tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC February 11, 2014 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
rebuke to all the reasons people invent for killing each other for war. that's the song we're going to hear for as long as it's necessary to have someone singing it. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm steve kornacki in tonight for chris hayes. we have breaking news from washington, d.c. where the republican-controlled house of representatives has voted on a bill that would suspend the nation's debt limit until march 15th of 2015. this is a so-called clean debt limit increase. there are no strings attached to it. the bill passed tonight by a vote of 221-201. all but two democrats voting yes along with 28 republicans who crossed over to vote with them. and quite possibly it's created a new norm that's much like the old norm in congress in which the debt ceiling hikes passed
again and again with little fanfare garnering only symbolic no votes from the opposition party as well as obviously enough ayes for passage. it was no less iconic leader than president ronald reagan, himself, who wrote this in his diary entry in november 1983. "day began with gop congressional leadership. a full cabinet room. last night the republican senate very irresponsibly refused to pass an increase in the debt ceiling which is necessary if we're to keep the government running. i sounded off and told them i'd veto every dollar in the thing they sent down unless they gave us a clean debt ceiling bill. that ended the meeting." fast forward to president obama 30 years later circa 2011 after the gop took over the house and republicans decided then that the debt ceiling was not going two a symbolic vote anymore and was now going to be a bargaining chip for them. president obama, it is fair to say, back then he enabled this. he played their game and in july of 2011, after coming right up
to the brink of a potentially cataclysmic default, president obama and congressional leaders reached a deal which included more than $2 trillion in spending cuts. this was the budget control act of 2011. it marked the birth of something called the joint select committee on deficit reduction. you might know that as the supercommittee. a supercommittee that was widely hated by members of both parties and which after its failure to arrive at specific cuts it led to something more hated than that, something known as sequestration that took effect earlier this year. since that debacle of 2011, and all of the fallout that came with it, president obama has been on something close to a mission to never go down the road of debt ceiling bargaining again. to get back to clean debt limit hikes, the clean debt limit hikes that were routine before his presidency. last october, republicans agreed to suspend the debt ceiling until february 7th, but only after a disastrous government shutdown gave them little choice. and that brings us to today's
vote. after weeks of the republican leadership floating various ideas on how to get something out of this supposed standoff. something like approval of the keystone xl pipeline or repeal of the health care laws' so-called risk car door corrid medicare doc fix or living adjustment for military retirees. after all that, they landed back at nothing. speaker boehner opting for a clean debt ceiling hike after predictable grumbling about president obama. >> he's the one driving up the debt and the question they're asking is, why should i deal with his debt limit? so the fact is we'll let the democrats put the votes up. we'll put a minimum number of votes up to get it passed. >> whatever frustration speaker boehner may be experiencing, it seemed to be coupled with some relief. >> it's a fairer way to assess this.
thanks. >> zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay. plenty of sunshine, coming my way. >> with today's passage, we may have finally erased the last regrettable three years of history with regard to the debt ceiling. in return to what this used to be. where the opposition party would cast symbolic no votes but ultimately leaders of both parties would exercise their responsibility and come up with enough yes votes to raise the debt ceiling. is tonight the night that this bipartisan norm has been restored in washington? meeting with the republican conference this morning, speaker boehner, himself, reportedly took a fascinating position. he said, "i'm getting this monkey off your back and you're not even going to clap." a playful jab. joining me now, evan mcmoore santora, white house correspondent your buzzfeed. interesting contrast there. we showed speaker boehner this
morning down the prefunktry why this is president obama's fault and leaving the room singing zip a dee doo dah. he's relieved at the way this thing has resolved itself. >> i think everybody is relieved at the way this resolved itself. nobody wanted to go down another crisis road that we've been down so many times. so while this is not exactly, i think, what boehner or republicans would have ideally wanted, i mean, they really wanted to use the debt limit as you mentioned to get stuff that they wanted out of the white house. they really wanted to do that. that idea has kind of fizzled out there thfor them. my colleague, congressional reporter, i talked to her on way over here and she said nancy pelosi was positively beaming today after the vote. he's like, everybody is in a good mood that something got done, i guess. >> so i wonder how much the mood, though, extends to the tea party because so much of the story of debt ceiling brinkmanship over the last three, four years and so much of the story of washington over the
