the new governor. richard codey served out the rest of jim mcgreevey's term and decided to return to the state senate. in 2011 once back in the state senate, richard codey got into a battle with the newly elected chris christie. he wanted to block two of governor christie's nominees. that caused the two of them to effectively go to political war. chris christie railed against richard codey for being, quote, combative and difficult. mr. codey called out governor christie for being childish. then things left the realm of that specific political fight. look at this. "days later, mr. codey was walking out of an event in newark, new jersey, when he got a call from the state of police superintendent informing him
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he'd no longer be afforded the state trooper who accompanied him to occasional public events, a courtesy granted to all former governors." richard codey, a former governor stripped of his security detail days after holding up a pair of chris christie nominees. that was just the start of it. "that same day mr. codey's cousin, appointed to the port authority of new york and new jersey was fired from his job as was a friend of mr. codey's and former deputy chief of staff who was working for a different state agency." richard codey blocks a pair of chris christie nominees and in response within days his security detail gets stripped, his cousin gets fired, his close friend and former staffer also gets fired. they both lose their jobs with the state. this is a man named alan rosenthal, in 2011 was a professor of political science at rutgers university in new jersey.
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that year democrats and republicans in the state legislature were fighting about how to redraw the state's legislative districts to conform with the 2010 census. redistricting. all-important redistricting. right? the commission that was tasked with redrawing the maps was deadlocked. it was deadlocked between the plan favored by the republicans and the plan favored by the democrats. so alan rosenthal, this rutgers university professor was brought in to be the tie-breaking vote between the otherwise deadlocked two sides. alan rosenthal heard from both sides. he studied the maps for weeks. at one point, governor christie paid professor rosenthal a surprise personal visit to lobby for the republican maps. it was a move that nobody could remember a governor ever pulling before. in the end, alan rosenthal picked the democratic map. in making his decision, he said "it took me five hours of deliberations. i have tried to be diligent. i have tried to be honest. i have tried to be fair." three months after that decision, alan rosenthal learned
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that governor chris christie had personally, and without warning, used his line-item veto to slash state funding for the fellowship program that professor rosenthal ran at rutgers. how you like me now? the top democrat in the state senate reacted at the time, "for him to punish people to prove his political point, he's just a rotten blank to do what he did." governor christie's office denied the professor's redistricting decision had anything to do with the decision to eliminate funding for his programs. new jersey politics are full of examples like this over the last four years since governor christie has been governor. politicians from either party who cross chris christie in some way then feel his rath. another republican state legislator who criticized the handling of a blizzard in 2010. very mild criticism of a handling of a 2010 blizzard. he was warned by the governor's staff to not show up at a meeting he was holding.
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he told an aide, he got what he deserved. the things that all of these acts of political retribution have in common, they're all directed at political players or at least people who are inside the political system. people who have opted in. people who are playing the same game that chris christie plays. people who are involved in politics. but this time in the bridge scandal, it was not somebody inside the political class that was hurt. this wasn't political retribution that just landed on mayor mark sokolich in ft. lee or leader of the democrats who represents ft. lee, senator loretta weinberg. no, this time it was hundreds of thousands of innocent people trying to get to work. trying to get to school. it was the first week of school. trying to get a response from an ambulance. trying to go about their daily lives. hundreds of thousands of people were all collateral damage from some political revenge attack the cause of which is still unknown.
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business as usual in terms of the, you know, decision to go after somebody. not business as usual in terms of the consequences. how did that line get crossed? why? and who had to know about it? more ahead with somebody who knows more about chris christie than just about anybody else in the press corps. stay with us.
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regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way and is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years and not the way it will conduct itself over the next four. >> it is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years. is that true? joining us now from in front of the new jersey capitol is a chilly charlie style. he's a columnist in new jersey. thanks for being with us tonight. particularly on a cool night outside. >> good evening. >> governor christie said the kind of political retribution that has been alleged and now documented in this bridge scandal, he says that's not the way his administration has operated over the last four years. you're a pretty close observer of him as a politician.
