tv Up W Steve Kornacki MSNBC February 1, 2014 5:00am-7:01am PST
eep up with this guy. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. is it sandy money or a slush fund? you know the headlines by now. there were some major developments late yesterday afternoon in the chris christie george washington bridge scandal. the news that the lawyer for bill stepien, his former campaign manager, he said his client would be invoking the fifth amendment fighting a
subpoena to appear before the state legislative committee and turning over documents relative to the inquiry. after that, a letter from the lawyer for david wildstein that oversaw the lane closures. it was a letter suggesting that christie knew of the lane closures as they happened and claiming that wildstein can prove that certain unspecified things krchristie said about hi in his january 9th conference aren't true. two big and important developments came back to back on friday afternoon. this morning, we are going to be all over these developments and have some new documents involving the allegations of dawn zimmer, the mayor of hoboken. we will be getting to all of that in just a bit. it is not going to be our lead this morning, because we are going to start with a story we have spent the last few days reporting out. that is because we have new information we can report to you about chris christie and sandy recovery funds.
it involves a law that was created last year to prevent the misuse and abuse of sandy money. it is a law that as far as we can tell the christie administration has at best been slow and complying with and at worst has intentionally dragged its feet on implementing. this has contributed to a series of stories that have called into question how christie's team has managed and spent the giant pot of sandy money they received from the federal government last year. we are going to explain that fully and we'll tell you about the major role that the governor's brother plays in all of this in just a minute. understand what this is all about. we are going to start with a story that made news this week. it was reported on tuesday night by "the newark "star ledger"" that christie had aggressively pushed $6 million in sandy money for the development of a senior citizen housing complex in bellville, new jersey. a gritty town of about 36,000 just outside newark, was not
devastated by sandy in the same way that hoboken, which was 80% under water at the height of the storm was, in that project that christie directed the sandy money towards. it had been in the works for a long time, well before the storm hit. as "the "star ledger" reported, sandy was barely mentioned at the 20-minute ground-breaking ceremony. it was built primarily to allow seniors to retire in their home town, not as a way to provide shelter to sandy victims. bellville is part of essex county, one of the largest and most democratic friendly counties in new jersey. christie has cultivated key political alliances with top democrats in the county. the county's executive, joe divicenzio was the most prominent to endorse him. the political machine that produced him in the northward of newark, has long been suspect the of quietly boosting christie in his first campaign for
governor in 2009. the first public appearance that chris christie made after winning in 2009, the morning after that election, was at the northward center in newark, where he appeared with the northward's democratic boss, steve abadato sr. it had been on the agenda for a long time. it was important to the mayor of bellville and many democrats from the area that had provided key public and private support to chris christie, democrats he, no doubt, wanted to keep on board for the 2013 campaign. sure enough, just after christie took part in the ground-breaking ceremony for the bellville project last may, the mayor did endorse him. that was the news this week. $6 million in sandy money steered toward this project. that, on top of the allegations that hoboken mayor, dawn zimmer, made on this show two weeks ago. allegations that members of td christie administration linked her city's level of sandy aide
to her approval of a development project with ties to a key christ christie ally. that was enough to prompt "the "star ledger,"" that was meant to help the victims of the storm not as a political sludge fund. why are we only finding out now in late january of 2014, that this massive project in belleville, one you had to do some straining to connect to the sandy recovery effort. why are we only finding out now $6 million of sandy money is being spent on it? we have known about the project. the governor and other local leaders, they made a big to-do about breaking ground last may. it was only this week that we discovered that it is sandy money paying for this project. how have we not known that this whole time? this is where our reporting comes in. this, what i'm holding up right here, is something called the
integrity monitor act of 2013. it was passed by the new jersey legislature and signed by chris christie in march of last year. the idea behind it was simple. congress had just approved an enormous aid package for sandy recovery in billions of dollars of federal money were about to start flowing into all sorts of projects. the fight to get congress to approve that money was hard, very hard. maybe you remember the show that christie himself put on when tea party republicans initially blocked it. >> there is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the house majority and their speaker, john boehner. >> when congress finally gave in, he gave new jersey a priceless opportunity to rebuild itself the right way. the money had been approved but with, just like any other massive federal spending program, that directs money from washington through state capitals and all the way down to the county and municipal level, just like any of those projects, there was the very real potential for waste, fraud,
abuse, outright theft of those funds. there was already controversy, just after the storm hit, christie had awarded a state cleanup contract to a florida based company called ash brit. he had encouraged local municipalities to use the services too. other firms argued they could do it at lower cost. it was also represented by hailey barber's law firm. they ended up sniffing around and they said ashbritt was considered because they quickly needed a debris removal company with extensive experience in post-disaster recovery. they also said that the towns that used ashbritt by their choice said the company performed to expectations or exceeded them. still, at the same time that all this was going on, the ashbritt
controversy was fresh when they put together that integrity monitor act i just held up. that law requires that an integrity monitor, a qualified firm that can provide auditing and other oversight services, an integrity monitor be assigned to every recovery and rebuilding project worth at least $5 million. it set up what is known as a public procurement process, to let private companies bid for the right to serve as integrity monitors for the sandy rebuilding projects. they would make sure they were proceeded according to plan, that the money was being spent properly. they would be required to support any suspicion of illegal activity or any serious waste, fraud, and abuse immediately to the state attorney general and to the state controller. all of this was modeled after a plan that had been used by new york city for the massively expensive post 9/11 cleanup. on march 21st of last year. the state senate passing it a few weeks before in february. then, christie himself signing
it into law on march 27th. it went into effect right away. you could see at the bottom of the law, it took effect immediately on the day it was signed. that is how eager the state legislature was to get this program up and running. march 27th, 2013, that should have been that. from that point forward, every major sandy rebuilding contractor in nunl wew jersey w supposed to be independently monitored. the whole program would be run by chris christie's treasury department. it went ahead in 2013 and put out a request for quotations. it took bids from perspective monitoring programs. they put in bids, they were accepted, they were added to the monitoring pool. you can view them on the state website right there. they were in place to monitor those big bucks contracts. but here is the problem. here is why this all has seemingly broken down. how it ended up that a project like that multimillion-dollar senior center in bellville
managed to escape scrutiny for all this time. the problem is that the law is taking a very long time to implement. actually, the breakdown began even before the law was passed, because there was a second proposed law, a companion law, that also cleared at the same time. it called for the creation of a website to catalog every sandy recovery dollar spent at the county, municipal level. every state contract awarded, what it was for, how much it was worth, whether it was supposed to be open and subject to bidding. it was also supposed to provide similarly detailed information on every state grant awarded. all of this information was supposed to be in one comprehensive, accessible and transparent website with a rule that every new contractor grant awarded would be posted within ten business days. the margin was 77-0. in the senate, 40-0. after signing the integrity monitoring law, chris christie