last three or four years has been this idea that there are so many republican members in the house, in particular, who maybe want to vote one way on whether it's the debt ceiling or any number of other issues, but they're scared to death of the primary challenge that's going to come from the tea party. if they vote supposedly the wrong way. see, we have tea party people, i know, i've seen some quotes out there from tea party people already making noise that republicans who voted for this, there were 28 of them, are going to pay in their primaries. is there a reason to suspect that, you know, that old tea party threat is still alive after this? >> you know, i think it is on a lot of other issues. i mean, one of the things that's come out of this, we've seen yet again this has tert rule, the idea that republicans can only vote on things a majority of republicans will vote on to move in the house. this is, again, another example of that being scrapped in favor of moving bills and getting democrats to vote on them and passing things that way. now, democrats want to see that happen with things like immigration reform and things
like enda, and even with this debt ceiling vote which, you know, is sort of forced by the fact the fiscal crisis thing didn't go the republicans' way during the shutdown and cost them a lot of bad publicity, caused a lot of bad publicity for themes we're not seeing any evidence that tea party sort of hard-core wing will break on things like immigration reform or things like enda. so, you know, they're still around and they're still pretty powerful. this is just an example, i think, of them taking a loss after the shutdown and trying to do something else. >> yeah, i mean, it seems like part of this story is that what is happening tonight, and maybe what will happen with future debt limit hikes, now we probably won't have to deal with this for another year, it sounds like, it's linked to what happened last fall. it's linked to the fact that democrats basically refuse to blink at republican demands to negotiate over the debt ceiling last fall, and that in turn is linked to the conviction that president obama and the white house sort of drew from the 2011 showdown. i mean, is that really what we're seeing tonight? is this is the end point of something that really started in the summer of 2011 and the obama
white house really kind of regretted how they handled it all the way back then? >> well, i think we saw that when the white house was a little bit more forceful about this, made the decision not to negotiate at all, and took things up to the brink, you know, you went along all the way to the end, that it ended up working out for them. i think we've seen with this whole sort of year of action obama has talked about in this whole 2014 that there's been a whole idea at this point to maybe kind of abandon the idea of reaching out to a lot of these republicans where you have this tea party wing that won't budge, and definitely won't budge when it comes to obama. just kind of go off and do things your own way and be a bit more forceful. so if you want to track it from that sort of no negotiations stance, all the way through this year of action, executive action focus from the white house, i think there's a direct line there. >> evan mcmorris santoro from buzzfeed. joining me now, democratic congressman dan killdy of michigan. congressman, thanks for joining us tonight. i want to read to you what
senator patty murray said to "washington post" to greg sergeant, the plum line blog there earlier today. she said "with this vote the era of economic hostage taking and ransom demands should finally be behind us." do you agree with her? is this era now officially over? >> well, i agree with her that it should be behind us. it remains to be seen. this has been a pretty unpredictable republican conference. what today shows is that even speaker boehner, when push came to shove, you got to give him credit, he knew where to go to get the votes to do the right thing. it was 28 republicans and all the democrats. so if that means that when the next big question comes, the speaker will make the big decision to actually let the will of the people be heard in congress, maybe it's immigration, maybe it's enda, maybe it's another budget discussion, we'll see. the thing that concerns me about this is that if the republicans don't want to be in the majority and don't want to lead and make
the tough choices and just want to pander to the base in the home district, they can do that, but they should do it from the minority. they should get out of the way and let the democrats lead. that's what we did today. >> what was the key, in your mind, to the reversal in the republican strategy on this? last fall. was it simply the fact the poll numbers were toxic for the republicans last fall and didn't want to repeat that this time? >> i think they paid a big price and the speaker knew he paid a big price for allowing them to shut the government down. it was clear the american people when they made their judgment put the blame squarely on the republicans. the speaker i think had to make a decision. is he going to let that happen again? is he going to pander to the most extreme voices within his own conference and let that happen again? or will he go the only place he can go to get the reasonable majority that the american people elected, and that's 28 republicans and almost 200 democrats. so, you know, that was the only choice that he had. i think that really was the
conclusion that he came to last night after his conference met was that there was nothing he could offer them that would let them go home and explain to the people that they're pandering to that they voted to not default on the credit of the united states. i mean, just think about that. there was nothing he could offer them that would get them to vote to uphold the full faith and credit of the nation that they swore an oath to. >> and this gets to something i was talking a little bit to evan with before you, but it's this story that has sort of defined washington about the republican party the last few years. when it comes to votes in the house, we're trying to analyze the psychology of the republican members. we know there's the hardcore tea party element, imposed in principle to a debt ceiling increase. what we're trying to find out is how many of these republicans want to vote yes on something, want to vote yes on extending the debt limit, they want to vote yes on immigration, they want to vote yes on enda but are scared of the tea party
