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Friday, October 28, 2016

New Jersey governor Chris Christie won’t be able shake off questions regarding the George Washington Bridge scandal with an unfunny joke anymore.

Documents released by The Bergen County Record on Wednesday show that the Christie administration played an integral role in the closure of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge — the most traveled bridge in the world — from Fort Lee, New Jersey. The state’s Democrats have waged an investigation into the lane closures in recent weeks, which they theorized were closed to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing Christie in the New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. Today, it appears those Democrats have been vindicated.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Ann Kelly, a senior staffer to the governor, wrote to David Wildstein — the Christie-appointed Port Authority employee who carried out the lane closures — on August 13. Wildstein, who was a high-school classmate of the governor, understood the order: “Got it,” he responded.

Three weeks later, Fort Lee faced a traffic nightmare that dangerously blocked ambulances and emergency vehicles. This apparently provided comic relief for Wildstein and an unidentified associate, with whom he communicated via text message. “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?” Wildstein’s associate texted him, with regards to a complaint by Sokolich about school buses being caught in traffic.

“No,” Wildstein texted back. “I feel badly about the kids, I guess,” the associate responded.

But Wildstein is not above using schoolchildren as political pawns in a partisan game, apparently. “They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein reassuringly wrote back, making reference to Christie’s Democratic opponent in last year’s gubernatorial election, Barbara Buono.

As new details like these emerge, the idea that the Christie administration actively attempted to cover up its role in the lane closures seems increasingly realistic. The mushrooming scandal could prove politically disastrous for Christie, who has maintained a clean image as a moderate Republican and possible 2016 presidential nominee.

Democrats today responded swiftly with criticism of the governor.

“The latest news in Chris Christie’s bridge scandal indicates political retribution and raises a host of new questions,” Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a press release. “What is crystal clear is that the governor’s office ordered lane closures that were intended to make first responders experience delays, kids sit gridlocked on the first day of school, and commuters hit log jams, to punish the Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Chris Christie’s re-election bid.”

The DNC has also released an attack ad highlighting Christie’s previous claim that he had talked with his top staff about the fiasco, and asked anyone with knowledge of lane closures to come forward:

Christie had also shrugged off questions about the lane closures by sarcastically joking during a December 12 press conference, “I worked the cones. Unbeknownst to anyone, I was working the cones.”

He also denied having any knowledge of traffic lanes in Fort Lee. “The fact is, I didn’t know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don’t know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes, to tell you the truth,” Christie said on December 2. “And I didn’t even know it until this whole, you know, happening went about.”

Now that it’s clear Christie’s top staff ordered the lane closures in Fort Lee, there’s a further change of tune by the Christie administration: His office is no longer responding to media inquires. He’s also canceled his only public appearance scheduled for Wednesday.

Photo: Bob Jagendorf via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • howa4x

    This is all part of the bully persona he enjoys, whether he is calling state workers names or being vindictive to residents like the ones he yelled at on an NJ boardwalk. He is arrogant no doubt about it. and the fact that he says he didn’t know about it is asinine since it was front page news in every paper in the area and on the news. Maybe his superintendent of the state police might have mentioned it. Interesting he wouldn’t take any calls from the Ft Lee mayor whose town was shutdown.

  • Lovefacts

    This type of personality won’t work on a national scale, assuming it even works on a state or local one. Which I doubt. No way do I believe he was unknowing about what was done in his name. And if he was, it proves he’s an incompetent leader. Because as soon as there were questions, he should have started an investigation.

    • Independent1

      Exactly! I’m having a hard time believing that his senior aide Kelly would herself be so vindictive, especially given that despite Sokolich’s refusal to endorse him, Christie won re-election by a landslide. Having helped Christie win in a landslide, why would Kelly who would really not have been personally impacted by the election, be so vindictive?? I think someone needs to answer that – and it’s interesting that Wildstein is now taking the 5th and refusing to answer questions.

      • middleclasstaxpayer

        What a difference a NAME makes…..when it was Barack Hussain Obama & the IRS punishment of literally HALF the US population (that’s 160 MILLION Americans) over a period of YEARS, 99% of the liberal press saw NO INVOLVEMENT, and NO one mentioned impeachment, but when the name is Christie, and the universe of affected people was in one small town in one state, ALL the liberal press is floating the impeachment idea.? I wonder what could have changed their minds?????

        • Independent1

          There was no IRS punishment of anyone. The IRS supposed scandal was a figment of Issa’s intended imagination. Why do you think Issa dropped the IRS fake scandal like a hot potato? Because he had no evidence of any wrong doing. So let’s hear those supposed facts that you have which Issa couldn’t come up with about any IRS wrong doing. Come on!! Let’s hear the facts not innuendos!!!

          What Christie’s immediate subordinates did is documented in their emails:

          The e-mails also reveal the extent to which Christie’s appointees kept their Port Authority colleagues and Fort Lee officials in the dark about their plans. In one example, Darcy Licorish of the Port Authority Police Department, who was tasked with helping direct motorists, wrote that her managers would not tell her whether the lane closures would be permanent or temporary.

