Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 16, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PST

1:00 am
it will be viewed as a monumental achievement that happened in spite of your obstruction. think hard senator booker, gillibrand, blumenthal, everyone else, whose advice and counsel you should be listening to. if you happen to be a constituent of one of the senators you see on the screen now, maybe you should tell them how you feel. war and peace is too darn important to leave to the professionals. all right. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> amazing show, man. well done. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. okay. say you are in new jersey and for some reason you want to go to new york, the most famous way to do that is up top here, it's how you cross from ft. lee, new jersey, specifically over to the top of manhattan. that's the george washington bridge. it's famous now for the chris christie bridge scandal. but it's also a landmark in its own right. right? the busiest bridge for vehicular traffic in the entire world. the george washington bridge up
1:01 am
there at the top of your screen, that is not the only way to cross the river from new jersey into new york. below the george washington bridge, your next option is a tunnel. the lincoln tunnel. below the lincoln tunnel your next option is another tunnel. the holland tunnel. below that, you have three bridge options all of which go from new jersey not to manhattan but rather to staten island. first you get to the baon bridge. beyond that, the goethals bridge and there's an outer bridge crossing. holds a romantic place in my family because my partner, susan, was born under the bridge in perth amboy. something really bad happened on the outer bridge, it was a huge screwup, and it got people really mad. >> port authority says staffing shortages are to blame for the massive backup for staten island residents trying to get home on easter sunday. drivers say only one cash lane was open at the toll booth which backed up traffic for all the
1:02 am
other lanes. >> it was so bad that the website gothamist did a feature on the galactically stupid traffic jam on the bridge. saying the port authority ruined easter. look at the coverage the next morning, that was easter sunday, right? was the jam. the next monday, monday morning, right after easter, it's from the "staten island advance." motorists fume as port authority creates an hours long bridge backup. easter spirit gave way to traffic outrage yesterday, on what should have been a reasonable holiday commute turned into an hour's long ordeal. the reason, for most of the day only a single toll collector was working at the outer bridge toll plaza, meaning one cash lane was open, and there were miles of backed up traffic behind it. whether they were trying to get home after visiting family or friends from out of state or trying to catch easter dinner with loved ones on staten island, motorists found themselves frozen in parking lot conditions for hours. on easter.
1:03 am
the traffic nightmare spurred numerous calls to the "staten island advance" throughout the day yesterday and through the early morning hours today. with motorists claiming to be stuck in three hours of traffic. that was the monday coverage of the sunday traffic jam. by the next day, by tuesday, the "staten island advance" found people stuck in traffic for four hours. one case more than five hours. more than five hours for a journey that takes 50 minutes. one woman's trip that usually takes 75 minutes took her more than 7 hours. "you expect some traffic on a holiday but a trip that should take an hour and a quarter takes seven hours? "she says? that's ridiculous. "we could have traveled to new hampshire in seven hours. i don't know why they had only one person taking tolls." turns out the port authority didn't know why they had one person taking tolls either. after conflicting information from them, the night the traffic jam was still underway, people
1:04 am
were stuck in the parking lot on that bridge until well after midnight on easter sunday. after some initial conflicting and confusing information that night, the port authority did issue a statement, apologizing statement on monday. the port authority apologizes for the disruptions that travelers faced. that was not good enough. the written apology was not enough. ultimately they had the executive director of the port authority get out and make a public apology to the people of staten island. >> i will start by apologizing to staten island residents and everybody affected by the extraordinary delays. >> april 20 11 this was. that was an apoll write from the port authority executive director after that agency closed down all but one cash lane between new jersey and new york and caused a big backup. that was an apology at a public meeting called to apologize. apology to the public came after that executive director had
1:05 am