challenge, scared of called the rino. in being down there, having conversations with republicans, how do you think that math works out? what's your analysis of your republican colleagues. >> well, i think if they just do it -- if they just take this as a mathematics question and look at current opinion of the people that they think are going to make the decision as to whether they come back again, they're going to do the wrong thing every time. when we're elected to these jobs, it's to lead. it's to help ex-main the challenges we face. one of my favorite professors, marty linski, says leadership is the act of disace pointing your own supporters at a rate they can absorb. they need to start disappointing some of these extreme voices and tell them what they don't want to hear. >> i'm curious, you're coming back to like it was 1, 28 today. that's a low number relatively speaking. i guess what i'm asking, do you have a sense of how many wanted to vote yes or how many would vote yes if they could? what is the -- what is the big number you guys could get to here on some of these other
issue issue? >> it's hard to measure. the one thing we know for sure is there's maybe 70 or so, 60 or 70 hardcore ideologues. the rest could go either way. 28 of them basically went with us because the speaker knew he had to deliver those votes, but from what we've seen in the past, you know, there's i think a working majority between the democrats and i think still a majority of republicans, but it's a weak majority. it's a majority that's afraid of their own districts of afraid of interest groups, but if they were to sit at home and examine their own conscience, a majority would have been with us. that to me is the story of tonight. it's not so much how they all voted, but it's how they voted as compared to their own consciences. i do think we have to, maybe this is a moment where they can look at themselves and say, look, next time i'm going to be
13 of the 238 a. janet yellen said it would be catastrophic. we can't get to that point. we just can't get to that point before we get, you know, the yes votes that we need to do the -- >> yeah, i think you're hitting an interesting point there. i think if anything comes out tonight, it is there is a little less fear among republicans of the repercussions that come with crossing the tea party. we'll see how far it goes on in 230134. congressman dan kildee. we'll have the latest developments in governor chris christie's bridge-gate including what the governor had to say today about it when we come back. 3 [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day women's 50+. [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy.
. as you think about it going forward, does the g.w. bridge situation impact your ability to execute on those priorities for the state? >> actually i'm shocked you brought that up. >> that was chris christie before he briefly addressed the bridge-gate scandal before his one and only public event in chicago where he's raising money on behalf of the republican governors association. >> some people who worked for me made significant mistakes in judgment. when you're the leader of that organization and you're confronted with that, the first thing that happens to you, what happened to me, was extraordinary disappointment. extraordinary disappointment that people that i had trusted had made such bad judgments and had not told the truth. >> christie also held private
one-on-one meetings with top donors in chicago and a hedge fund ceo at a small dinner event. amid questions over whether the scandal-scarred governor has become a liability to his party as the head of the rga. which last year raised more than $52 million to help elect republican governors. >> to have christie now traveling around the country in his wounded condition trying to raise money i think is the spectacle. republican candidates are avoiding christie like i would avoid someone who had the swine flu. >> what appears to be an attempt to quiet it, the rga announced today it set a fund-raising record of $6 million in january under christie. the rga does not normally release its monthly fund-raising totals. meanwhile, there was a small protest today at the george washington bridge. really small protest based on that shot. where a national group organized victims -- some of the victims of the lane closures to speak
out against christie. also today the christie campaign won approval from the new jersey election law enforcement commission to spend campaign cash to fund its respond to the subpoenas over the bridge scandal. christie, himself, said during his public event in chicago that he still hasn't gotten to the bottom of what happened. >> we're in the midst of an internal review now, and whatever that internal review discloses we're going to release to the public and if there's more action that needs to be taken, i'll take it. >> chris christie's doing a lot more than just looking at members of his own team. leading that internal review is a high-powered defense attorney, rudy giuliani associate named randy mastro, seen as a prosecutor, not someone you would be hiring to play defense. he has been pursuing a very aggressive legal strategy. mastro's team requested to meet privately with hoboken mayor dawn zimmer and examine her personal journal. she's alleging the christie administration threatened to withhold sandy aid if she didn't cooperate on a development project in her city.
