tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC February 13, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PST
office of new jersey governor chris christie. the week, we had some exclusive reporting here on this show about what was expected to be in these subpoenas, now as of tonight we have the documents. the office of new jersey governor chris christie has been subpoenaed in this matter twice before, once by federal authorities and once by the legislator, we can report governor christie's office is being ordered to hand over documents and records of any kind. all dossiers, correspondents, notes, details, messages, texts. about two things, two very specific things. contact between the governor's office and mark sockeledge, the mayor of fort lee. also this, anything related to
the preparation of bill baroni's testimony to the state legislature last november. that was the testimony of bill baroni, he tried to sell the legislature this false cover story of what really happened on that bridge. that was his two hour performance, where he tried to tell them it was a traffic study, even though it wasn't. the new subpoena to governor chris christie's office tonight orders the office to turn over all documents and correspondents of any kind which reflect or contain any drafts or earlier versions of, comments on or chains or edits to the statement read by bill baroni before the legislature on november 25th. weather handwritten, electronic or in any other form. this is as we reported last night, as we were first reporting last night. the focus is on the cover-up, on the effort to concoct and sell a cover story that was designed to
disguise the real reason those bridge lanes were shut down. who was in on that cover-up? this new demand to hand over anything that may show the governor's office helping to prepare that testimony is also made in exactly the same terms to governor christie's re-election campaign. it's also made in exactly the same terms in the new subpoena that was released tonight to bill baroni himself. hey, bill, who helped you draft this testimony? this exact same demand made in the is a peej in a that was released tonight went to phillip quan. you see him on the right side of your screen. we know that phillip quan helped prepare bill baroni to give that false testimony about the cover story, we know he sat there in the room while bill baroni
delivered that testimony. the same demand, what do you have about who was in on preparing the testimony? the same demand about the preparation of the cover story is made to all of these people whose subpoenas were released tonight. as we were first to report last night, the focus is on the cover-up. this is interesting before she got promoted to chief of staff she had been working in the governor's office in another position. she was working for the authorities unit. the governor's chief of staff for any documents that she has that reflect drafts or edits or changes to the bill baroni testimony. there's one other thing, she's also asked for information about a meeting that may have just
been confirmed. she was a legal adviser to the authorities unit. and bill baroni and phillip quan. sometime after august first, the investigators seem to believe that at least one meeting was planned to take place or did take place between the guy who gave the false testimony and the lawyer who prepped him for the false testimony and these two people who worked in governor christie's office, one of whom has been promoted to be governor christie's new chief of staff. the new chief of staff and all the other people allegedly at that meeting have all been subpoenaed to turn over any documents or notes or information they have about that meeting which investigators seem to believe, was at least planned to happen. and that sort of gets right at the heart of the question, right? as to whether the cover-up was cooked up and propagated by the same individuals who perpetrated the bridge thing in the first place. the cover-up was bigger. wasn't the effort to cover up
what happened on the bridge some sort of a wider effort, whether it extended outside the port authority, whether it came back to the governor's office, since the order to shut down the bridge started at the governor's office, did the cover-up come back to the governor's office too? we still need to know why this whole thing happened in the first place, and whether the order to do it came from any higher up than the governor's deputy chief of staff. even if that part of it never gets cleared up, even if governor christie's administration never explains why they did it, still, the issue of the cover-up is just as bad. and with these documents tonight, the document that is have just been released tonight, now we know what lines are being pulled to find out about the extent of the cover-up. and there's one more thing. after bill baroni finished his testimony that day, where he tried to sell the cover story. as soon as he got out of the committee room, we know from other records, right after he got out of the room, he texted
david wildstein. trenton feedback. baroni says good. david wildstein reassures him, no, i have only texted bridget and nicole and they were very happy. >> okay. >> david wildstein responds, both said you were doing great. now, bridget is presumably bridget kelly who was the governor's deputy chief of staff and who sent the e-mail that called for there to be traffic problems in for the lee in the first place. he said he talked to bridget and nicole. who's nicole? the only person named nicole who's previously been subpoenaed in conjunction with this manner worked on the governor's re-election campaign. in terms of tracing the cover-up, if the guy getting high fives for his cover story performance is getting them from someone on the governor's re-election campaign, that's really interesting, why would
the governor's re-election campaign be in on this? but maybe there's an alternate explanation. now a second person named nicole has been subpoenaed in conjunction with this matter, and the investigators seem to believe she was in on at least that one meeting that they think may have happened between the guy who gave the false testimony and the lawyer who prepped him for that testimony and the governor's new chief of staff. if this instead is the nicole who bill baroni and david wildstein were text messaging about right after the attempted cover-up story to the legislature, he was getting his high fives for good job delivering the cover story, not from the governor's re-election campaign, but instead from two ranking members of governor christie's own staff. so if nicole and bridget are the nicole and bridget who work in the governor's office, why are two people who work in the governor's office giving him high fives for a good job on the cover-up. in the same exchange that day. bridget and nicole were very happy, both said you're doing
great. right after he says that, about at least one, and maybe two staffers in governor christie's office applauding the cover story, the very next text message that he sends him is this one, charlie says you did great. charlie? the chief counsel to governor chris christie at that time was a man named charlie. charlie mckenna. if this investigation is about the cover-up, then there are all these questions now about the links from the cover-up back into the governor's office, there's the you did great text messages, which came from -- which referenced at least one person who worked in the governor's office, maybe two. there's the alleged meetings between two of the governor's staffers and the guy who prepped -- the guys who prepped and delivered the cover-up testimony. there's the demand for information, these new demand for information that we just got our hands on tonight. the new demand for information from the governor's office, from the governor's re-election campaign. about who helped prep the cover-up testimony.