already met with local officials if in the most hard-hit towns and apologized face to face with them. it was after that executive director had already apologized to the commissioners of the port authority. who let it be known how angry they were. even after that, it still wasn't enough, more penance had to be made. the commissioners were furious. the chairman of the port authority, david samson, was out in public making sure everybody knew that he knew as chairman this port authority caused traffic jam was not okay. here's david samson. "we consider this unacceptable. we've got mother's day coming up, we have memorial day coming up, we've got the fourth of july, it is unthinkable that we would have these problems." unthinkable. unacceptable. that was david samson who was then the chairman of the port authority. he is still chairman of the port authority. he was appointed to that job by chris christie. david samson was furious and outspoken about that april 2011
1:06 am
debacle, and he lambasted the executive director of the port authority for having caused that traffic jam on that bridge 2 1/2 years ago. when the port authority caused this even bigger traffic jam for four straight days, the same chairman, david samson, didn't say beep. no public comment on the issue. no apology. no telling the press it was unthinkable, nothing. not a word. why is that? in contrast to the outer bridge backup in 2011 where david samson raked the director over the coals for public in that backup, here's what we know about what david samson did about the backup this past september in ft. lee. he e-mailed the vice chairman of the port authority after an article about the backup came out in the "wall street journal." david samson's complaint was the executive director of the port
1:07 am
authority had talked about it. the article, "confirms evidence of pat foye being the leak, stirring up trouble." "in this case, he's playing in traffic. made a big mistake." so in the earlier bridge backup, david samson's mad at the executive director because of the backup and he says so. in the more recent one, the ft. lee one, there's nothing said publicly, the only thing david samson is apparently mad at the executive director about this time is that he's talking to the press about it. he's playing in traffic, he's the leak, stirring up trouble. he's made a big mistake. that's when some of the first press about the ft. lee disaster came out. during the ft. lee disaster itself, during the shutdown itself. on the final day of the shutdown. when that executive director who leaked to the press had intervened to ungridlock ft. lee and re-open the bridge, david samson turns up again in the documents that have been released thus far under subpoena.
1:08 am
"ft. lee got back all three lanes this morning. we are appropriately going nuts." samson, david samson, is helping us to retaliate. so says david wildstein on the last day of the shutdown. it was only after that document came out that david samson made his first public comment of what happened in ft. lee. on the hours of long backups on the george washington bridge and leading up to it that lasted four days. a backup that was caused by the port authority. that was the first public comments that he made. he put out a statement saying he had no knowledge of the lane closures. he said he was "extremely upset and distressed by the documents that were released." that's it. that's all we've heard from him. david samson is chris christie's top appointee at the port authority. he's the head of that agency. before that, he was the head of the transition team for chris christie when he was first elected governor of new jersey.
1:09 am
governor christie and david samson are very close political allies. david samson's a former attorney general of the state of new jersey. chris christie calls him general samson. when u.s. senator frank lautenberg died and chris christie needed to pick somebody to take that u.s. senate seat and become a u.s. senator temporarily until a special election could be held, chris christie tapped jeffrey ciasa. when governor christie started his term as the chairman of the republican governor's association, "david samson was among the group of close advisers who went to arizona with chris christie in november to the aga meeting." "as a sign that samson is seen as important to christie's national run for office." david samson and chris christie are very close, when it came out in those subpoenaed documents, this e-mail from david wildstein, "david samson is helping us to retaliate." that was a big deal in terms of
1:10 am
how high the scandal goes and how close the scandal gets to governor chris christie. and on the day that governor christie apologized and he said he was humiliated and called his deputy chief of staff stupid and he said the other people involved were stupid and deceitful and showed poor judgment. on that day when everybody had seen the "david samson is helping us to retaliate" e-mail, the governor took a different tone when he was talking about david samson. >> what about mr. samson? what role did he play in this? >> i think general samson put out a statement yesterday that he had no knowledge of this i interviewed him yesterday. i am convinced that he had no knowledge of this. i sat and met for two hours yesterday with mr. samson, general samson. again, i'm confident he had no knowledge of this, based on our conversations, and his review of his information. >> i don't know the exact words, but something along the lines of we're taking appropriate action against the new york side and
1:11 am