yesterday mastro and team requested records of the ft. lee mayor's office. mayor mark sokolich and his staff. they asked for documents sokolich and his staff provided to the media. christie's team also sought zimmer's correspondence with "the new york times" and today we learned they want to interview sokolich as well. look at this, this "bergen record" chart shows mastro, himself, is representing many christie administration figures who are supposed to be the subjects of the internal review. >> i think what their message is is, you know, they're trying to sort of threaten people, and, you know, not explicitly, but saying, you know, we're going to go back after you if you come after us. >> joining me now is paul butler, law professor at georgetown university law center. he's a former federal prosecutor with the u.s. justice department where he specialized in public corruption. paul, thanks for joining us. so let's start with this. this caught me by surprise when i saw the news last night that christie's team, it's not just that they wanted to interview dawn zimmer, themselves. it's not just that they wanted
to look at her diaries. they also wanted her correspok r correspondence with "the new york times." my read on that, sounds like kate zerneke, that's an attempt to have a chilling effect on the media, perhaps, and on public officials like dawn zimmer who might want to come forward. is that's what's going on here. >> it could be, but the fact is the lawyer can ask for all these documents, but there's no obligation for the mayor to turn them over. it's really the prosecutor who's running this show. he's got this extraordinary subpoena power. so he can on behalf of the grand jury get any documents he wants. but with these other witnesses, and christie's lawyer, if they want to cooperate, they can. if they don't want to, they don't have to. and you can be sure the prosecutor is discouraging their cooperation. >> new jersey has this very liberal open public records law, you know, for lack of a better way of putting it where it sort of comes down on the side of if people want to see, you know,
documents, they should be part of the public record, people get to see them. so the potential here, at least, is for the christie legal team to get their hands on documents and go public with them and pursue almost a public strategy. just looking at this from a lawyer's standpoint, i just, what do you see as the strategy behind this aggressive attempt to get documents, publicly available documents, from sokolich and from zimmer? >> well, i think chris christie has hired the defense attorney version of chris christie. and that's fine. you know, we want everyone who is being investigated by the united states to have the best possible defense. but at the end of the day, you know, the grand jury can subpoena testimony from these witnesses. they can make them talk. so they've just got a lot more power than the defense. it's not really like the scales of justice are equal at this stage of the investigation. >> i wonder what you make of this internal review. governor christie talked about it today out in chicago. he said when we have findings, we'll release them.