vetoed it. in his message, he said it would produce unnecessary redundancies and waste government resources that he had already directed his administration to create a website to track sandy recovery money. here is what that decision by christie means from a practical standpoint. let's take that bellville project we talked about. let's say you want to go online and find out about the use of sandy funds to pay for it. we did a little exercise and started with the state controller site. when christie vetoed that website transparency bill, he specifically pointed to the website his own controller would be maintaining. that's where we started. you can see, it bills itself as the sandy transparency site. yes, you can find contracts there but not that many of them and not the bellville one. so we tried the state's housing and mortgage finance agency site. there wasn't anything there. we tried the treasury department to see if there were more contracts contracts listed there. there weren't. the department of public
affairs, no luck there. back to the controller site where you can look by county and town. that only takes you to some smaller figures and they are fema numbers, a totally different pool of money. we went to an article in the "star ledger" and followed a link to an announcement where you can find the name of the project in bellville. we found the minutes of the meeting where it was approved and that gave us the number for the project. we googled that to find out where it all started in 2011 when the project was only approved for $500,000 of aid from the state instead of $6.2 million it was approved in 2013 post sandy. even then, the only way you know that this is sandy money is to go back to that press release from the excess county executive. this sentence was the only statement we can find that links this pronlg jekject to sandy. since the project is located in one of the nine counties impacted by sandy, the project may assist senior citizens
affected by the storm. that was the justification for this being a sandy project. that's whatnot having the kind of website christie vetoed means when it comes to tracking sandy money. moving back to the law. the law that did pass, the integrity monitoring law that went into effect nearly a year ago at the end of last march. integrity monitors were selected and many have been in place and seemingly ready to go since last summer. the law requires on the first business day of each quarter, every one of those integrity monitors is supposed to provide a report to the state treasury that includes, quote, detailed findings concerning the integrity oversight monitor's provision of services and recommendations for corrective or reimmediate yell action relative to malfeasance and inefficiency. they are supposed to be taken and given to the state legislature so lawmakers and citizens can keep tabs on the
big bucks recovery projects and whether they are being completed the way they should be. we called for the legislature and asked for the reports for the third and fourth quarter of 2013. the legislature doesn't have those reports. when we checked with the state senate majority reports, they confirmed they have never received quarterly reports that they are supposed to receive under this law. the law also provides a waiver provision. the treasury department can exempt projects if it wants. it has to alert the legislature and offer written justification for doing so within 10 days. again, senate majority office confirmed to us that they have never received a single waiver form like that. think about that $60 million in sandy money that went to bellville last money. that is more than the $5 million that should have triggered the monitor law. it was supposed to mean an independent entity would theoretically be monitoring, tracking and reporting on that project. now, think about another big
contract that's been in the news recently. the biggest single sandy recovery contract yet given out. you may remember this. it was in the news last week. $68 million for a firm called hammerman and gainer, hgi it is known as. that hgi contract we found out last week was quietly canceled by the christie administration in december. they haven't fully explained why. when we asked, they referred us to a statement from the department of community affairs that said that the termination of the hgi contract came about by mutual agreement because the state is transitioning to the next phase of housing recovery programs. we contacted hgi yesterday and we have not heard back yet as of now. we know the bellville project was worth author than $5 million. we know that the hgi contract was worth a lot more than $5 million. here is something we have absolutely no idea about, whether either of those projects ever got a monitor. we have no idea, because there are no records with the state legislature and there are no
waivers. governor's office left it to treasury to explain how the integrity oversight act process works in their view. we invited someone from treasury on air to talk about the law as well as from the governor's office. they did not respond to our offer. the administration wanted to be clear to us, integrity monitors are only one facet of contracting oversight from the administration. it would be wrong to characterize this program as the only oversight action taking place. some other facets are a work in process. some are other federal agencies. earlier this week, hud secretary, shean donovan did appear to express his confidence in the handling of sandy relief aid. >> what i will tell you, could it be going faster? yes. are we doing everything we can to cut red tape? absolutely. i am confident we are monitoring this money closely. >> the christie administration did point us to the use of an
independent monitoring program by the department of community affairs. this is not something done on the integrity monitoring act. we had several conversations on thursday and friday with the treasury department in an effort to find out what is happening with the law that was signed more than ten months ago in march of 2013, a law that went into effect immediately with some massive contracts given out and massive projects already gun since then. the treasury's office told us they have spent those ten months since march training people to implement the law. quote, steadily moving through this process has allowed integrity monitors to begin being put in place earlier this month. that's january. no reports have been filed because none have yet been due. so the treasury department is telling us they have complied with the law because they have been spending these past ten months getting ready to monitor the distribution of sandy aid that has already been handed out in multimillion-dollar parcels to projects that have long since gun. as part of our conversations with the treasury department, we asked if the bellville project
has been given a monitor. we asked the same about an hgi contract, was it given a monitor. we asked how many contracts are out there worth more than $5 million, how many of them currently have monitors, how many have waivers? the statement we received back did not answer these specific questions. we contacted them again with a follow-up question asking whether we were interpreting their statement correctly that prior to january, 2014, there had been no integrity monitors in place. we did not hear back from them. we will continue to follow up on this. then, there is this. one of the firms that answered the state treasury department's call for proposals way back when the law was first enacted was ernst & young, a highly respected accounting firm. you can see their april 8th, 2013 proposal to provide program and process management auditing, financial auditing and grant management and integrity monitoring and anti-fraud services for disaster recovery from hurricane sandy.
there were a lot of proposals and there is one of many that was accepted by the state. there is ernst & young being approved in five, 2013 as an integrity monitor. this is a power point presentation that was prepared for something called the new jersey superstorm sandy fraud prevention conference late last year. here is how it describes ernst & young. >> quote, treasury's contracted partner in the centralized point of contact in the implementation of pl 2013, c 37. that is the legalese for the name of the law. if you look closely, it aers poo the treasury is delegating to ernst & young a significant role in determining which contracts should and shouldn't receive monitors and which potential monitors should be assigned to various projects. the treasurer's office has confirmed this is ernst &
young's role. in the rfq that they responded to, it made no mention of this unique role. it appears christie's treasury department has used its discretionary authority to carve out this unique and important role for earns the. it is worth noting that as the integrity monitoring act was working its way through last year, it was reported that ernst & young had ironed a new director of the northeast practices market, march 13th, 2013. the man they chose for that job is named todd christie. that would be chris christie's brother, a former wall street trader. a spokesperson for ernst & young, told us his employment began in december of 2012. the two sides were likely in negotiations for months before. we asked the governor's office about ernst & young's important role and today christie's job with the firm. they replied that they were selected through a subjective and open and competitive bidding process. they noted that they have over
175,000 employees with extensive experience with recovery work. a spokesperson for earrnst & yog told us todd christie was not involved in any respect or involved with any work related to the governor of new jersey. he they are highly qualified having performed similar work before. all of this comes back to the basic question of the christie administration and sandy money. the fact that almost no one knew it was a sandy project until this week speaks to the fact that a law that has been on the books for almost a year that was designed to avoid this kind of secrecy is apparently only now being fully implemented. it then raises the question, are there other bellvilles out there just waiting to be discovered.