samson is working with us on it. >> yeah, it was something -- yeah. i asked general samson about this. i think -- yeah, said something to that effect. i don't know what it was. he said he has absolutely no idea what wildstein is referring to. >> that's that, settled, he definitely didn't have anything to do with it. two things to mention here, there is one other mention of david samson in the subpoenaed documents that were dumped last week. it was in a chain of text messages submitted by david wildstein. the port authority official who arranged the shutdown after being told to set it in motion by chris christie's deputy chief of staff. other e-mails and text messages submitted to the committee from david wildstein were redacted or partially redacted. he inked out big swaths of conversations. the assembly does not like those redactions. seeking to get them unblacked out. mr. wildstein and his attorney
1:12 am
explained the reason why he redacted some things in his submission is because those things he blacked out were outside the timeframe that the assembly asked about or they were just not relevant to this matter, not relevant to the closure of the lanes on the bridge. that's why he blacked out what he blacked out. keeping that in mind, david wildstein did not black out, did not redact this exchange of text messages that mentioned david samson, which means, implicitly, david wildstein at least believes -- david wildstein i guess holds that these messages were relevant to the closure of the lanes on the bridge. look. this is august 5th. 10:52 a.m. "samson cannot do friday august 16th." "why?" "he's away." "the whole week?" "on friday the 16th. that's the only day that works for the governor." response "we will tell samson." august, one week before the
1:13 am
governor's deputy chief of staff orders "time for some traffic problems in ft. lee" and chris christie ally at the port authority david wildstein says "got it." one week before that, someone is trying to set up a meeting between samson and chris christie. submitted that conversation trying to set up the meeting to the assembly as documentation somehow relevant to shutting the lanes down on the bridge and gridlocking ft. lee. why is that? and how will we know? >> i sat and met for two hours yesterday with mr. samson. general samson. and, again, i'm confident that he had no knowledge of this. >> why are you confident of that? here's the other thing to know here, today is january 15th, which means today is the deadline for the port authority to respond to a list of questions that have been put to them about this scandal from the u.s. senate committee that oversees the port authority as an agency.
1:14 am
it was a letter sent in mid-december to david samson at the port authority. senator john rockefeller from that senate committee submitted a list of questions he wanted answers to by today. those questions "prior to the closure of those lanes, who at the port authority knew about the decision? what concerns were raised?" the deadline for david samson to submit his answer to that question to the united states senate was today. we talked to senator rockefeller's committee today, they could not tell us whether or not they heard from the port authority. intrepid reporter from the "star ledger" is reporting the port authority says it has transmitted its responses to the senate committee electronically by 6:00 p.m. this evening. still no word on whether they'll be releasing those responses to the public and no word on why david samson was so upset about that 2011 backup and not a peep, not a peep, not even still about the one that happened in
1:15 am
september on the orders of governor christie's deputy chief of staff. joining us now is steve, reporter covering the port authority for new jersey "star ledger" newspaper. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me, rachel. >> you are more informed on these matters. you've been covering the port authority for a long time. >> you seem to be doing pretty well. >> having covered the backup when it happened, did i screw anything up there? is it pretty much how it happened? >> you got both the ft. lee backup and the goethals pretty on the mark. >> excellent. tell me what you think people should understand about david samson, about his role in this agency but also his role in new jersey politics? >> samson is a longtime player in new jersey politics. not only on the republican side with christie, but he was named attorney general originally by a democrat, jim mcgreevey. he's a partner in a prominent law firm.
1:16 am
they deal mostly with real estate law. all kinds. they're very, of course, well connected like many law firms in new jersey. and he obviously can play both sides of the political aisle. >> what can you tell us about his relationship with governor christie specifically, as an outsider to these matters who didn't follow them until this scandal broke open? seems important to me he was the transition director for governor christie. looks to me he must be a close political ally rather than a run of the mill supporter. >> well, i can't go back -- i don't know what their entire history is, but as you say, the governor has a lot of confidence in mr. samson. named him to one of the most important positions in christie's administration because the port authority has been a very important agency for him in terms of all kinds of things that he's wanted to get done.