randy masfltro is conducting ths review. as we showed according to the "bergen record" when you look at the people on christie's staff who presumably he'll be interviewing, they are all represented by his firm. to me, it raises the basic question, if he's investigating this and trying to get to the bottom of this and turns up anything suspicious about any of these people, how does he then turn around and be their lawyer, too? how can you wear both of those hats? >> well, that's exactly right. so it's not unusual early in an investigation for one lawyer to represent several employees of an organization. here's why it's a problem in this case. we've seen that governor christie's strategy is to blame his subordinates. he says the buck stops with bridget kelly or the buck stops with david wildstein or the buck stops with that guy who wrote the memo last week who talked about david wildstein in high school not being the most popular kid. so it's one thing to have a lawyer represent the coach and the team if everybody is
actually on the same team, but when the coach abandons the team or pits the teammates against each other, then there's a serious potential for conflict. >> and one final question, 20wee a little short on time. yesterday we had the news of all the subpoenas, the new subpoenas going out and the call from the state legislative committee that's looking into this for bridget kelly and bill stepien to supply the documents that so far they refused to supply citing the fifth amendment. do you think ultimately the committee is going to get those documents, or do you think they will be able to hold on to the documents by citing the fifth amendment? >> they're going to get the documents. there's no fifth amendment privilege for documents. that's always a conflict in these public corruption cases because the target, the public official, wants to get it over as quickly as possible for public relations and for political reasons, but it's in the best interest of witnesses
and the criminal best interest of the target of governor christie to kind of delay things, so he's got conflicting advice from his political advisers and from his criminal defense lawyer. >> all right. paul butler from georgetown university law center. we thank you for joining us. >> always a pleasure. remember when governor christie said this about ft. lee mayor, mark sokolich? >> his name was never mentioned to me. his position was never mentioned to me. when i say, john, he was not on my radar screen, that means he was not on my radar screen. >> a whole lot has changed since then and mayor mark sokolich is now the subject of another e-mail attack from the christie team. that's next.
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we've seen new jersey governor chris christie's allies and defenders questioning hoboken mayor dawn zimmer's credibility and makes all the sense in the world they would. they adamantly deny the allegations they tied sandy recovery money to her fast tracking of a development project represented by the law firm of one of crist 'tis's top political allies. makes sense christie's lawyers and office would aggressively and publicly seek to challenge her story. what doesn't make as much sense, though, is who else the governor's team now seems to be targeting. ft. lee mayor, mark sokolich. sokolich is one of the more colorful characters at the heart of the bridge-gate traffic scandal. >> david wildstein deserves an ass kicking. okay? sorry. there, i said it. >> sokolich made some big news
on friday because of two interviews he gave where at least some people interpreted it as big news. one of those interviews was with "bloomberg," the other with the "bergen record." a columnist describes sokolich's remarks as his most extensive comments yet, with sokolich telling the "record" the christie administration made a -- a personal tour of the 9/11 memorial plaza by david wildstein. i've been asked to be nice to you. "the record" "reporting aides courted him with gifts, like shuttle buses, pothole repairs and emergency radios. when sokolich did not volunteer his support, he said he was punished with paralyzing traffic jams. a lot of people jumped this is evidence that sokolich was changing his story. and christie's office was no dig different. a christie spokesman characterized sokolich's comments as "a total departure
in direct contradiction, the version of events he has told up until then." up until then being up until friday. it made me wonder, did he really change his story? has mark sokolich really changed the story he's been telling? what did he say on friday that was so at odds with what he has been saying all along? let's go back to when this scandal first broke wide open in early january. back then, sokolich expressed skepticism that the traffic problems if ft. lee were retribution for his refusal to endorse christie for governor. >> i don't recall a specific request to endorse, but, you know, the events that led up to all of this, i guess you can interpret to be somehow attracting me to endorse. >> now, since then, sokolich has basically stuck with that story. that he doesn't remember being explicitly asked to endorse christie, but that there's also a lot of room for interpretation in his dealings with the christie team. for instance, a few days after that interview in january, sokolich told "the new york times" that he had sat down with a christie campaign staffer in
the spring of 2013 and the staffer had mentioned that other democratic mayors were endorsing christie. never called and said no, i never called and said yes. that's how sokolich explained his response to the paper. "i think they interpreted my response to that conversation to be a no." compare that to what sokolich told "bloomberg news" on friday when he said retribution for his nonendorsement of christie, "is more of a feasible explanation than some of the other theories that have been advanced, but it's an ever-changing phenomenon." that's the kind of answer sokolich has been offering all along, he doesn't really know why he, why his town were targeted the way they were. it's possible his nonendorsement is the reason that other explanations are possible, too. now, charitable take would be that sokolich is basically thinking out loud. that he's trying to figure out the same mystery the rest of us are. more cynical take would be that he knows more than he's letting on. either way, though, the christie team's eagerness to attack his