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so we are talking about a law that was added to the books in new jersey almost a year ago to monitor all of these big sandy contracts that apparently is only now being fully implemented. joinings us to talk about it, we have new jersey congressman, kevin pallone and kevin walsh, associate director at the fair share housing center. there was a complicated introduction there. kevin, it seems to me even after we talked to the administration j yesterday the distinct impression i get was this law was passed last march to go into effect immediately. it looks like nothing has happened until the last few weeks. that seems like an unnecessarily long delay to me. >> this law was put in place in march. people were then hired in may. the contracts were approved and then after that, everybody thought that $1.8 billion in federal money was being spent by the state with people looking
over the shoulders of the people spending the money making the decisions. it comes as a complete surprise to the people in new jersey to now find that they haven't really even launched the program, just barely have done so according to the statement issued by the state. people in new jersey who are still out of their houses expected more than this. we've reached a point where there have been so many problems, so many inequities, such a lack of transparency, to find that the cornerstone program for insuring that there was no waste, fraud, and abuse, to find that that thing wasn't even implemented when you are trying to recover comes as a real punch in the gut. >> congressman, this is federal money going back through new jersey. did you have any idea that this monitoring thing was not even being implemented, apparently? >> no. i am so glad you brought it out this morning. this whole period from when the hgi, which was the company that was administering the sandy money, right, and hopefully sending it to homeowners and
businesses, and all the mismanagement and everything i keep hearing about every day at my office, because people don't know where their money or their checks are. if this monitor had been in place based on what you were saying, we would have had monthly oversight and reports telling us exactly what was going object and whether a contractor like hgi was actually doing their job. the fact it didn't exist and it wasn't in place, even though that was the law is incredible. because we just had so many cases of mismanagement this day where people don't know what this program is all about. i'm talking about the community development balk grant. bill pressco and i are asking that hud investigate hgi and why their contract was terminated. who is running this program? if this monitor had been operating the way it was supposed to, it is very likely none of these problems would have existed. it is incredible to think they ignored the law, didn't do
anything and now they are saying we've got to start monitoring. >> the statement they gave us, they talked about the lengthy process they are saying, it took all 2013 to put everything in place and get everything lined up for january. the time is is a little curious, the month of january when you have had the story about bellville, $6 million for the senior project. one yesterday, about $4 million in new brunswick, new jersey. the allegations coming out of hoboken about with held sandy aid. it is in the context of all this that it is now up and running. if the monitoring just began this month, if we are reading that statement correctly, the reports aren't even going to be due until june. we really won't know about this until june. >> june, maybe somewhat earlier than that. the problem here is that they were in violation of state law that whole time. the state law went into effect
right away. they were required when they made each of those decisions to look at basic issues. they should have told the public if they didn't have the program up and running. if the outside folks were there looking over their shoulders. somebody should have told someone that. as with much of the administration and the sandy recovery, it was completely secret like the hgi decision, completely secret. like our organization needs to sue them, they tried to maintain s secrecy there over how programs were run. >> we couldn't track it down. the best with he could tell, this was just a very, very long process. it raises the question of was this intentionally dragged out. it gets to the point kevin is making, overall, whether it is with this program and everything else, the whole process involving sandy money has been so opaque. why is that? >> you could speculate because they were trying to do political
shenanigans and didn't want anybody watching what they were doing. that's certainly a possibility. it is just incredible to me. i get this every day, steve. the public wants to know, am i on a waiting list. people don't know what the criteria is or what the waiting list consists of or when they are going to get off of the waiting list. if this had been in place, hgi and others would not have been able to get away with whatever they did. that would have prevented them. they would have had to have criteria and been out in the open. the lack of the monitor is significant, because it made it possible to do things wrong or even illegal. >> we wouldn't be sitting hearsaying, whatever hgi did. i want to thank kevin walsh and congressman, frank pallone, who will be joining us later in the show. coming up, the big, big story out of last night,
revelations that governor chris christie may have known about the lane closures even saying the opposite in a two plus hour press conference. what does this mean for him legally, politically, personally, all that? we have got it covered coming up next. it means unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything you purchase, every day. it doesn't mean, "everything... as long as you buy it at the gas station." it doesn't mean, "everything... until you hit your cash back limit." it means earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every place, every occasion, all over creation. that's what everything should mean. so consider... what's in your wallet? ♪ [ male announcer ] bob's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today his doctor has him on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. we still run into problems.
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take the energy quiz. energy lives here. ♪ on to the news that brought the political world to a screeching halt just about 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. it was a letter from the lawyer for david wildstein, the former christie appoint tee at the port authority that oversaw the closure of the george washington access bridge with the potential to claim everything. the letter claims that wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him at christie's january 9th press conference and that he can prove the inaccuracy of some. it seems to assert that when bridget kelly e-mailed on august 13th, to which wildstein replied, got it. she was communicating an order from the christie
administration, it was not, in other words, a rogue operation. evidence exists tying mr. christie with knowledge of the lane closures during the period when they were closed. this is a letter protesting his decision not to foot his legal bills. gich given the costs that wildstein is accruing, this is no small considerings. this could be looked as a bid for a plea deal disguised as a complaint about his legal bills. it contends explosive suggestions and says he is the man with the answers at the mysteries at the heart of the drama. he is saying, i know something, i'll talk. give me a deal. the same message that was conveyed when he responded to the state assembly's subpoena last month with reams of strategically redacted e-mails and texts. it is the message his lawyer
delivered when he appeared before the committee in early january and took the fifth. >> if the attorneys general for new jersey, new york, and the united states were to agree to clothe mr. wildstein with an immunity, i think you would find yourselves in a far different position with respect to information he could provide. >> that's your job. we just want answers to our questions. >> understood. i'm suggesting a way you can get that. >> wildstein's lawyer reiterated the same statement when he told the wall street journal that he wants to testify and that, quote, there is a story to tell. he will be happy to talk if he gets immunity. that is four instances of wild stein and his lawyer looking for a deal. something else that broke may have been the biggest news. a statement from the lawyer of
christie's former campaign manager, bill stepian. a full jury investigation has been convened. this was the statement from his lawyer explaining why his client won't be cooperating with the subpoena from the state legislative committee looking into the closures. the potential for mr. is step pea en's ensnarement in the ambiguous circumstances that led to the subpoena's issuance is undeniable in this case. allegations at the george washington bridge last september is being conducted by the united states attorney for the district of new jersey. the u.s. attorney has sphene ad christie's re-election campaign, which ran. he is in a different position. according to his lawyer, there is a grand jury investigation going on right now on top of
everything else. this was the response from the governor's office yesterday in the wake of the wildstein letter. quote, mr. wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor said, he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures or what they were for closing them to begin with. the governor said in the december 13th press conference he first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press. he had no indication this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of january 8th. the governor denies mr. wildstein's lawyer's other assertions. that's where we are this morning. david wildstein is sending signals he wants a deal. bill stepian is sending the opposite mess nlg a, girding for a legal battle or a trial. don't forget bridget kelly, who switched lawyers to one of the top criminal defense lawyers in new jersey. will she be looking for a deal too? what about the subpoenas due
back next week? will they answer any questions, or expand it further? >> we will talk about it right after this. aleve for all day r. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ we are the thinkers. the job jugglers. the up all-nighters. and the ones who turn ideas into action. we've made our passions our life's work. we strive for the moments where we can say, "i did it!" ♪ we are entrepreneurs who started it all... with a signature. legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses, turning dreamers into business owners. and we're here to help start yours. this is the creamy chicken corn chowder. i mean, look at it. so indulgent. did i tell you i am on the...