1:17 am
samson has spoken for the governor. almost anybody who's named at the port authority by christie prefaces anything they say with, well, on behalf of the governor, or thanks to the governor. and, well, he's the chairman. >> in terms of how he fits into this scandal, the contrast between the way he was so vocal about that backup, which was a port authority caused backup back on easter sunday, 2011, and the fact he made no public meant about what happened in ft. lee. obviously that could be explained by him not knowing what was under way in ft. lee and so, therefore, why would he make a public comment about it? is he usually loathed to make public comments about things once they become political -- matters of political discussion? is he a kind of guy who doesn't like to talk to reporters generally? >> he will talk to reporters in
1:18 am
course of port authority meetings. although he does so less nowadays. there used to be huddles at the back of the meeting room after every regular discussion, and chairman samson was always a regular participant. then they moved those discussion into a kind of conference room adjacent to the meeting room and actually he has not been one of the regular participants. that's generally left to pat foye, used to be bill baroni. he has not been aversed to talking, but i have not found him real accessible in terms of trying to call him up and try to talk to him. i tried to talk to him about this. i tried to e-mail him about this. as we know, we've got his and some other people's e-mail addresses now. and he was not forthcoming with me. he released a couple statements today. there were a couple of stories suggesting -- citing mostly
1:19 am
unnamed sources saying that he may be leaving the port authority real early. it's been an open secret that he will leave long before his six-year term expires. the talk now he's going to leave probably even before the next meeting of the agency. >> the immediate question is whether or not he's going to get a subpoena in the meantime. steve strunsky, "star ledger" reporter, reporting on the outer bridge crossing and goethals backup, i relied on totally to get this right tonight. thanks for being here. >> thank you. we have more ahead on this story and many others tonight. stay with us. >> one, two, three, four. ♪ highways jammed with pissed off drivers with no place left to go ♪ ♪ and the press conference went on and on ♪ ♪ it was longer than one of my
1:20 am
own damn shows ♪ ♪ some day governor, i don't know when this will all end but till then ♪ ♪ you're killing the working man who's stuck in the governor chris christie ft. lee new jersey traffic jam ♪ oc® retinol correxion®. one week, fine lines appear to fade. one month, deep wrinkles look smoother. after one year, skin looks ageless. high performance skincare™ only from roc®. we got a fair,. my feeling is and you're like. iyou know, the salesman icomes over..., there's no buyer's remorse, you know. i'm happy with my purchase. it's the truth. when you're ready to buy a car, save time, save money, and never overpay.
1:21 am
1:22 am
1:23 am
last week the defense secretary chuck hagel took a
1:24 am
trip. he went out west for a two-day tour of our nation's nuclear arms installations. he stopped in new mexico to check on a nuclear weapons vault. he also got to visit his home state of nebraska where he visited a missile launch control center making him the first defense secretary in 30 years to venture down 60 feet below ground into one of the totally enclosed capsules from which america's military missileers can launch our nation's giant intercontinental nuclear missiles. secretary hagel also went to cheyenne, wyoming, to the air force base there, visited with the men and women whose job it is to guard and maintain the 150 missiles and nuclear warheads we have stockpiled at f.e. warren. he was primarily there to give the officers a pep talk. to deliver a moral boosting speech. to a division of the air force lacking in morale for white some time. there have been a series of high profile firings of top nuclear division commanders.
1:25 am
the last few years have seen a series of disastrous inspections about safety and whether nuclear weapons handling forces can do the jobs they're assigned to do. so defense secretary chuck hagel went to wyoming to give a "you're important" pep talk. we need you to be great pep talk. you're appreciated, you guys. just as the defense secretary was headed up to the podium to give that pep talk, he got two word two officers from a neighboring base had just been removed from duty over drug charges. and these were not just two run of the mill air force officers, they were two launch officers, nuclear missile launch officers, two of the officers who worked shifts, 60 feet underground in charge of 10 nukes each and each of those 10, each of those missiles has three nuclear warheads on top. giant world-altering missiles that are on 24-hour alert ready to go at a moment's notice. two officers with their fingers
1:26 am
on the actual and not proverbial button being hauled in for possession of drugs. the day before that announcement, the general in charge was put up for a promotion. since he had been commander there, his unit had been, "firing on all cylinders." everything is great. it was thursday defense secretary hagel got the word about the two nuclear weapons launch officers facing drug charges. the following day, on friday, the drug investigation expanded to include not two, but ten nuclear launch officers at multiple bases here and abroad, including at f.e. warren which is the state where secretary hagel was in to give the "keep up the good work" speech. then the air force had to announce today it's up to 11 officers being investigated as part of the drug ring. the drugs in question include
1:27 am
ecstasy and synthetic pot which i'm too much of an old person to even understand. the reason we got an updated statement on this, from the air force today, is because it's not just a drug ring investigation anymore. while investigating the drug problem at the air force base in montana, one of the three bases that guard and maintain our stockpile of nuclear weapons in the air force, air force officials also say they stumbled upon what they're calling evidence that dozens of officers at that base, the rank of captain or lieutenant, dozens of officers have been cheating on their certification exams. these are the tests the launch officers are required to take monthly to ensure their ability to do their job. their job taking care of nuclear weapons. some of the officers were caught sharing answers via text message, while they were taking their exams. in all, 34 officers have reportedly been implicated. 34. those 34 officers have had their security clearances immediately suspended. and they have been stripped of their nuclear certification pending the results of the
1:28 am
investigation. at a press conference today, air force chief of staff attempted to reassure the public the security of our nation's 450 nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles is, quote, not threatened at all. he said "this is not about the compromise of nuclear weapons. it is about compromise of the integrity of some of our airmen." to be clear, though, the compromised airmen allegedly involved here are the ones who handle nuclear weapons. the air force says they are now retesting all of the officers involved in the cheating ring. fingers crossed they all pass without having the answers fed to them. if they don't, though, don't stress. what could possibly go wrong?