credibility to puzzling because they're not disputing the wrongdoing at heart of the story. it's wrongdoing done by their own people. the governor said he was appalled to learn of the vindictive nature of the lane closures. he's publicly apologized to major sokolich, personally voted ft. lee to apologize to the residents. he doesn't know why it happened yet. his team is attacking sokolich for supposedly changing his story? it's entirely possible sokolich knows something he's not letting on publicly. the story he told in public hand chan hasn't changed that much. why did christie's people close the lanes in the first place? sokolich can speculate about the most likely explanation, christie's team can jump on him all they want if his speculation changes. that's what this story is all about. why exactly were those lanes closed? that's a question, as much a mystery now as it was before that big news broke about mark sokolich on friday. coming up, the junior
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because he asked me. he asked me when there was nobody else in the race, and i said yes. and -- >> al gore is -- al gore asked me to change my opinion on global warming and i don't do that. so -- >> that was kentucky senator rand paul giving what sounded like a less than ringing endorsement of his colleague, mitch mcconnell's re-election bid on glenn beck's radio show. after everyone had a chuckle over that, today a reporter at the website "talking points memo" published a statement from rand paul's office which offered a slightly stronger statement of
support. "mitch mcconnell is an important ally and a conservative voice in washington for the people of kentucky. the commonwealth is stronger because of his service and i look forward to continuing to work with him." that is a nice endorsement. if it sounds at all familiar, it's the exact same endorsement word for word that paul gave to the "associated press" back in july of last year. here it is. "mitch mcconnell is an important ally and conservative voice in washington for the people of kentucky. the monocommonwealth is stronger for his service and i look forward to continuing to work with him." the two of them forged something of a quid pro quo political relationship. paul with his presidential aspirations, looking for connections to mcconnell's donor base in the republican party. mcconnell running for re-election looking to keep tea party challengers at bay. well now that mcconnell does have a primary challenger from the right, a tea party-backed republican named matt bevin, glenn beck wanted to know why rand paul was still endorsing
mitch mcconnell. paul is still interested in running for president in 2016. if he can't convince glenn beck why he's supporting mitch mcconnell for re-election, how in the world is he going to convince the tea party conservatives he shares their values? perhaps that partly explains his recent repeated attacks on bill clinton. >> he took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. there is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior and it should be -- it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office. >> with hillary clinton widely perceived as the 2016 presidential front-runner on the democratic side, rand paul's strategy seems to be in his words, "when it comes to the clintons, it's hard to separate one from the other." it's a strategy, although it might not be a very good one. >> rand paul is out there. he's banging on the clintons every day. what's his strategy? >> well, i'm not certain he has a strategy. i was intrigued the other day,
somebody said, why are you doing this? he said, because people keep asking me about it. frankly, rand paul is spending a lot of time talking about the mistakes of bill clinton does not look like a big agenda for the future of the country. >> with rand paul alienating both sides of the republican party, with chris christie's 2016 hopes looking less and less hopeful, we'll take a look at the changing 2016 landscape. that's next. [ male announcer ] covergirl presents
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number one priority for you? >> elect and re-elect republican governors. that's priority number one, two and three. that's it. you're chairman of this organization, that's it. you don't have any other agenda. >> just three months after chris christie took over the republican governors association and the news today from his trip to chicago is that for the first time in christie's three trips outside new jersey, the republican candidate for office was willing to publicly be in the same room with him. that was not the case in texas last week, where both rick perry and greg abbott, who's running for governor to succeed perry this year declined to meet with the governor or in florida last month when rick scott took pains to make sure he wasn't photographed with christie. very candidates christie is tasked with electing seem to be running away from him. and that's just when christie is working his second job. when he returned from new jersey, the scandals threatening his administration will be waiting. so far he's limited his visibility in the state. last week we answered questions on the radio.
bridge-gate was mentioned briefly. the allegations related to sandy money in hoboken weren't touched on at all. this thursday he'll attend a town hall in middletown, a town ravaged by superstorm sandy. we don't know how much time, if any, he'll spend addressing the scandal rocking his administration, but it is clear at this point that no matter how much chris christie avoids questions about the traffic in ft. lee and the allegations in hoboken between the u.s. attorney's investigation and dozens of outstanding subpoenas issued by the new jersey joint committee, this is not going away. sooner or later, chris christie will have to address the allegations in hoboken head-on. he'll have to explain why he has not vouched so far for his lieutenant governor kim guadano and tell us why his deputy chief of staff sent out the now infamous e-mail for some traffic in ft. lee. chris christie doesn't seem inclined to give us those answers but really how long can this go on? joining me now, the majority leader of the new jersey state senator, loretta weinberg. democrat.
