tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC February 8, 2014 2:00am-2:31am PST
let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this friday evening report from "the bergen record." quote, governor christie's administration orchestrated an extensive campaign over two years that involved gifts to ft. lee, including port authority funded shuttle buses, snowplowing, pothole repair and emergency radios to convince the borough's mayor to offer his endorsement of the governor during his reelection campaign. mayor mark sokolich said in his most extensive comments to date on the george washington bridge scandal.
when sokolich did not offer his endorsement to the governor, he says he was punished by paralyzing traffic jams at the bridge that were ordered by christie's appointees at the port authority during five days last september. also late this friday evening, politico released the following story. he has done it again. the governor of new jersey has denied being the governor of new jersey. the trend of this conduct continues, even as i speak it. remember that memo that the governor's office released last week mocking and deriding the high school behavior of christie's top accuser, david wildstein? remember that stuff about him suing the high school kid over something to do with his high school, how he was accused by his teacher of being deceptive? remember all that? remember how it was all proven to be a total distortion of fact? guess what? according to politico, after a week of letting that cheap attack on his number one accuser sit out there, people around christie tonight, god knows who they are because they refuse to give their name say christie didn't sign off on that cheap little memo. why didn't christie say this all
week? why did he let it sit out there during the radio interview he did? why does everything coming from christie's office, like closing down the bridge lanes and allegedly threatening the mayor of hoboken and all the rest get so neatly denied some time later by the governor? how come we only know it didn't come with the governor's approval when it begins to stink bad enough? this isn't stopping. this continued effort to get stuff done because the governor wants it done only to be told it wasn't him, it was somebody else, it was his deputy communications director, it was bridget or it was david or it was bill or it was christina. when it is going to be that it happened because of the one calling the shots over all of these people? when are people going to stop taking the fall for a governor's office that only seems to operate under the rule that the governor had nothing to do with anything? eugene robinson is a pulitzer prize winning columnist for "washington post" and an msnbc contributor, and jonathan capehart is the opinion writer at "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst. i want to go over these two big bombshells tonight. the first one of course is for
once finally now the mayor, sokolich of ft. lee, the man who you can say is the victim of this whole thing has come out and said this long wooing campaign when all these little goodies, this cornucopia of goodies came from trenton, and then when they didn't buy him, according to him that. >> didn't get him bought, then they went nuts. >> right. >> and shut down his bridge. >> the suggestion was it was punishment for not giving endorsement. but we didn't know about the wooing of mayor sokolich. so it does establish, it certainly gives weight to this whole theory. >> and guess what else it does. it kills the alibi of the governor, he wasn't on my radar. >> he wasn't on my radar. who wanted an endorsement from him anyway? >> jonathan, this point, everybody wants the story to be understandable. and one of the jobs i have here is to keep them understandable, if they are. this one has come down to from the beginning, the seed here, this hurricane story is that this guy punished a mayor through his office, whether he did it by instrument or by
general habitual teaching of his staff how to behave, got it done, because the guy wouldn't play ball with him and set him up for a national victory which is what christie was after here. >> and publicly saying he had no idea, had nothing to do with it, didn't know anything, doesn't know anybody, nothing. yet it seems like every week there is another story that shows that of course he knew. >> who is approving the special radios and all that stuff for his operation if it wasn't the governor? >> right. but chris, last week the story was from "the new york times" that chris christie had a binder full of mayors. they would hand him this binder with the mayors, the projects in their towns. >> it sounds like -- >> but all the information he would ever need. >> there he is on the radio interview. he had an hour to talk about this. explain he wouldn't let the word go forward that he was trashing his high school classmate, accuse him of being a d-bag, oh,
he is the kind of guy that sues, lies to his teacher. and then a week later, according to people familiar, he didn't do that. and he won't even step forward and say he didn't do it. >> he is not saying he didn't put it out. it's people familiar with the situation who say he didn't put this out. >> sourcing on this story if it's the governor? >> absolutely. and wasn't he asked about it during the radio interview, the first interview after all this? and that's the time when you say what was done in that memo was wrong. my staff has been punished. that's not the way we should do things. he was on much firmer ground friday night with the very terse statement he said in reaction to wildstein than that two-page memo that came out the next day. >> this is just really weird, first of all, that these people are unidentified that are saying this that. >> he didn't put the memo out. >> and how can you believe that he didn't know, that he somehow disagreed with this statement or thought it went too far. he let it stand out there for a week.