1:29 am
1:30 am
1:31 am
1:32 am
in 2010 and 2011, illinois governor rod blagojevich went through two corruption trials. in the second of those two trials, one juror tried to get excused from jury duty for a very, very chicago reason. which is that 2011 was not just the year of the second governor rod blagojevich corruption trial, it was also the last year of oprah. and i kid you not, one woman tried to get off jury duty for the blagojevich trial because she instead wanted to attend one of the final tapings of the "oprah winfrey show." why that is newly relevant to the bridge-gate scandal in chris
1:33 am
christie's new jersey will surprise you. and that is coming up. [ male announcer ] you may have heard there's a new rinse that talks about protecting, even after eating and drinking. crest pro-health has always done that. and addresses all these other areas as well. take your oral health to a new level. i am not gonna stop using pro-health. [ male announcer ] with the brand you can trust. go pro with crest pro-health.
1:34 am
1:35 am
1:36 am
the current governor of the great state of illinois is pat quinn. he's a democrat, elected in 2009. of the eight governors preceding governor quinn, of the eight immediate past governors of illinois, four have gone to prison. they're batting .500 in illinois. 50% of the former governors of the state of illinois have gone to the crowbar hotel on charges ranging from racketeering, to bank fraud, to bribery. and of these four, the most recent, of course, is governor rod blagojevich, arrested in 2008, december 2008, on just an astounding array of corruption charges. corruption charges that exploded into public view when revealed the fbi had been secretly wiretapping the governor's home and office phones. the fbi discovered blagojevich was promising state funding to a children's hospital only if a top executive at that hospital donated $50,000 to his campaign. also extorting the media by promising favorable business deals to newspaper companies
1:37 am
only if they companies fired specific journalists. and, of course, most famously, trying to sell a united states senate seat. specifically the one that had been vacated by a man named barack obama when he had to go be president. the charges against rod blagojevich were enough to make a hardened fbi agent, an agent from the chicago office of the fbi, marvel at the new low for illinois. >> i can tell you one thing. if it isn't the most corrupt state in the united states, it's certainly one hell of a competitor. this wiretap, i can tell you from the fbi agents that participated in this wiretap investigation, we're thoroughly disgusted and revolted by what they heard. >> governor blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can describe as a political corruption crime spree. the most cynical behavior in all this, most appalling, governor blagojevich tried to sell the senate seat vacated by
1:38 am
president-elect obama. the conduct would make lincoln roll over in his grave. the governor's own words describing the senate seat. "it's a bleeping valuable thing you just don't give it away for nothing." another quote, "i've got this thing and it's bleeping golden. i'm just not giving it up for bleeping nothing. i'm not going to do it, i can always use it. i can parachute me there." those are his words. >> that was the day that rod blagojevich was arrested. the fbi wiretaps that the u.s. attorney patrick fitzgerald was quoting from there, they really did capture governor blagojevich saying that stuff. we know that because the actual tapes were eventually released. >> i mean, i've got this thing and it's [ bleep ] golden. and i'm just not giving it up for [ bleep ] nothing. i'm not going to do it. i can always use it to parachute me [ bleep ] there. >> rod blagojevich the day after
1:39 am
the election in 2008, that's when he was speaking there, talking about how he had a golden opportunity on his hands in the form of president obama's soon-to-be vacant senate seat. he wasn't going to give that away for nothing. he was going to get something out of that for himself. ultimately there were two trials for governor blagojevich. the first ended in a mistrial. the second ended in prison. he was found guilty on 17 counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery, conspiracy to commit extortion and bribery. he was also found guilty of trying to sell that senate seat. rod blagojevich is serving a 14-year-term in prison. here's how all of that became newly relevant today. patrick fitzgerald, u.s. attorney for the northern district of illinois, his office ran the blagojevich investigation, but the person in his office who was the lead prosecutor in both of those trials, the person who eventually led the successful prosecution of rod blagojevich
1:40 am