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is he right to say that? >> well, he has -- look, political retribution is part of the new jersey landscape. the quick answer is not really, no is really the answer to that. but to put it in context, every governor and almost every politician endulg in political payback. everybody bears their knuckles. he's in a full cage match, where you can kick and punch at the same time. what's really different about chris christie's level of payback is not only the pettiness of it, but no one is beyond the peal. i mean, he's attacked venerated people, or he's put people that are venerated in the line of
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fire. for example, he tried to take down tom king jr.'s son who was trying to get another term as senate minority leader. so he personally got involved in trying to thwart another term for tom cane jr. because he was upset about tom cane's handling of the senate legislative races. so what's ironic about that is that tom cane sr. was chris christie's mentor and chris christie would probably have no career in politics if he didn't show up as a 16-year-old in tom cane's house in livingston, new jersey, in the 1970s to be a campaign volunteer. and even dick cody, taking on dick cody. now, dick cody is a bear knuckled practitioner of essex county politic, but he's a very popular figure in new jersey politics.
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and a lot of voters in new jersey have a warm regard for him for stabilizing the state after the down fall of jim mcgreevey. and you mentioned alan rosenthal is almost defied by members of both parties for his knowledge, scholarly knowledge, his fairness throughout the years in serving on commissions and boards. so it's not -- so that's the difference about chris christie and how he's operated. i think what's really interesting, i think, it's deliberate. i think he's tried to send this message that, i am not to be crossed with. i am not to be fooled with, and i think it's had a very -- and he's used that very effectively. >> charlie, i have to ask you, you wrote today the firings of two top staffers, yesterday's campaign manager and deputy chief of staff, he said only came because the plot was hatched within his tight knit circle enflaming suspicions that
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he ordered the lane closin. why do you say that exactly? >> well no, i think that's exactly what had happened. i mean, it's one thing to have the suspicion growing in a kind of brush fire out of the port authority with his appointees out there, but once it comes inside the house, or inside the state house, right inside his inner sanctum, then that suspicion that was on a low kindle is now a full flame, because he operates a very tight knit ship. and he even used the word himself in the press conference, i operate very loyal group, and we consider ourselves family. so it's very hard for a lot of people, strange credulity to think anything like this could go on without his knowledge.
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>> charlie stile who has been a national treasure in terms of reporting on this story since the very beginning. thanks for your time. nice to have you here. more to come. ns? ♪ ♪ if i was a flower growing wild and free ♪ ♪ all i'd want is you to be my sweet honeybee ♪ ♪ and if was a tree growing tall and green ♪ ♪ all i'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves ♪ grown in america. picked & packed at the peak of ripeness. the same essential nutrients as fresh. del monte. bursting with life™. the same essential nutrients as fresh. [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods.
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[ breath of relief ] thanks. [ male announcer ] you're welcome. ready? go. get it! [ male announcer ] can't find theraflu, try alka-seltzer plus for fast liquid cold and flu relief. >> this week, this story in new jersey became the biggest thing in politics. for good reason. for once, we weren't having a he said/she said argument about something that could be proven but nobody chose to prove it. it's not a fight over insults or accusation or trumped up outrage. this is a story of legitimate wrongdoing on a big scale, waged by political partisans with innocent citizens caught in the crossfire. this was proven by documents forced into the public domain thanks to an aggressive investigation that has the power to subpoena documents and witnesses. that subpoena power will expire on tuesday unless new jersey moves to extend it. that is the next thing to watch
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in terms of what happens in this still expanding bombshell of a story. thanks for being with us tonight and all this week as we've chronicled this story. that does it for us tonight. we will surely see you again on monday. >> weekends with alex witt starts now. new information the target breach was far worse than first thought. 100 million people at risk. now word that another store was breached. more than 2,000 documents related to the scandal of the george washington bridge scandal. will a polar vortex chill the economy? surprising numbers. >> my conversation with kathie lee gif ford. she helds me how she and hoda came to be. good morning and welcome to weekends with