how much money do you think you'll need when you retire? then we gave each person a ribbon to show how many years that amount might last. i was trying to, like, pull it a little further. [ woman ] got me to 70 years old. i'm going to have to rethink this thing. it's hard to imagine how much we'll need for a retirement that could last 30 years or more. so maybe we need to approach things differently,
if we want to be ready for a longer retirement. ♪ i knew nothing about this. until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure. even then, i was told this was a traffic study. >> all right, here to talk about all this. we have suzy kim, national reporter with msnbc point come and done gress man bill casstrel and bob smith who has written a book on bill christie. congressman, i'll talk with you, i'm just curious your read on this letter from david wildstein's lawyer yesterday. when initially we saw this, we said wild stein is saying
christie knew about this from the beginning and he can prove it. it turns out he is saying that there is evidence that christie knew about it from the beginning but it is not clear that he has that evidence. he is saying he does have evidence that contradicts some things that christie said about him. it is trying to pars this is an exercise. >> i think you said a mouthful. the participants are always parsing their words, whether it is the governor's office. whether it is wildstein. whether it is wildstein's lawyer. everybody is being careful about the language and they should be. they could be in court under sworn testimony. this could move in that direction. i don't think it has. i have read the letter four times. i think it is a devastating letter. >> what in particular would you say is devastating? >> about the eighth para graph said he just laid it all out.
it has come to light that a person within the administration communicating the christie administration's order, et cetera, et cetera. evidence exists tying mr. christie of having knowledge of the lane closures during the period of when the lanes were closed contrary to what the governor stated publicly. that's a direct statement. that's not parsed. >> he is asserting, for instance, a christie defense that may have been plausible to some people at least even still currently is that this was like a rogue operation, wildstein and baroni and maybe bridget kelly. he is stating it as a fact that her e-mail was communicating the christie administration's orders. he is saying that came from somewhere higher up the chain. he is asserting evidence exists tying christie to that. he is not saying if he has that evidence or where it exists. there is a little bit of a
wrinkle here. what do you make of that? >> you have done a great job with this and a great job putting it together. the more you report, the more confused i get. that is a great example right there. he says evidence exists. he doesn't want to tell us what it is unless he gets immunity. he wants to be off the hook. he is thinking he wants to get off the hook before somebody else gets there and gets off the hook. i don't know if this is push the ball any further down the field to use a super bowl metaphor. i think you and i both knew that there could be evidence that somebody else had their hands in this and directed it. i think what's interesting about it, to me, is that he doesn't -- it is what he doesn't say. he doesn't say the governor knew about it and created it and oversaw it. he doesn't say that. somebody did. so it left me with a lot of questions and in the end, i
said, well, i really haven't learned much more than i have known before this came out. >> suzy, when you look at this, officially, this is a letter that's been written to the port authority, because the port authority denied paying his legal bills. the most benign reading of this would be he wants his legal bills paid. >> he points out also that they are contemplating paying baronis. how can they pay baronis when he, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, really weird. >> it looks like there is a message within the message. >> i think the context of the letter is something to be looked at. he is asking him to have his legal bills paid. he is suggesting there is stuff out there dangling a carrot in front of him suggesting that he has stuff. the thing that stood out to me about the passage the congressman read, if you read
that passage and compare it to christie's response, the response, the statement that he gave, saying christie responded saying that, listen, what we've been saying all along is totally in line with what wildstein has said, which is that we did not have any knowledge prior to the lane closures happening. you can get caught up in that. there is a very big distinction to be made. wildstein is not saying that. he is not saying he knew before e sa he said he knew during. this seems to fly in the face that this was way, way after the fact when the press reported this and the things came out. that was when i knew. i think that distinction is actually pretty important. >> we see wildstein is tough to decipher. the christie one is. we will talk more about that christie statement and next week is a big week with subpoenas coming back. >> monday and wednesday. >> we have bill stepien making a
pretty dramatic statement yesterday. we will talk that over when we come back. indulge in the pleasures of parmesan with olive garden's best 2 for $25 yet choose two melt-in-your mouth entrees like new parmesan crusted chicken or tortellini topped with velvety alfredo 3 full courses of our best 2 for $25 yet, at olive garden!
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we want to talk about what's coming up. we had wildstein thand letter and bill stepien saying, not only will i not testify before the legislative committee. he took the fifth. he is not going to cooperate in previdi prev providing documents. do you expect this committee is going to get cooperation from others or is it going to take the u.s. attorney? stepien is a smart guy, intelligent guy. he could be held in contempt. the point of the matter is, we have to get to the bottom of this as i was mentioning before. we need to know what was behind the redactions in the information provided by wild stooechblt we have wild wildstein. we have to get the redactions
out of there. i wrote a letter on september 13th. how did this all happen? people were put in jeopardy. you have homeland security issues. you have people's lives at stake and you are telling me you can't get your act together and tell us what happened now. when we find out later, it will be far worse for you. this is what the mentality is that they should have. >> politically, the consequences of anything more coming out about chris christie knowing, politically, it is catastrophic. legally, how does it get worse? >> in trenton, what is the expectation. take us through what next week will look like. everybody in the public wants to know. we saw the wild stein records. are we going to see what this committee gets back. are they going to keep it to themselves? the u.s. attorney is involved a little bit. how much are we going to see. the first thing is, they are not going to get all of the material that they asked for. it will be delayed somewhat. after they get this stuff, they are going to go looking through there and decide what they want to release.
they may find something early on and let us know to keep things going. it is probably going to be a wheel before we see all the material if we ever see all the material. >> suzy, looking at this from the national standpoint, you look at chris christie's credibility on the national stage. it is not just chris christie. we were talking about this this in the break. thinking back to the debate of the sandy funds as this money gets wasted. how much of what has come out in the last few weeks and a little bit of what we have reported today, it almost, in a way, you think about the next fight over federal disaster relief or whatever. this is the sort of story that can then be used to derail it. >> earlier on the show, you play that clip of chris christie hitting hard. house conservatives and republicans for opposing sandy funds. some did come out for idealogical reasons for this fact.
they were worried it is fraud and abuse. it does look like there has been a lot of questions of how this money is distributed and why. interestingly, i think the way these funds were given with a blank check to states and local communities, to have them decide what to do. typically, this is the argument for ways we can avoid sort of political horse trading and wheeling and dealing, is that, well, you know, at least we will let the states decide. we are not going to let folks in washington decide how to earmark this money and direct it to pet projects. the reality is, if you don't do that, someone somewhere along the lip is going to decide how to dole out these funds. who is going to receive it and why? the idea that state and local officials are somehow immune to that same kind of political horse trading than those kind of questions is, this entire thing is something. >> politics is politics. >> we will get a quick break and pick it up right after this.
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i want to thank congressman bill pascrell. suzy and bob will be back. we have more documents from hoboken and much more news on the wildstein situation. we will pick it up after this break talking about the hoboken documents we have next. begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief.