and put him in prison for more than a decade was the assistant u.s. attorney for the northern district of illinois, a man named reid schar and now as of today, that same reid schar is the special counsel leading the chris christie investigation for the assembly of the state of new jersey. yes. that happened today. reid schar was patrick fitzgerald's deputy u.s. attorney for an unusually long amount of time. he also led the prosecution of one of blagojevich's former fund-raisers and that was him standing right there behind patrick fitzgerald in the big unbelievable rod blagojevich has been arrested press conference. he was there in the u.s. attorney's office with patrick fitzgerald for 12 years. he only recently went into private practice in 2012. the new jersey state assembly probably could have picked any lawyer in the country for the chris christie bridge investigation job. once they announced they'll be hiring special counsel. if you could pick anybody in the country you could see why you might pick this guy. in terms of what happens next, the new jersey senate is also
1:41 am
expected to appoint a special counsel on their investigation of the bridge scandal. we thought that announcement might come today. we learned the announcement could come as early as tomorrow but certainly by the end of the week. meanwhile, it's expected the next round of subpoenas from the assembly investigation, those subpoenas could go out as early as tomorrow as well. they could include the person most directly at the center of this scandal, chris christie's former deputy chef of staff who appears to have ordered "time for some traffic problems in ft. lee" back in august of last year. will bridget anne kelly be issued a subpoena? could that happen tomorrow? joining us now, the newly elected speaker of the new jersey assembly. mr. speaker, thank you very much for being with us. >> great to be here. >> why was reid schar selected as special counsel for this body? >> well, we wanted to pick best person qualified for it and the people that i've spoke to, reid was the person that made the
1:42 am
most sense to help us and guide us in this unchartered territory for us. the assembly did not have a lot of staff to be able to do this, and there may be other agencies that may be investigating into this and we don't want to be an impediment or obstruction. i think mr. schar was the most qualified person that we could seek out. >> as the newly elected speaker of the assembly, it was your decision whether or not there would be a continuing investigation, subpoena power for the transportation committee that had been investigating, expired with the close of the session. it was your call. i have to ask you how you made the decision that the investigation would continue, there would be subpoena power moving forward from this point out and whether or not anybody tried to influence you in that decision, whether you felt
1:43 am
pressure? >> no, i was never influenced by anybody. i was never even approached by anybody. i told somebody today it was zero. but i was not the speaker until yesterday. >> yes. >> so i had to wait until that. my ideas were that the transportation committee did a fabulous job under chairman wisniewski. and to continue that work, i think it had to be moved to a special committee because it's no longer a transportation issue. it's about public safety and about abuse of power. so we wanted to make sure we armed this committee with all the tools and resources to make it something that we can get to the bottom of this because we're a legislative body and we make laws, and if laws were broken, we want to see how we can correct this. because those positions are still there. they'll be filled by other people. we want to make sure this does not happen again. >> in terms of the relationship between the different parts of government in new jersey, i was looking at the legislation today that's creating the special investigatory body and it's explicit about how this moved just beyond the port authority, moved beyond just a
1:44 am
transportation issue. there have been questions raised about possible abuse of power. possible attempts to conceal abuse of government power. how do you, as the speaker, balance your desire and the people's interest in seeing that found out and rooted out with the need to work with the executive? the need to work with governor christie and his staff and get the people's work done? >> well, the way i look at it, everybody is innocent until proven guilty. i give everybody the benefit of the doubt. the governor says he doesn't know about it. you know, that will determine itself out. we still have to run governing. that's why the committee made sense because the transportation committee has to take on the challenges that it has. and our staff is limited as i said, so the special counsel was key. that way they could do the research, they could advise us and guide us in the best way to get to the bottom of this. >> obviously, you are not running the special investigatory committee, you are speaker of assembly. i realize the vote will be taken tomorrow to formally create that body.