who saw earlier versions of it? who edited it, changed it, made suggestions? that's where it stands tonight with, 178 new subpoenas being released and the cover-up at the center of all of it. and the other thing going on inning credibly is this. the new jersey state republican party is now trying to raise money on the bridge scandal, specifically you're trying to raise money by saying the news organizations should not be covering the scandal and that's the real problem here. seriously, i'm not kidding, look at this, this is from the star ledger tonight, they're quoting a fund-raising e-mail that the republican party has sent out, asking people to pledge $25 a month to the new jersey republican party because of the bridge scandal. over the past few weeks, the liberal media and trenton democrats have attacked the governor, despite his strong decisive leadership, it's time to stand up to msnbc, the liberal media and their attacks.
send us money because msnbc keeps reporting on this story? to the people of ft. lee, to the people who missed the first day of school or the first day of work, people who were late to appointments or their jobs by hours, for not just one day but for four days, to the person having a heart attack and the four people who were injured and needed to be moved by ambulance after a car wreck, to the parents of a missing child, to all those people who found that police and first responders could not get to them those days, to the people of ft. lee and the hundreds of thousands of other new jersey residents and commuters who had four days of this gridlock inflicted on them on purpose, thanks to still unexplained orders that came out of governor christie's office. to all of the hundreds of thousands of people who were hurt here on purpose, the new jersey republican party would like you to know that the real outrage here is that this tv network is reporting on what happened and trying to figure out the answers that the christie administration still
won't provide. they want you to know that we're the real outrage and they're the real victim not you. they want the people of new jersey to stand up, not against this kind of corrupt and abusive outrage by their government, they want the people of new jersey to stand up against us covering the story. it's amazing, but it's good to know. [ male announcer ] it's surprising what your mouth goes through in a day. but what's even more surprising is that brushing alone isn't enough to keep it clean. fortunately, you've got listerine®. unlike brushing which misses 75% of your mouth, listerine® cleans virtually your entire mouth. so what are you waiting for? it's time to take your mouth to a whole new level of health.
imagine you are a mayor, and as mayor you are brought up on corruption charges. you are then convicted of multiple corruption charges, you are awaiting sentencing to federal prison on corruption charges of which you have been convicted. do you still get to be mayor in the meantime? oh, the answer might surprise you. it may also drive you to drink. that story and much more is coming up. [ female announcer ] skin looking tired?
organizations, news organizations is not uncommon. in this instance, i can speak for myself, we are representing readers in our coverage area, which were impacted by this, there's no partisan motivation, and i'd also point out that the republicans voted for this legislative committee to investigate this matter. chris christie has someone who's conducting an internal review, it seems like on both sides of the aisle, there's acknowledgement that there are unanswered questions, i think the media is perfectly within its right to pursue this. >> calling a partisan witch hunt when it's every republican in the assembly voted to proceed with the investigation. it's hilarious, actually. a dozen and a half new subpoenas have been released tonight. what stands out the most for you here, as you heard me explain. the thing that standses out the most for me is what seems like a real cover-up on the cover story they tried to sell to the legislature.
>> there's a big focus on what happened after this came to light, there were press reports, you see if you look at the documents that bill baroni and david wildstein turned over, you see a lot of back and forth between the governor's office and port authority officials. how do we deal with this? how do we answer press inquiries with, he all know bill baroni worked for the legislature, and he talked about a traffic study. the question, and i think it's a fundamental one, how did he come to a story about a traffic study? and ultimately, did he talk to the governor's office about a traffic study? did he convince them that that's what this really was? or were they aware there was another motivation behind it? >> the latest round of subpoenas also includes -- it's -- it was sent out today, two different documents, both subpoenas of the port authority, one of them looks like what we expected in terms of this investigation asking the port authority for
any information about any meetings or any other discussion they have on file about the lane closures, and then there's a second document to the port authority which is all about totally unrelated issues, at least issues that seem totally unrelated, including the hudson river tunnel project that governor christie famously turned down and stopped in his tracks as soon as he got elected. what do you make of that? >> these are minor controversies in the past that relate to governor christie and the port authority, i think the investigation -- the investigative committee sees an opportunity to look into some unresolved questions here. with the arc tunnel there are policy debates on both sides whether that was a wise decision, one thing that happened in the aftermath was $1.8 billion that was dedicated to that tunnel from the port authority, was diverted to governor christie's transportation trust fund. and so there's a question there about whether the port authority was used for political purposes, not just in the context of a lane closure, but plugging budget holes.