and how can we believe, chris, that any statement could come out of the governor's office about this issue that wasn't vetted by chris christie, by his lawyers, by his wife. >> it reminds me of the north koreans in the korean war who would send people out in the first ranks without any rifles. let them take the bullets. >> if it did come out without his knowing about it, he is the worst administrator i've ever heard of. >> does he read "the new york times"? does he pick up the paper and know what people are putting out in his name? all it takes is who did that? take that back. i didn't do it. from the politico story tonight, quote, christie's aides did not run the document, which took the extraordinary step of highlighting incidents from wildstein's high school days by the governor before they sent out. according to two people familiar with the matter. instead, someone tucked the high school lines into the daily briefing e-mail to the governor. so why are we getting this bouquet of denial a week after
the memo went out is my question? a little bouquet coming out on a friday night. just got it, just moved. >> i think we're all speechless to try to understand what the hell is happening in trenton. >> how come the governor is not responsible for anything? >> i don't understand how it could have gone out without his approval. and i don't understand why someone is denying it now, because it so lacks credibility, and makes the governor seem out of touch with what is going on in his office. >> it actually damages the governor even more. it makes him look out of control, actually. not him, but his administration. the wheels are coming off the christie administration. >> here is what i think is going to be the story of the weekend in britain, and your papers as well, the post. i think at times everybody else in new jersey is going to cover a story tomorrow about the admission by the mayor of ft. lee, the guy who is the brunt of this attack, or the closing down of bridge traffic where he for the first time explains this attempt to woo him, the
seduction campaign, which led to this climatic moment when they realized in trenton after all the blandishments, after all the stuff we've sent this character, he is still not playing ball. and then you go, well, now it does make sense that they would do something pretty horrendous to stick it at him. >> right. hence the traffic problems in ft. lee. that follows logically from what we now know about the courtship. and they were disappointed suitors at that point. and they were angry. >> they probably figured they paid for service. >> yeah, right. they thought they had the guy. >> and my question, how does the governor now in his next interview on radio, maybe monday again deny he wasn't paying attention to the ft. lee mayor with all this stuff they were throwing up at him? >> it sort of flies in the face of everything we know, or i should say everything we've been told. >> right. >> by christie's image packagers of the way he is. he is somebody who is take charge. he is somebody who is in control.
he is something who knows everything that is going on. and now all of the sudden -- >> oh, there he is in his ralph lauren costume, whatever. here we go. >> pretend like he doesn't know what is going on. >> you're the prosecutor in this case. you go i want motive. and you say well they seem to keep pushing him with stuff and gifts and bouquets of stuff. and everything they could send up there, pothole fillers and all this little courtesies. and then he didn't play ball. >> uh-huh, right. >> they're putting their pieces together. >> right. they're putting pieces together. it seems like a logical motive for what subsequently occurred. and that's a powerful narrative that makes sense that is going to have to be countered. >> thank you, gene robinson. what a day to spend friday. friday seems to be the night they put out all this stuff and they're trying to cover it up. thank you, eugene robinson. thank you, jonathan capehart. coming up, more on the man at the center of this scandal, david wildstein. he is the guy christie has been criticizing, or somebody in his office. he is also christie's worst nightmare. that's why he is going after
him. it's been done again. rand paul tries to smear hillary clinton by going after bill clinton. he called him a predator again. this guy just trying to curry favor with those on the right or does he think this stuff will actually work in a primary situation? we'll see. and look. who sees no obvious reason why he shouldn't run for president, joe biden. well one obvious reason is hillary clinton. is he ready to run against hillary clinton? that's my issue. i know it seems strange. i think he is basically wanting us to believe he is willing to go up against her for a lot of reasons. finally, let me finish tonight with how the pattern in the christie matter is so clear now, crystal clear. this is "hardball," the place for politics. the secret is out. hydration is in. [ female announcer ] only aveeno daily moisturizing lotion has an active naturals oat formula that creates a moisture reserve so skin can replenish itself. aveeno® naturally beautiful results. i takbecause you can't beatrning for zero heartburn. woo hoo!