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there is more new material on yesterday's shocking revelation of the george washington lane closures. we are going to be joined by the ft. lee mayor to get his reaction. we have more on the story that dawn zimmer charged that members linked her sandy aid to her approval of a development project represented by one of the governor's closest political confident. the project in question is owned by the rockefeller group that would like to build a large commercial real estate project in the north end of hoboken. it has been represented by wolf and sampson and the founding partner is david sampson, who also happens to be chris christie's hand-picked chairman of the port authority. it is wa the port authority that paid for a redevelopment study on the land in hoboken that the rockefeller owns. it was a study that declared the area in need of a redevelopment
that would have made the project potentially eligible for tax breaks and other lucrative benefits. when the mayor appeared, with he showed you e-mails that documented aggressive efforts by wolf and sampson to move the project along earlier last year. it includes e-mails from lorie griffa, the point person on the project, attempting to connect city officials with david sampson for a conference call about the project. sampson, himself, was also copied on several e-mails to city officials. i'm getting the full-court press. one of the officials wrote in apparent exasperation at one point. that raised a question of propriety. is it right for the chairman of the port authority to be enlisted on behalf of a private developer in a city that has extensive dealings with the port authority. it raised question whether it was shared by his political ally, the governor.
that's what dawn zimmer charged on our show, that the christie administration wanted the rockefeller project approved and was using sandy funding to get its way. it's an allegation that the christie administration has vehemently denied. this brings us to the new e-mails. from april 24g9, th, 2013. this is after the redevelopment study but before they have decided what to do with it. it is addressed to steven marks, the assistant city business manager. the invitation to go to trenton at the request of the governor's office and the commissioner of the department of environmental protection. in the e-mail he makes it sound like it is simply a meeting about hoboken's flooding issues. the rockefeller property isn't mentioned. supposedly lorie griffa is supposed to attend, which leaves marks, the hoboken city
official, slightly confused. if this is a meeting between city and state, please explain what role lorie griffa has in this. i'm sorry. i don't understand. the sampson attorney rae plis, this is a meeting set up by us for our client, the rockefeller group. they have requested that the city send a representative as well. marks then asks for an agenda and a list of attendees. you can see the response here. global flooding solutions and flood control measures an permitting waivers for flood measures based on new revelations are all on the agenda. these are items zimmer is raising concerns about, her city's overall preparedness for another sandylike flood. look at number two. review of concepts for flood control measures at rockefeller property in hoboken, previous i presented to the governor's office. you can see the list of participants, state officials,
wolf and sampson officials and someone from the rockefeller group. we have seen e-mail several messages from mayor zimmer that show the office of state and brown that runs the authority and trying to arrange a meeting with the man deputized to lead the sandy recovery effort. governor christie has instructed him to meet with you regarding the economic opportunity act of 2013 and sandy recovery. that meeting has yet to take place apparently due to scheduling conflicts. there is no smoking gun in these documents. the e-mails indicate the rockefeller project was on the christie administration's radar. the desire for zimmer to meet simultaneously with the administration's point person on economic development and sandy aid is at least suggestive of the kind of explicit coupling the mayor is alleging, sandy money in exchange for expedited development. we asked christie's office if the administration wants to see
the rockefeller project in north hoboken go forward. their spokesman did not address our specific question. he did tell us these e-mails an messages are related to a different federal program entirely. they are in the process of rescheduling the meeting to accommodate federal officials. zimmer told her story to the office of the u.s. attorney for new jersey the days after she appeared on our show. yesterday afternoon, the u.s. attorney served a subpoena on the city of hoboken asking officials to turn over documents relevant to zimmer's accusations. the spokesman said that the city is complying. this came just after the rockefeller group late thursday formerly severed its relationship with wolf and sampson. given the investigation, we have decided to shift our work on the project to another firm. here to talk about all of this and everything happening out of new jersey in what has been a crazy 24 hours, brian murphy,
reporter and professor with ba ruk college and bob ingle is still with us and suzy khimm is sticking around an congressman, frank pallone, is back at the table. i will start with you on the hoboken matter. we have the george washington bridge going on and all the david wildstein talk we had last hour. on the other hand, there is still this question of hoboken and the allegations from the mayor. since she sat in this show, she has talked to the u.s. attorney and they have talked to her staff. we see wolf and sampson's partnership with the rockefeller group is gone and now you have the u.s. attorney's office subpoenaing all these records from hoboken. >> this is a serious investigation that is moving along. >> the christie administration has been pushing back and trying to say that mayor zimmer is not telling the truth or she is misunderstanding what went on here. i think what you have uncovered with those e-mails, the coupling
again with the rockefeller development project with the sandy aid and the flood control is just more evidence that she is telling the truth and that what she is saying is likely the case. it is disturbing to me for all the reasons we discussed. sandy aid is supposed to be for those that suffered from theed floo. it is not supposed to be linked to development projects or other housing projects that had nothing to do with the storm. again, this is very disturbing. we have to get to the bottom of it. there is clearly the pattern of abuse of power and culture of threats that's linking these things, saying we are going to send money to housing or other projects that don't have anything to do with the storm. that's not right. it contributes to this atmosphere in washington, as i said to you, steve, many times. when we were trying to get this passed, those in the north and south said, we are not going to
send it to new jersey and new york, you are not going to use it wisely. you are corrupt. you are going to waste the money. the last thing i need as i federal official is to have that verified. there is a we told you so. what happens in the future when we want to get money for natural disaster or anything? >> the reason we asked the administration, we wanted to ask them the simple question of, hey, did you support this project? that's a key part of this. there has been other reporting this week. "the wall street journal" had a story that looked at this rockefeller project in hoboken. you could make a case if you are the governor of the state and you want commercial development. you want the tax base and the jobs, you could make an argument for this project. there was a story in the "wall street journal" that showed that mike due hain who is one of the top political deputies of chris christie. his firm took a poll on behalf of the developer and shared the poll a year or two ago saying there were two things popular in
hoboken, major dawn zimmer and this development project. you have mike duquesne working on behalf of this project and they won't answer the basic question, is this a project you guys want? >> that's kind of in the reporting on this. the advances that we have made have come when simple questions can't be answers. where did the money go? why do you sfoert this project? it should be obvious. you shouldn't have to have a panicky answer to this. it makes people like us more suspicious. here is the poll. it is forwarded by someone who worked for a democratic elected official. it just seems like rockefeller has done a great job of lining up all the people that have to be involved on this, which is fine, except you start to see the coordination coming out of trenton. that's sort of been my question. what's the chain of custody for how people in trenton and how
people in the state house understood this project? why did he hear about it? why is there buzz about this at all in the state house when there are a million other things going on that should be on people's minds. why is this getting filtered to the mayor of hoboken. the word on the street is that you don't back this project. how did that happen? >> what do you make of the way the administration has dealt with the questions that have been raised by dawn zimmer? we've had the one public statement from the lieutenant governor. the lieutenant governor is accused explicitly by dawn zimmer. we understand there are some legal questions here. in general, the administration has not tried to clarify, yes, we absolutely wanted this project. no, we in no way -- they haven't explained much on this it seems. all of the questions are just sort of hanging there. >> i like that memo that you read that they explained they needed to talk about the flood control for that particular part as opposed to the rest of the
area. >> it is eight feet under water. >> that sounded like a stretch to me. i don't know about you. it looks like to me what they are trying to do is discredit her. obviously, i think what we have had is a he said, she said kind of thing. it is going to be very difficult to prove that maybe she said something and it was misunderstood and that kind of thing. there does seem to be an on going attempt to discredit dawn zimmer. >> suzy, do you think -- it is the age-old strategy, right? you attack the attacker or the messenger, whatever it is. do you think that approach from christie, have they succeeded at all? the line you heard right away was, well, this happened supposedly in may of 2013. she was told but the lieutenant governor that your sandy aid is linked to this development project. she is coming forward to january, 2014. i have heard that message a lot. do you think that resonates with people at all? has that attempt to discredit her worked at all? >> people's questions still stand out in people's minds.