co-chair of the joint state legislative committee that's investigating the lane closures at the george washington bridge. senator, thanks for joining us tonight. i wonder, when you look at the governor leaving the state like he did this week, like he did over the weekend, like he did in florida, with all these scandals swirling around him, is this causing a problem in new jersey for him? where voters are sort of saying, what is he doing outside the state when there are questions relating to his administration that haven't been answered in the state? >> well, i think certainly the polling shows that. what's happened to the governor's poll numbers. but, you know, we've got a lot of big problems going on here besides bridge-gate. i am vice chair of the legislative oversight committee, not -- i'm not talking about the joint committee. it's a regular committee of the legislature chaired by senator bob gordon. this morning we had the first of a serious of hearings on sandy, on the lack of -- the problems
with the company, hgi, that was fired. they are the people who took the first applications from all the people who need aid. the fact that money is not being spent, that people were erroneously rejected. there are huge problems here. we have other issues around new jersey transit. so, and we haven't emven starte to get into the budget season. >> what do you expect, he's -- as we said in the setup, he's kind of tcurtailed his public appearances. compared to what he's doing now. he's coming back to the state and holding this town hall in middletown on thursday. do you have any expectations at that event some of these questions, some of these issues you're talking about are going to be aired and forced to address them a little bit? >> certainly sandy should be talked about in middletown. and as i said, there are many issues around that. in terms of what the committee is covering in terms of
bridge-gate, you know, i just find it a little bit peculiar when i read about the governor's attorney, mr. mastro, who is supposedly doing an internal review of the governor's office about what went wrong. i mean, maybe i'm being a little simplistic, i feel the same way about the port authority who they started a committee to look at what went wrong. as soon as pat -- if nobody knew about this, let's give that nobody knew about it before or during. as soon as pat foye's e-mail was in the press, the easiest way to find out what went wrong would have been to call in pat foye and bill baroni and say, okay, tell me what happened here. i'm reversing, it i'm making sure that such a thing never happens again and i'm firing whoever was responsible. if that had happened, that had happened in the governor's office at the beginning of october, maybe you and i
wouldn't be sitting here discussing this issue right now. >> we have -- the issue now is your committee has a lot of subpoenas that are outstanding. you authorized some more. you have had some new information that's come back to you, though, from some of these subpoenas that went out a few weeks ago. i wonder if you can tell us, i no you can't be too specific, but have you learned anything from the information that's come back in the last few days that sheds new light and offers new clarification on this? >> i don't think we learned anything that sheds any new light, but a lot of documents are not complete. they're coming in on a rolling basis. so we still have many more documents to look at. so i can't say that, speaking personally, those documents that i've reviewed, i can't say i've learned anything particularly new. some things, some things about the tone of the way this was all discussed about the tone of the way they treated people. >> the continuation of some of the stuff we've seen about, like these are buono, children of buono voters.
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i think as you look forward to 2016, our party's priority should be on winning. not winning the argument, winning the election. >> joining me is brian murphy, assistant professor of u.s. political history, and former managing editor of politicsnj.com. lynn sweet, columnist and washington bureau chief at the "chicago sun-times." brian, i'll start with you, the clip we just heard right there. it strikes me as that was the thing the christie people were already pitching to the national republican audience before last november's election. like, look, he won with 60%, this is the guy who won blue states. this is what he was going to spend 2014 and 2015 on the road saying. in the face of the scandal, he's
out there saying it, anyway, but it's not coming across the way that they thought it would back in october and november. >> no, i mean, i guess he could put that speech in the can for six months and if nothing changes, you can pull it out. but if you're just using the same talking point, six months later and have this going on, it just doesn't add up. >> does it accomplish anything for him? >> i'm not sure. at some point, the money that they've raised for the rga, some of that that we've seen come in was already banked long before this happened. so the question is, what kind of numbers are they going to be releasing in april and may after this has really been going on for a while and we've seen whatever damage begin to accumulate and really settle in on the polling. >> right. lynn, you did reporting on this. obviously he's in chicago today and you called around, looked around at the four republican gubernatorial candidates out there. and you were finding not a lot of enthusiasm for sharing the stage with chris christie on this trip. can you tell us a little about your reporting?