governor chris christie's biggest headache in the bridge scandal is david wildstein. now it turns out wildstein may be more dangerous to christie than we previously thought. "new york times" reporter kate zarnicky reports today that wildstein's sources when he wrote for the blog politics nj include the same players at the center of this bridge scandal, including christie himself. quote, wildstein's sources, including the u.s. attorney at the time, chris christie, plied him with tips and poured out their souls in e-mails and instant message conversations at all hours, knowing little more about him than an e-mail address. bridget anne kelly, quote, was one of wally edge's best source. bill stepien, quote, was one of the young operatives whose career he nurtured. in other words, david wildstein knows where the bodies are buried in jersey. and that store of knowledge could become a very dangerous weapon against governor christie in the weeks ahead. brian murphy was the managing editor of politics nj where he worked for david wildstein who then used the pen name wally edge. thanks for joining us tonight. i want you to comment on two
earlier stories quickly. one, it seems like mayor sokolich is now talking. he put out the word with "the bergen record" late today. it's in the paper now that he had all kinds of motive, the governor, to basically stick to it ft. lee's mayor sokolich. >> right. >> the trenton folks, the governor were giving him all kinds of gifts. they were giving him shuttle buses, fixing potholes, and found out he wasn't going to play ball with him which to me makes a motive for crashing down on the bridge there and closing lanes. the second big story, of course, is that christie somehow a week after letting it sit out there is denying his trashing of david wildstein in that memo that went out last week. all of the sudden after doing the radio interview, after watching news coverage all week, he all of the sudden, somebody close to him i guess decides, i'm sorry, the phrase is someone familiar with him has decided he had nothing to do with that. what is it with christie, who never seems to be -- is he casper the ghost?
is he never anywhere? what is his m.o., i'm not here, i didn't do that, but everything i want done, damn it, gets done. can you be a bully and be invisible at the same time? that's my question. >> yeah, i think that's bizarre, isn't it? the story and the fact that it dropped on saturday night. now we're getting the second piece of it at 4:30 in the afternoon on friday, six days later, it really makes me wonder. i had said that it couldn't have possibly been the professional communications staff because no professional communications specialist would do an e-mail like that and send that kind of thing out. it is still hard for me to believe that that came out of mike drewniak's office. no matter what they're seeing now, it seemed panicky. it seems like something done in haste. >> why does the governor always wait until something begins to stink before he denies it? >> yeah. >> he wasn't out there denying
anything with the bridge traffic when it was happening. he wasn't sending the mayor down hoboken to scare mayor zimmer, and saying you don't play ball on my real estate deal. he is denying this later yet realtime people are always talking in his name. >> right. that's right. >> in realtime, the lieutenant governor is saying the governor wants this done. in realtime, the bridge gets closed because somehow bridget kelly gets word it's time for a traffic problem. and wildstein gets the word, somehow obey what the governor's office wants done. so he is like a frankenstein. he creates this monster of activity that keeps going on all the time. and only when it looks bad or gets caught he says oh, i had nothing to do with that. who is the man behind the curtain? >> in some ways we're trying to figure out where is the perimeter in this office, right. who is going to be the person who knows what is going on and who is going to be able to tell us what christie knew and what christie ordered, right, and how deep christie was involved in this. because the sense that -- the sense that i get out of trenton
is that there are three or four people who work around the governor, who talk to him. and that these people sort of relay to the junior staff what is going on. and one of those people -- >> kevin o'dowd and mckenna. now the question is -- >> and stepien. >> they can't lie. they don't have a client. they're government officials. so how do they protect -- he likes to say only two reports, a you like to say. >> right. >> but wildstein here, look at this guy. it's in his face. i'm not going to get screwed, that face says to me. >> exactly. >> i'm not your fall guy, mr. governor. and i did go to high school with you. and stop calling me a zero or a nerd in this stuff. if i were wildstein, i would be getting a little mad and say stop putting trash talk on me. here comes a week later somebody around the governor says we better disown that trash talk against this guy because he is going to be perhaps the star witness. >> and chris, have you noticed in that "times" article where i
should say i'm quote and steve kornacki is also quoted. the one thing i also noticed working for wally edge, working for david wildstein who i called wally edge at the time. >> you were like charlie's angels, weren't you? you weren't charlie's angels. >> i didn't know who it was. i never had to lie to a source. and that was easy. there was a better way for me to do the job. >> and christie was talking to you guys, talking to the editor of this, the wally edge is his name. all this was going on, and the governor, in other words, was talking, didn't know he was talking to wildstein. so he knew wildstein better than he admitted because he didn't know he was talking to him all the time. isn't that weird? >> yeah. >> i didn't know him since high school, but i was feeding him stuff for his online column all these months. >> i'm not sure whether christie knew wally's true identity at the time. he certainly knew by the time he appointed david wildstein to the port authority. but the thing that -- the thing that i would point out in "the new york times" article is that one of the things about working for wally edge was you knew, and he befriended people who were junior staff on campaigns.