i think of it more fundamentally. the fact we just don't understand the basic chain of events. why did this project get pushed forward? where do these things emerge? where does the governor's office stand in relation to those? those are more fundamental questions people have in mind. the congressman's earlier point about the public's trust in federal spending and how that money gets allocated. one thing that's stood out to me is why we even care about where this money went and the assumption you are going to be cynical about it. there is always going to be some political favors to be had. the fact that this is emergency relief money. the fact that a year after sandy, there are 26,000 people in new jersey still displaced from their homes. tens of thousands of people who still haven't gotten the home repairs they need. the fact that those people are
being shut out. those people aren't getting answers about, why was my application rejected? why haven't i heard about about where this stuff is coming from? it is important to keep that in mind about why we care about how the money was spent and who it was given to and the grounds on which those decisions were made. >> i think another significant thing is the announcement by rockefeller they are severing ties with wolf and sampson. you all know covering new jersey, when chris christie got elected governor, the word went out that wolf and sampson is the firm you want to be associated with. this is the firm of christie's confident. that's sort of the standing message, the preferred law firm. to have a group as prestigious as the rockefeller group, not just cutting its ties with wolf and sampson but doing it in a very public way, suggests to me there might be an attorney point. >> chris christie hasn't cut his
ties yet, has he? neither has the port authority. the port authority board meets this week, this coming week. david sampson is going to chair that meeting. >> there was a report that said people around chris christie raised the possibility of removing david sampson as the port authority chairman. chris christie wouldn't hear of it. we will pick this up, more on this on the other side. ? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life. personalized home security and automation. get professionally monitored security for just $29.99 a month. with limited availability in select markets. ♪ if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution that's right for you. with easy step-by-step guidance, we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality.
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welcome to what's next. comcast nbcuniversal bob, i know you were about to say something. go ahead. >> i am thinking about the vibe in the state house from the people associated with this investigation, the wise course is to concentrate on the bridge, not hoboken. now, that can be interpreted in many ways. one of them could be that maybe this attempt to discredit dawn zimmer is working. >> also, it is one that we know that is definitely in the hands of the u.s. attorney from the legislative standpoint. the committee seems certainly further along too with the bridge investigation.
but we were talking about this too during the break. it is an interesting point to raise about dawn zimmer and coming forward and all this. one of the things that struck me was to this question of why is she doing this now. she could have did shall-if her go -- if her goal was to score a political hit, there was a logical and risk-freeway of her to do it. do you remember the context of her coming on this show? people were raising the question, did she lose sandy aid because she didn't reendorse christie for re-election? she could have said, yes, i didn't endorse him. i'm convinced that's why i lost my sandy aid. most of the media was ready to accept the story. instead, it made what she was saying a little more credible to me, because she is going way out of her way to expose herself to morris can to make the same claim her sandy aid was held up. >> and the point about that
there is already an attorney's investigation into what dawn zimmer has talked about. to me, one of the most interesting things that has already come to light is the fact that some of her closest aids were interviewed and said that at least two of them said she told them at the time that this was happening. it wasn't something she somehow concocted over the last couple of days or weeks. this was something she raised and it concerns her enough that she talked about it with her staff. i think that's the kind of evidence that it is going to make -- improve her credibility and sort of get to the point that there is something going on here. that may be part of the reason that there might not be as much impetus to do their own digging, the fact that that stuff has come to light. >> i want to switch back then to the wildstein news and to the idea of christie.
if wildstein or somebody else can prove that chris christie was not being straightforward in that conference. this was right after the wildstein letter came out. the headline was, chris christie should resign if bombshell proves true. he claims that there is documentary proof that the governor was lying. if it is true, it would show he was lying at his two-hour press conference. not just a typical political lie but a broadway show of lies. it would leave christie so drained of credibility, he could not possibly govern effectively. he would owe it to the people of new jersey to step aside. if he should refuse, the legislature should open impeachment proceedings. last year, i was on a show and a state senator talked about going in that direction. is that the level we are at right now? >> i think so. i think they are right on point. wildstein in that letter is essentially saying the governor lied in terms of what he knew and when he knew it. if that is accurate, i don't
think he can stay in office. you saw that two-hour press conference. if the governor is lying publicly like that, how does he stay in office? he has no credibility. that's it. >> what is the motive of republicans in trenton, bob. how are they reacting to all of this. >> i will say it on the record. they support the governor, surprise, surprise. i see a lot of wore reed looks. i see a lot of worried looks in the administration, people that have concerns just behind their eyes are worried about something. >> we have had this conversation. everybody hired the people you would hire if you thought you were in very big trouble. >> everybody lawyered up. they didn't lawyer up with people. if you had a political problem you had to fix, you would hire an old hand, someone who could smooth things out for you. they all hired white collar
criminal lawyers. they all hired the kind of lawyers that people sitting around saying, boy, if i ever got into trouble, i would hire this guy. i would hire michael krichly. one of the top defense lawyers in new jersey. his claim to fame is that he beat the u.s. attorney. he beat the u.s. attorney in that whole operation big rig roundup. that's her attorney. she was originally represented by walter timpone, very close to the christie world. she didn't want to embarrass him anymore. she hires mike krichly. we talk about wildstein and stepien. bridget kelly seems like a major wild card here. >> just in terms of the editorial pages and the response from the general public might not be following every incremental development. there is concern about what christie knew and when he knew
it. christie himself made the point that the single biggest offense his aides made was the fact that they lied to him. if it is true that christie lied and misrepresented what he knew and when he knew it, that sort of thing, that's when you get these headlines on the tabloid saying, christie knew. that's going to be the takeaway. folks are going to take. regardless of all the other kind of layers of this. politically speaking, that's why you are getting this sort of empettis saying he should step down if this is true. >> he would have to know where he was putting himself in that marathon two-hour press conference. he would have to know if evidence came to light later on, because that would leave him. we all have that on tape. >> i have shared this story on other shows. the first thing i have thought
of was brett chendler. he called him a liar, his education commissioner in 2010. he had to know there were documents out there that could have disproven that. he came out with them. >> he could say, okay, i made a mistake but he couldn't stand being called a liar. he came out fighting and it turns out he was right. >> now, bridget kelly, who he called a liar five times, has michael critchley as her defense attorney. >> we want to thank congressman frank pallone. one of the critical players will join us live at this table right after this. ♪ we are one, under the sun ♪ under the sun... [ female announcer ] fiber and protein. together as one. introducing new fiber one protein cereal. her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief.