1:45 am
although we know what its remit may be. do you expect that subpoenas may come as soon as tomorrow? >> potentially. tomorrow we have a session that we will adopt and pass the resolution. and then we will convene a committee. the committee will convene and then from there, the chairman under his guidance will see what goes out, potentially subpoenas could go out as early as tomorrow. >> speaker vincent prieto, who's the newly elected speaker of the new jersey assembly taking office at a time of turmoil in your state. with a lot of responsibility. thank you for taking the time to talk to us tonight. >> thank you for having me here. thank you. >> appreciate your time. we'll be right back. female announcer: get beautyrest, posturepedic,
1:46 am
1:47 am
1:48 am
female announcer: even tempur-pedic mattress sets, at low clearance prices. and through monday, get three years interest-free financing on selected models. don't miss sleep train's year end clearance sale. ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪
1:49 am
as the bridge scandal continues to dominate the political headlines in the country, the house of representatives today in washington moved ahead with work on a spending bill that will keep the government funded through september. that bill moves to the senate where it's expected to pass ultimately. one of the big unknowns in washington right now is whether the senate democrats are going to defy president obama on another issue. whether they are going to vote for and make the president veto what we're calling the "let's go to war with iran" measure which new jersey senator bob menendez and other senators have been cooking up in the last few weeks.
1:50 am
as of monday of this week, 59 senators including 16 democrats were openly endorsing a bill calling for a new set of sanctions against iran. that means one more senate vote for the bill. that perspective sanctions bill could withstand a filibuster in the senate although 60 votes still wouldn't be enough to override the president's promised veto. over this past weekend the obama administration helped secure the hugely important deal that would temporarily freeze much of iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief in iran. iran agreed to that deal. that deal is due to take effect next week. we're supposed to be trying it out for six months to see how it goes. one of the sticking points, though, one of the things the iranians said would be a reason for them to leave the negotiating table and scrap this historic deal is if the u.s. moves to enact new sanctions against iran during this process. that's what the senate has been working on and president obama says he is not prepared to let that happen. tonight there was a meeting
1:51 am
between senate democrats and president obama at the white house where those iran sanctions were reportedly on the agenda. all we know thus far in terms of the reporting out of the meeting is the president urged the senate democrats, don't do it. watch this space. [ female announcer ] when you're serious about fighting wrinkles, turn to roc® retinol correxion®. one week, fine lines appear to fade. one month, deep wrinkles look smoother. after one year, skin looks ageless. high performance skincare™ only from roc®. are you flo? yes. is this the thing you gave my husband?
1:52 am
well, yeah, yes. the "name your price" tool. you tell us the price you want to pay, and we give you a range of options to choose from. careful, though -- that kind of power can go to your head. that explains a lot. yo, buddy! i got this. gimme one, gimme one, gimme one! the power of the "name your price" tool. only from progressive. she thought she'd feel better after seeing her doctor. and she might have if not for kari, the identity thief who stole jill's social security number to open credit cards, destroying jill's credit and her dream of retirement. every year, millions of americans just like you learn that a little personal information in the wrong hands could wreak havoc on your life. this is identity theft. and no one helps stop it better than lifelock. lifelock offers the most comprehensive identity theft protection available. if jill had lifelock's protection, she may have been notified before it was too late.
1:53 am
lifelock's credit notification service is on the job 24/7. as soon as they detect a threat to your identity within their network, they will alert you, protecting you before the damage is done. and lifelock offers the proactive protection of checking and savings account takeover alerts. lifelock's comprehensive identity theft protection guards your social security number, your money, your credit, even the equity in your home. it doesn't matter how old you are or how much money you have. identity thieves steal from everyone. you have to protect yourself. i protect myself with lifelock. [ male announcer ] while identity theft can't be completely stopped, no one protects you better than lifelock. and lifelock stands behind their protection with the power of their $1 million service guarantee. you have so much to protect and nothing to lose when you call lifelock right now and try 60 days of identity theft protection risk free. 60 days risk free. use promo code onguard. order now and get this document shredder
1:54 am
to keep sensitive documents out of the wrong hands. a $29 value free. ♪ ♪ in the middle of the chris christie bridge scandal in new jersey, the national republican party, rnc announced yesterday they're going to ramp up their spending this year on state republican parties. they say they plan to help the state parties directly with more cash. they told us today they also plan to spend more money than ever on national republican staffers working in the state parties, helping with 2014 campaigns. the rnc tells us, don't believe anything you hear to the contrary.