>> well, it turned out there's four people running for governor. one of them, i mean, steve, let me just say, this is a -- he came to a city that was not fazed at all by this controversy that's dogging him. i might be a little contrarian here. the city absorbs on an ongoing basis multiple serial political controversies and scandals where public officials routinely go to jail, okay? so this is something people take in stride. the four people running for governor at the one public event he had which was at a civic club of chicago, one showed up, and by the time the day ended, another one who's one of the very wealthiest donors and fund-raisers in the area who is running for governor, he met with him. the third person, well, he now has his own scandal, the state treasurer was just accused a few days ago in a lawsuit of sexual harassment charges from a guy who worked in his office.
so maybe, it's a little confusing, but my reporting did show this, early on as of last week, no one was willing to say, steve, they wanted to be at the event with him for sure with the exception of one person, but he did do well in chicago today. i talked to one of the people connected to the donor community, and they have not written him off. >> right. it's interesting, we could do a couple hours. i love doing this on new jersey versus chicago. cook county political corruption. who votes the -- maybe we'll throw rhode island in there. we'll save that for another time. brian, so lynn is saying he got a decent reception out in chicago today. and one thing that strikes me about this is the rga role he has right now, if particularly critical from christie's standpoint in terms of his 2016 viability, it's so critical to him that he maintain the impression that everything is going okay with this 2014 rga thing because this is like his
trial run as a national candidate. can he connect with the donors? can he connect with the politicians across the country? if they're all running away from him, if april and may reports come baek and disappointing in term of the money raised, it's saying in 2014 it's not working and 2016 it's not going to work either. >> right. the timing is horrible for him. we'll have to wait and see what happens. from the sound of what's going on chicago, maybe he should book a long-term hotel suite and hang out in chicago because this is all fine there. it's going to -- the question for him has always been how does this play outside of an urban sort of a northeastern or northern setting? how does it play in texas? how does it play in real republican primary states where i think that's always been the question. this has been a northeastern story. the question for him has been -- when you really run this test, how does this work in republican primary states? and there you just -- right, we both hear the same thing. a lot of people are just saying,
look, guys, this is a tough, tough race for him to get into, and with this on his back, it makes it that much harder. >> and quickly, go ahead, lynn, go ahead. >> the illinois primary is a few weeks away. it's the second one in this whole line. i do want to make it clear, yes, it probably would have been optimal to have had the four rivals in a picture with the man who runs the republican governor association. >> yeah. and the interesting thing there, too, just this "star-leger" editorial that got so much attention, if you read through it carefully, when they get to the end of it they basically say we made a mistake in endorsing christie in 2013. they looked ahead to 2016, look at the party of ted cruz, the party of rand paul, in that party we would still pick chris christie. i'm wondering if there are republicans out there who still say, we were really concerned about chris christie's electability, these issues but still compared to everybody else, this is our best bet. brian murphy, from brook
college. lynn sweet from the "chicago sun-times." thanks for joining us. that's "all in." catch my show "up" weekends at 8:00 a.m. eastern time. "the rth rachel maddow show" st now. we have a scoop on the bridge scandal coming up in just a moment. a new thing to report. thanks, than. thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour. as i just mentioned to steve because i feel like i've got to check in with him on this story because he's been on it more than anybody else in the building, we do have some new news to report on the chris christie new jersey bridge scandal tonight. msnbc has obtained new information tonight both on the investigation into governor christie's administration as well as the governor's response to that investigation. i will explain that new information that we have uncovered tonight in just a moment. but first, you should know governor christie, himself commented today at some length on the bridge scandal and on how he is handling it as governor. he was questioned on the matter at an appearance at the economic