here as the table is the mayor of ft. lee, mark sokolich. did you take the george washington this morning and how was it? >> i certainly did and it was clear sailing and ample names available to ft. lee. >> the ft. lee only lanes that people from all these other towns use. >> steve, we only wish they were ft. lee only lanes. they certainly are not. >> i lived in hoboken for a while. when i would use the george washington bridge, would i use the fd lee only resident lanes. i can vouge for that not being just a ft. lee situation. >> you will forever be remembered if nothing for that comment about david wildstein on this network. in the news in a big way yesterday with this letter to the port authority hinting that there is evidence out there, he doesn't say if he has it. he says, there is evidence out here that chris christie knew about this while it was going on, knew about these closures
while it was going on. i wondered of what you make about what he had to say through the letter. >> you have to read the letter. it is an artfully written lawyer letter. it is what i do for a living as well. the first part of it asks for the port to reconsider their rejection for wildstein's request for legal fees and gets into son conflict of interest issues and concludes that there was knowledge on the part of the governor. it doesn't say before. it says during the lane closures. i've said this many times in the last day. if during the lane closures means that monday, september 9, and no action was taken for the next four days, you know, in my mind, that's a big problem. your solemn oath would have dictated that you protect, you serve and you do whatever it is in your power to make sure that retribution does not continue and put people in harm's way. if he found out on tuesday, still a problem. wednesday, still a problem. thursday, a problem but less of one rather than monday. i think it is a question of timing. i don't want to prejudge anyone. i can appreciate the context under which the letter was
written but it is certainily a damming letter. >> when you say monday, a big problem, thursday, less of a problem. there is also the issue of if chris christie knew about this while it was playing out. there is the issue of the next few months. if chris christie knew about this that week back in september, and spent those next few months ignoring it and not asking questions, and not disciplining anybody on his team and openly mocking people who asked him about it, that's a serious problem too, isn't it? >> it is a real big problem. it is also in complete contravention of what he said in the two-hour press conference and what he represented to a very small group when he came up to apologize. i have always said i have taken him at his word. along that line. this isn't rehearsed. i'm saying it from my heart. there is a debt of gratitude that ft. leos folks like you. if this story wasn't followed by
the lorettas and the steves and the rachels and so forth, and this never came to light, as ft. lee's mayor, i would be wondering what will fall upon us. so we're appreciative. >> thank you. i wonder since this story has gotten so much coverage and since so much has come out and will continue to come out, do you have any more insight, any more thought about the root of all of this? why did this happen to your town? why an e-mail went out for bridget kelly saying, time for traffic problems in ft. lee. the only theory that has come out, the idea you didn't endorse chris christie and this is what happened to you. i have always suspected there has to be something else. i don't know what it is. do you have any more insight or thinking about what it was that was at the root of this. >> you too seem to agree with my theory, which is, i'm not important enough. i said that from day one i agree with you. look. from september 9th, at 6:30 when my police chief was given direct
orders by me that he is to do nothing else other than to deal with the traffic and find out what's going on, the rumors continue to come back to me, hey, i'm hearing this is about you. mayor, i know you don't want to hear it but i'm hearing this is about you. from that september 9 day, there was always that doubt in my mind. when we didn't get any response and we came to use and the traffic cones removed, no respond from the port, all the digging by the chief and my office and me finding out it was about me. you start to question your judgment. once we got to the end of that week, i was pretty convinced it was about me. i've also been the guy that's been saying, look, i don't feel like i was ever directly requested to endorse governor christie. it was a gradual courting. we have engaged. there was dialogue where people would tell me about, where, for example, we would start off with a litany of folks in describing who was now endorsing governor christie. then, i would be asked, hey, what do you think about that?
would you consider that? i never viewed that as a direct request. >> it is not that you are not important enough. the one thing that made sense to me from chris christie's press conference. new jersey is 565 municipalities. there are a lot of democratic mayors and municipalities. the overwhelming number of democratic mayors didn't endorse him and didn't endure what your town endured. i suspect it is about you or is it about some other dealings you had with the administration or its allies? >> i don't want this to sound too self-serving. ft. lee is the community of 47,000 people. we are the host community to an ongoing $1 million project, redevelopment issue. with the gateway to the state of new jersey, our first 47 tower, incredibly, architecturally
advanced tower has topped out. a new retail section is being built. we have been called one of the more progressive towns in the state of new jersey. we have been called one of the best communities for young professionals to move to in the state of new jersey. there has been an entire culture change in ft. lee. we are excited about it. i'm not the prize but i've got to tell you, i think ft. lee is the prize. i know i'm its mayor and i am supposed to sing its praises. we are incredibly progressive, phenomenal success, our tax rate has stabilizeded, our bond debt is down. when you are successful and your town is successful, it's a plum to say the host community to the biggest bridge in the world is on my side. i'm only speculating. i don't think it is too far fetched. >> you have mentioned it before and we have talked about it a little bit on this show. there is that $1 billion redevelopment plan that is center piece of your agenda.
it is sort of at the foot of the george washington plinbridge, t idea that chris christie put out, i wouldn't know who the mayor of ft. lee is. he would know the mayor of the town with a project like that is, he would know who that mayor is. if nothing else, when you start looking at what's going on and that project, the idea chris christie would have no idea who you were was never credible or believable to me. i want to thank the mayor for joining me. >> my pleasure. >> how to interpret that new wild stein lett wildstein letter. is he angling at a deal from the media? >> we have two others joining us to dissect it next. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief!
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customer satisfaction by j.d. power. (natalie) ooooh, i like your style. (vo) so do we, business pro. so do we. go national. go like a pro. jooirk still unclear what those two big letters from yesterday mean for the governor politically. legally, that doesn't look like an open and shut matter either. here to analyze those two letters is the two different strategies both men are pursuing, i want to bring in former federal prosecutor, paul butler and from houston, criminal defense attorney, brian weiss. they are becoming our legal dream team of sorts. we thank you both for joining us this morning. brian, i'll start with you, because the interpretation i have had and a lot of other people have had of this letter from wildstein's lawyer was,
sure, officially, he is trying to get the port authority to pay for his legal representation. this is the fourth in a series of sort of pleas for some kind of immunity deal. i wonder if you read it that way and if you do, can you explain to me the logic of pursuing that through the media and not behind closed doors? >> sir, i think it is simple, steve. david wildstein has all but gone to the center span of the gwb and said, i'm the guy. i'm the guy that can give you the governor. i'm the guy that can connect the dots. i'm an appetizer. i can lead you to the on tray. it is no surprise he has gone and hired alan ze gus, who is a deal maker. in any jurisdiction, there are dealmakers and lit gators. there are guys that you want to hire if you want to put the state to its burden of proof or in this situation where you think you are the one who can
give the investigators everything that they want. i think this is amazing that david wildstein has come front and center and said, what we have all said on this show, but it bears repeating. the first guy to the courthouse ultimately gets the best deal. >> but the public nature of this. it is one thing if he quietly went to the u.s. attorney and said, here is what we've got. here is what we are willing to tell you. presumably, the u.s. attorney would be open to that. to be doing this so publicly, is this telling us something? is this too desperate? >> part of what he is trying to do is get his lawyer paid and as a member of the profession, i have to say, it is a good thing when people pay their lawyers. the other thing is, he talks about some evidence that connects christie to bridge dl gate. well, the prosecutor doesn't need his cooperation to get that evidence. here is why the prosecutor is