that's how he met me. he liked staff. and one of the rules was you never go after staff, right. >> because? >> principles are responsible for the actions of their staff. >> that's my value. i worked in politics for a long time. i worked a long time in politics. and every time some staffer gets blamed, i say wait a minute, the fish rises from the top. you can't assume that that person wasn't carrying out their duties. even scooter libby with the vice president. thanks, brian murphy. i didn't think we would have all this piling on tonight of news which we got so much of tonight. coming up next, so long to a friend. yeah. jay leno, what a night last night was. very emotional, and very genuine for a good guy. this is "hardball," the place for politics. so you can breathe easier all day. zyrtec-d®.
boy, this is the hard part. i want to thank you, the audience. you folks have been just incredibly loyal. this is tricky. we wouldn't be on the air without you people. secondly, this has been the greatest 22 years of my life. [ applause ] >> that's jay leno saying goodbye to "the tonight show" last night in a sendoff that was ever bit as gracious as it was heartfelt. there was much to celebrate about a guy who has been an american institution for over two decades now. i can certainly say jay leno was always at the top of his game when it came to my favorite subject politics, and he brought back some of those greatest hits in his final show. >> so for whatever it's worth, that's what i think. i would like to say one other thing on another subject.
>> this is the last thing i'm going to say. i don't think god's through with me. ♪ don't get fooled again >> can't get fooled again. ♪ no, no, no >> can't get fooled again. >> i look forward to continuing this dialogue in the months ahead. thank you very much, everybody. >> everybody see that? did you see it? ♪ ♪ i just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe ♪ >> great stuff. many of the folks who couldn't be there last night put together farewell videos with plenty of advice about what jay should do next. >> jay, do what i do. use your downtime to paint. i love it. check it out. >> you know, jay, i was once the
host of a late night show myself, emmy award winning, critically acclaimed. but there came a time when i was replaced by a younger guy, that no-talent greg kinnear. but you know what? you have to learn to deal with it. hello, doctor! >> jay, you've made a whole lot of jokes about me over the years, but do not worry, i'm not upset. on a totally unrelated note, i've decided to make you my new ambassador to antarctica. hope you got a warm coat, funny man. >> well, the night was jay's, and he earned it. in the end, his final signoff was a fitting tribute to "the tonight show" itself, the program he inherited from an idol who made him a legend and it made him a legend. that show will go on, of course. but as emotional as jay was, he showed real class last night. >> it's been it's been a great institution for 60 years. i'm so glad i got to be a part of it. but it really is time to go. hand it off to the next guy. it really is.
in closing, i want to quote johnny carson, who was the greatest guy to ever do this job. he said i bid you all a heartfelt good night. >> that's "hardball" for now. coming up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. zyrtec-d®. find it at the pharmacy counter. [ female announcer ] olay presents the new regenerist luminous collection. renews surface cells to even skin tone. in just two weeks, see pearlescent, luminous skin. new regenerist luminous. from olay.
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