          The documents — obtained by subpoena by Democratic lawmakers from Wildstein and others — include a reference to a meeting between Christie and David Samson, the man he appointed as chairman of the Port Authority. The meeting took place about a week before Kelly issued an August order to Wildstein, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

          State Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee, said that by submitting documents referring to the Christie-Samson meeting, Wildstein has signaled that it is related to the lane closures.

          Wisniewski said the documents also show that senior members of Christie’s team were involved “in spin control once this story broke.”

          • marriea

            What really gets me is the messages were sent either by e-mails,tx or twitter. A ‘paper trail’ so to speak. Not sad that they were that stupid, by it just amazes me that folks haven’t gotten that in cyber space, that stuff can be traced forever.

          • Independent1

            And what else most Americans don’t get is that they’re every moves are being tracked by Apple, Google, their phone company, their internet provider, the internet websites they shop on, virtually any major retailer they shop at and on and on. Being obsessed with what the NSA is doing is absurd. All the investigation by the courts hasn’t been able to find one instance where the NSA has used the data they gather for anything other than securing America. Whereas all these other places that monitor what we’re doing and where we are use it for a number profit driven motives; which is much more incidious than what the NSA is doing (which has been shown to actually have prevented some terrorist attacks which may well have saved lives).

          • marriea

            I suppose that ‘terrorist attacks’ might have been prevented in general, however my kids says I’m a cynic.
            If I wanted someone to think that their lives were in danger, what a better way to convince them of that fact than create that reality. On the other hand if I were a ‘terrorist’ and I’m being accused of doing these dastardly acts, why not do them. We live in a chicken little society now. I suppose we always have, but now with things like ‘everybody can now be a star’ by posting and saying everything and anything complete with them showing their mugs who think the gov’t is spying on them don’t realize that the gov’t really don’t have to do too much except wait and some idiot will do the work for them complete with irrefutable proof. It boggles my mind to wonder why the Christie folks wasn’t thinking beyond beyond their pettiness and spitefulness. Now one guy is playing this taking the 5th and I suspect that Christie will be involved up to his eyeballs. He knew even if it was one of those Sgt Smultz moments on Hogan’s Heroes. ‘I know nothing’!!!

          • disqus_il6KG9d3VM

            They actually used their private email not the State email which they thought would be more dangerous to them.

          • marriea

            You know what…. I wasn’t even thinking about the State e-mails. Wow, this is even worst….nothing is sacred in cyber world. Just think, if someone ever wanted to nail a person now, especially since everyone and their mama has a cell phone and possibly a face book, my space, or whatever all they need now is basically your cell phone #. Hey America, are you paying any attention.!!!

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Jan 8, 2014..(AP) .(FOUR days ago) the liberal FIX is in: The attorney heading the internal investigation into potential unfair targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is a frequent and significant donor to both the Democratic National Committee and President Obama, in what is characterized as a “startling conflict of interest” that jeopardizes the investigation.
            THIS is why nothing will come of the investigation…it’s being COVERED UP by the Obama administration by having the lead investigator assigned being a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT DONOR & SUPPORTER. Can you name even ONE OBJECTIVE REASON WHY the Obama administration needs to assign a DEMOCRAT DONOR & SUPPORTER to investigate itself instead of a neutral person??? I didn’t think so.

          • Independent1

            No major network news is publishing what you’re quoting. And what if the investigator is a Democratic donor? Why is he supposed to be a Republican donor? Just so he can bias the investigation as it already is being biased by Issa (who happens to be a lot more than a Democratic “donor”).

            Why don’t you explain away this then: The fact that the guy running the office where the supposed targeting of Conservative organizations was taking place, was himself a Republican!!
            Explain this away from a 6/11/13 article:

            It was revealed on Sunday, to little fanfare, that, far from the IRS investigation of Tea Party groups being a massive liberal plot, in fact, the man who runs the IRS’ Cincinnati field office, that targeted the Tea Party, is a “conservative Republican.”


            GOP Congressman Darrell Issa, who is running the Republican party’s Inquisition over the IRS brouhaha, has refused to date to release the full transcripts of his committees interviews with the local IRS employees.

            Instead, Issa has been cherry-picking what information to release, in the same way congressional Republicans tried to leak, piecemeal, (fake) emails from the Obama White House about the Benghazi attack, in an effort to distort what actually happened. It wasn’t until the full email record was released that we found out the GOP smaller leaks were a fake.

            Thus, there’s a lot of concern out there about what Issa is hiding, and why he won’t release the full transcripts of the interviews his committee conducted with IRS employees about this issue.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            You have MADE UP every statement you just wrote….offer reliable proof sources for each lie you printed.

          • Independent1

            Sorry, my posting alias isn’t ‘middleclasstaxpayer’ I don’t make things up like you do.

            What I posted you on Issa was from an article in the America blog which was taken from information published by CNN. Here’s something on what I published from CNN:

            CNN) – A “conservative Republican” manager of Cincinnati-based IRS screeners told congressional investigators there was no evidence the White House was involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, according to the Democratic leader of a committee probing the scandal.