the most powerful actor in the criminal justice system. he has this extraordinary subpoena power where he could subpoena every document, every text message, every e-mail, every phone log that david wild stein ever touched. david wildstein can't claim the fifth for that. the other thing the prosecutor has on his side is time. he is going to take his time to follow these leads wherever they go. he is not in any hurry to make any decisions about who do immuneize. he is not thinking about the republican primary season or the presidential election. all he is thinking about is, can he make a case against governor christie? >> what you just said about all the information that the u.s. attorney can get access to without david wildstein or anybody else cutting a deal, under what circumstance, as a federal prosecutor, would you need to cut a deal with somebody like david wildstein? >> you can't compel him to testify. so the fifth amendment protects testimony. if you need him to come to court
or come to some kind of pre-court proceeding and say what he actually did, then that's what you would make a deal. if i'm thinking about who i'm making a deal with based on what we know now, i'm looking more at bridget kelly than wildstein. she is a very sympathetic, loyal lieutenant, single mom of four kids. does anyone think she went off reservation and was doing all this stuff without higher-ups knowledge? most people think other people knew and she was just following orders. at the end of the day, i think she was a more compelling witness. >> brian, one thing i want to ask you about too. wildstein's lawyer in this letter. it is such a carefully worded letter. he says there is evidence that his client has evidence that can undercut claims that christie made about him in that january 9th press conference. he just states that there is evidence out there that chris christie knew about these lane closures as they were happening. he does not state that wildstein was in possession of that
evidence and has that evidence. it seems like there a fine line there trying to walk. if wildstein were to say he has that evidence, then it would raise the question of why he didn't present that evidence to the legislative committee when he was subpoenaed. is he in any danger there? >> no, not really i think from the very beginning. when you have parallel investigations, the legislative investigation really is kind of aaa baseball, if you will. paul fishman's investigation is the show. that's the investigation where careers will be made and lives will ultimately be ruined. going back to watergate. the ultimate question any time there is an investigation, what did the lead suspect know and when did he know it. david wildstein says he can answer both questionses. i agree with paul. he and i agree that bridget
kelly is a much more likely domino to roll. credible, a single mom with kids to feed. in this situation, any prosecutor that is going to cast the female or the male lead is looking for somebody that will play well at four, five, six, and 10:00 and on this show on saturday and sunday morning, steve. >> one final question. the other guy who had an issue, bill stepien, the former campaign manager refusing not just to testify but to turn over documents as well. brian is saying the legislative committee is sort of aaa baseball in all this. are there serious consequences for not turning over those documents even to that committee? >> it is what a good attorney would do. there is this complicated fifth amendment doctrine called the act of production privilege which means you don't have to turn over documents. there is something about the act of turning them over that would incriminate you. you almost never win. when lawyers make those motions. it is just a way of buying time.
>> buying time. that's a delaying tactic. i want to thank former federal prosecutor, paul butler, criminal defense attorney, br e brian, wice. you have probably heard me say it before. before david wildstein was in national news, he was my boss. the same goes for another one of panelists. we are going to talk about the david wildstein we know and what you should know about him. we will do that right after this. ur symptoms. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus severe cold and flu speeds relief to these eight symptoms. [ breath of relief ] thanks. [ male announcer ] you're welcome. ready? go. before chantix, i tried to quit probably about five times. it was different than the other times i tried to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix varenicline is proven to help people quit smoking. it's a non-nicotine pill. chantix reduced my urge to smoke. that helped me quit smoking. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking, or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop chantix,
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ as many viewers have probably heard me say, david wildstein was my boss when i worked for politicsnj.com. joining me now is brian murphy, another journalist that also worked for wildstein. the man at the center of the bridgegate scandal. he has accused christie of lying. he says there is evidence to prove it. brian joins me now. summer of 2002, i will always
remember this. i came down from massachusetts to new jersey to work for this anonymous website edited by this guy under the sue done anymore wally edge. i met you at the tick-tock diner. >> disco fries. >> he drew me a map of the politics of new jersey. we have both had this interesting experience. i don't think either one of us thought we would see him. i wonder from your perspective, watching ought the coverage of david wild steistein, what do y think people should know? i think the relationship is more
complicated. . he was the scholar athlete. i didn't mix with david wildstein. they weren't buddies. they knew each other. they weren't best friends. they are two very different kind of personalities. david wildstein is a details guy. he would be the kind of -- i think doing something that would grat tu i tussally insult him was a mistake. was a big strategic mistake. saying i would never hang out with delta house. that was a wrong attack. because i think david wildstein was a fiercely loyal boss to have. if you have him as a supporter, that's great. that's a great supporter to have in your corner. it strikes me -- he strikes me as an extremely -- i don't know if i'd use the word dangerous, he would be a formidable opponent. >> i'll tell you just my experience of working with him, the loyalty to i was on his
team, he was my guy, and he had my back. >> that's right. >> new jersey politics is a tough business. when you're 23 and it's easy for everybody to -- they don't have to take you that seriously. him having my back i can look at so many times when that was hugely beneficial to me and to the site. the flip side of it is is the people on the receiving end of that, i didn't want to be in their shoes. he knew how to deal with them aggressively. >> and he clearly ask a guy who saves paper. right? which in a case like this where papers are being subpoenaed from you and records are being subpoenaed from you, and we just don't know what his -- what were in the file boxes that were carried out of the port authority that day in his car. right? and he hints at that in the letter. the commissioners, maybe he's got stuff on recusals that should have happened that didn't happen. we just don't know. but there is evidence that exists. that's the claim. >> that's the other thing i try
to get people to understand about him. he is a long-term strategic thinker. he prepares for contingencies. he wants to be ready. >> not going to be without a chair when the music stops. >> exactly right. hope that is a little insight to david wildstein from two people that worked for him. what do we know now we didn't know last week? after this. florentine and tuscany. fancy feast. a medley of love, served daily. mom? come in here. come in where? welcome to my mom cave. wow. sit down. you need some campbell's chunky soup
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>> so what i learned this week is there are at least some republicans who really miss mitt romney. who really -- there was a poll done of new hampshire republicans in which, you know, they threw out a whole bunch of names for 2016 including chris christie, bobby jindal, mitt romney came in first at 25%. >> there it is. >> chris christie, maybe 16%, 17%. maybe folks, you know, are kind of pining for the days in which the problem with the candidate was they were too clean cut. >> romney surging. brian? >> it got swallowed up in the news cycle, but we learned in harrison, new jersey, there was a station built that was used with money that was redirected into jersey. the governor's brother, port authority commissioners were both sides of that were involved in profiting off it. >> that story we are talking about that story on the show tomorrow. >> and on monday we find out how
they plan to spend the next $1.5 billion in sandy funds. and i learned also from you that they needed a monitor for the monitor of the funds. >> a monitor for the monitor. anyway, i want to thank all of our guests today including suzy, brian, and bob. thanks for getting up this morning. thank you for tuning in. stick around next for melissa harris-perry. she is next. [ male announcer ] we all deserve a good night's sleep. thankfully, there's zzzquil. it's not for colds, it's not for pain, it's just for sleep. ♪ because sleep is a beautiful thing™. ♪ zzzquil. the non-habit forming sleep aid from the makers of nyquil®. zzzquil. one day you'll be standing on a podium.ar future olympian,
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yeah... try new alka seltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief! this morning my question, what will 1 billion people be doing on valentine's day? plus president obama tells congress it's with or without you. and finding the funk. the film maker nelson george. but first, what did he know and when did he know it?