1:55 am
don't believe an ap article earlier this week that suggested the opposite. what you need to know is the national republican party is doubling down on the parties in the states. interesting timing. in the sunday "new york times" this week, the mayor of ft. lee, new jersey, mark sokolich did interview, explained how and when he was asked by the chris christie re-election campaign if he would please endorse chris christie for re-election. he said the request happened last spring, it was not a high-pressure pitch. he didn't want to tell the "times" exactly who the chris christie staffer was who asked for the endorsement. the same day, though, the "wall street journal" named the guy. turns out, reportedly, it was a guy named matt mowers according to the "wall street journal" the christie campaign official responsible for calling ft. lee mayor mark sokolich and other democratic mayors across new jersey trying to talk them into endorsing chris christie. now we know what happens when you say no.
1:56 am
that may not be parts of the george washington bridge and entire city of ft. lee were shut down for four days in september, but it's definitely how jersey city lost all that help they were due to get from the state of new jersey this past year. stay no to the endorsement, lose everything we were going to give you. in any case, now that matt mowers has been named in a key role in the huge scandal that wrapped around the new jersey governor's office like a giant squid, what's happening to old matt mowers? interesting story it turns out. the day of chris christie was in fact re-elected as governor of new jersey, the very next day matt mowers got a new job, appointed executive director of the republican party in new hampshire. not new jersey. new hampshire. hmm. why would a chris christie campaign guy want to be working in new hampshire heading into the next campaign cycle? since it became clear matt mowers was right in the middle of the bridge-gate scandal, the new hampshire press and
1:57 am
politicos have been in an uproar over his being the new executive director of their republican party. state democratic spokesman says "matt mowers spent years working under disgraced aides of chris christie and what dirty tricks they taught him and what plans he has to use them in new hampshire. so far the republican party responded to statements defending matt mowers in a general sense, not mentioning the fact he used to work for chris christie. does matt mowers hold on to that political job in the new hampshire republican party? probably depends on whether his name surfaces again in a more damning way in more subpoenaed documents we expect to get once the assembly investigation moves forward. that's not the only state republican party reeling from the scandal. new jersey, itself, they already lost their new party chairman for the republican party in new jersey. the day before the "bergen record" published the e-mail for governor christie's governor chief of staff that said "time
1:58 am
for traffic problems in ft. lee," the day before that e-mail and the rest of the documents came out which showed governor christie campaign manager e-mailing got i who shut down the bridge and calling the mayor of ft. lee an idiot, chris christie's campaign manager bill stepien had been put forward as the next chairman of the new jersey republican party. that was on a tuesday. e-mails came out on a wednesday. on thursday, that was over. governor christie announcing he was separating himself from bill stepien, he lost faith in his judgment and asking him to withdraw his name from consideration for leading the new jersey republican party. so the bridge scandal in new jersey has already claimed the head of one state republican party and causing big trouble for the new executive director of another state republican party in a really politically important state. and now the national republican party announced a new strategy for funneling at least some additional help from d.c. headquarters to the state parties. hey, how about that? when new jersey has trouble because of the chris christie
1:59 am
bridge scandal, right, that's why it's happening, right? new hampshire has trouble because of the chris christie bridge scandal. other state republican parties have recently had a lot of trouble. oregon, he says we should sprinkle low level radiation over everybody's houses because it's good for you. the new chair took over and changed the locks on party headquarters and wouldn't let anybody in. iowa, the state party was taken over by the ron paul people, d.c. sees as its own crisis. honestly, they're better than the crew in there before who completely bungled the iowa caucuses last time around. in minnesota the state republican party stopped paying their rent and got an eviction notice from their landlord. and now we've got this fine fellow in new hampshire and in new jersey. here comes the national republican party to rescue them. to help those little state parties out. more than they helped them out before. and maybe none of those miserable failings is why national republicans are deciding to do that now. but they're deciding to do that now.
2:00 am
whatever this interesting national decision does to the parties in the states is going to be fascinating to watch in this new election year. it's a low-profile decision that could have a very high-profile political impact. right now on "first look," benghazi failures. the attacks that led to four american deaths could have been prevented according to a new senate report. intelligence overhaul. the president prepares to reveal overhaul to america's spy tactics and surprising details. numbers. the numbers are in. plus anonymous no more. we will reve who paid 1 $142 million for these paintings. a brawl breaks out on the hard court and one heck of a catch to show you. good morning, everyone. i'm betty nguyen. we begin with breaking news overnight. three people