            This refutes claims by some Republicans that the groups were targeted at the direction of political operatives working to get President Barack Obama re-elected, said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

            “He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way to showing that the White House was not involved in this,” he said.

            Further, Cummings said the interviews conducted by the House Oversight Committee were conclusive enough for the investigation to be considered complete.

            “Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved,” he said. “If it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on.”

            Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union” last Sunday that interviews with workers in the Cincinnati IRS office indicated the targeting of conservative groups was “a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters – and we’re getting to proving it.”

            “My gut tells me that too many people knew this wrongdoing was going on before the election, and at least by some sort of convenient, benign neglect, allowed it to go on through the election,” Issa said. “I’m not making any allegations as to motive, that they set out to do it, but certainly people knew it was happening.”

            But in the interview excerpts released by Cummings, the charge of political motivation is refuted by the Cincinnati manager, who described himself to investigators as a “conservative Republican.”

            “I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development,” the manager said, according to the document released by the Democratic staff of the Oversight Committee.

            The excerpts indicate the manager was later asked whether he had “any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases.”

            The manager replied “I have no reason to believe that.”

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            You have completely ignored the AP story from FOUR DAYS AGO (Jan 8, 2014)…Under pressure, the Obama administration decided to assign an investigator to uncover facts about the IRS Scandal. BUT, it assigned a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SUPPORTER & DONOR to Obama’s campaign to look at what happened. This would be similar to Hitler assigning Josef Goebbles to see if Hitler exterminated anyone. This is a FARCE..a liberal democrat supported & donor seeking damaging facts on a liberal administration?????

          • Independent1

            I’m not ignoring the situation, I’m basically saying that you and all the Republicans are making a mountain out of a molehill with this appointment as they are with the fake IRS scandal.

            Explain to me why when the admitted REPUBLICAN manager of the IRS office who was supposedly inappropriately targetting Conservative appicants for TAX FREE status tells the Congressional Committee that there was no BIASED TARGETTING OF CONSERVATIVES, why wasn’t this whole fake scandal dropped?? Explain to me that. And also explain, what is the big deal about the tax exempt status of some fake non politically biased groups such a big deal in the 1st place?? Explain that to me!!

            And while you’re at it, here’s the reason why the Justice Department assigned who they did to the investigation (because they LEGALLY CANNOT TAKE POLITICAL AFFILIATION INTO ACCOUNT):

            But the Justice Department said it isn’t allowed to consider a career lawyer’s political leanings when doling out assignments and that it would violate an employee’s constitutional rights if he were penalized on the job for making legal political contributions.

            “It is contrary to department policy and a prohibited personnel practice under federal law to consider the political affiliation of career employees or other non-merit factors in making personnel decisions,” said spokeswoman Dena Iverson.

            According to campaign finance records, Ms. Bosserman donated $400 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004 and $250 in 2008. She gave $3,600 to Mr. Obama’s campaign in 2008, $2,000 to his campaign in 2012, and $500 to the separate Obama Victory Fund in 2012.

            Read more:
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          • middleclasstaxpayer

            So you are dumb enough to believe “political affiliation” NEVER came into consideration, nor any political contributions. Odd, then that a Republican wasn’t chosen? If this was the Watergate examination & a Republican Donor & Supporter was chosen as investigator, liberals would STILL be screaming 40 years later, just like they continue to bash President Bush for anything democrat that goes bad… IE: employment, past wars, the economy…it’s NEVER a liberal’s fault. You are a fool if you believe what you wrote… may as well argue with someone else, as you are making absolutely no sense to anyone with any understanding of fairness or right & wrong.

          • disqus_il6KG9d3VM

            OMG. You really are in the Beck and Retch bubble. Just Google it and you will find out the facts. Independent 1 is exactly correct in his post. Hope you get back to us after you do your search for the truth.

        • disqus_il6KG9d3VM

          You really need to brush up on the facts. Issa investigated for months, and found no crime or punishment. The IRS equally looked into both Republican and Democrats in the 401C’s after the horrible decision by the Supreme Court. Not one Republican PAC was turned down. I guess Retch and Fox neglected to educate you on the facts.

    • plc97477

      No he was too busy making bad jokes.

  • old_blu

    I’m sure Darrell Issa has opened a full investigation on this, but don’t hold your breath on that.

    • disqus_il6KG9d3VM

      Yeah, I have been waiting to hear from the Inquisitor myself. Then I remembered Christy is a Republican. Issa only investigates Democrats. I stopped holding my breath.

  • old_blu

    I just thought of this.

    • disqus_il6KG9d3VM


  • Budjob

    I wish that fat pig would try to intimidate me.He would not get very far!!!

    • marriea

      O k, so Christie is ‘heavy weight’ but let go of the name calling. Don’t necessarily like his style, but his weight problem is just that a weight problem. Maybe too many cookies, candy and heavy fat laden calories

  • Rattlesnake

    Can link it to Christie himself or to people in his staff? I want to know?show me what computer the Email came from.