another example that's contained in the subpoena is toll hikes. and how those were rolled out. i think those are unresolved questions and the committee sees an opportunity to dig a little deeper. >> in terms of the work of the committee, is it a surprise to you that they're going back to those older issues and bringing those in? i guess i'm asking whether or not you see there's anyway that we should see this as a widening of the bridge investigation or whether this is them just going back in time and trying to dot is and cross t's on earlier unrelated investigations because they can? >> in some ways it's been widening, because we've all been focused on the bridge scandal and the aftermath. i've been covering the legislative committee in its first incarnation, and this house or assembly committee was originally created to look at the toll hikes. in some ways it's a return to the original focus of the committee. even though it's an expansion based on what we're seeing in the news today. >> amazing. i can imagine what it felt like
what is this place? where are we? this is where we bring together the fastest internet and the best in entertainment. we call it the x1 entertainment operating system. it looks like the future! we must have encountered a temporal vortex. further analytics are necessary. beam us up. ♪ that's my phone. hey. [ female announcer ] the x1 entertainment operating system, only from xfinity. tv and internet together like never before. in 2012, more than 102 million vehicles cross the george washington bridge which connects ft. lee, new jersey and
new york city and it is the busiest bridge in the world. and more importantly, the george washington bridge is a vital lifeline for commuters, visitors and regional commerce. >> that was port authority deputy director bill baroni. he went on to discuss in detail, the supposed traffic study that caused a week of gridlock in ft. lee new jersey. while he was not under oath during that testimony, we now know that was a cooked up cover story that did not at all reflect what happened on that bridge and why. the words that you heard him say right there in the piece of tape we played and a good chunk of his prepared testimony that day, it seems to have come from this document. it's sort of a mysterious document, looks like a prepared statement but doesn't have any headers or explanatory
information on it, it was found as a partial document, deep inside the 900 page document dump that was provided by david wildstein following his first subpoena back in january. there also appears to be a draft of at least a portion of the statement. and it's all full of crossouts and markups and rewrites, somebody's editing it. and there's no explanation offered to who wrote the statement originally or why they wrote it or why somebody then made all these handwritten changes to it. importantly, we do not know whose handwriting is all over this statement, and it doesn't help that there appears to be at least two different kinds of handwriting on it. is that one person with a cramp or two different people? now the latest round of subpoenas going out tonight, with the latest round of subpoenas being released tonight, we now know the committee investigating the scandal has sent subpoenas to this list is to see who has information regarding at least one possible meeting that happened with bill baroni in
preparation for his testimony on november 25th, does this prepared statement and the handwritten notes all over it provide any indication of what took place at that meeting? and who drafted the cover-up story? and who edited it, and when they edited it, did they know it was cooked up? it was made up? or did they think it was the truth? more ahead with the co chair of the investigative committee, stay with us. if you're seeing spots before your eyes, it's time
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we have more new reporting tonight on the chris christie bridge scandal in new jersey, new information that has not been reported elsewhere tonight about what could be the next big fight in this investigation. or maybe what we're about to say about it tonight will head it off. one of the most dramatic moments so far in this scandal was this testimony or rather this lack of testimony from david wildstein, the chris christie allies who arranged the shutdown of the bridge to hurt the town of ft. lee on purpose. when david wildstein appeared before the new jersey assembly last month, he plead the fifth, he showed up, but he refused to testify.
>> on advice of my council i assert my right to be silent. on the advice of council i again assert my right to remain silent. on the advice of council, i assert my right to remain silent. >> after repeatedly invoking the advice of his counsel and the fifth amendment his lawyer said at the end of the hearing that if his client was given immunity, he would be happy to talk. legally it's not at all clear whether you are allowed to do that before a committee hearing like this after a subpoena, the new jersey legislature held david wildstein in contempt for refusing to testify against them they held them on contempt charges the deputy chief of staff and bridget kelly have invoked their rights to refuse
to hand over documents to the bridge gate investigation. the investigative committee this week voted to try one more time to compel them to hand over those documents, if mr. steppian and miss kelly continue to refuse, then they too honestly will be moving toward contempt charges just like david wildstein. in their case, it is an open question whether they will plead the fifth in order to refuse to testify and that's an important question, right? after what david wildstein did, is everyone going to sit there and plead the fifth? is everyone going to refuse to answer questions? when new jersey spotlight published this piece. rule prevents staff from testifying in bridge gate. senator robert gordon, who's chairman of the legislative oversight committee in new jersey.
he announced he had been told by the christie administration, that the christie administration policy that no members of the governor's office are allowed to appear before legislative committees. senator gordon told the new jersey spotlight this is a christie administration policy? there was no such policy before this in previous administrations. now senator gordon wanted testimony from people who work in the governor's office on a matter sort of unrelated to bridge gate, it was something having to do with hurricane sandy recovery, if it is a blanket policy of the christie administration that's just being announced now, that no staff from the governor's office is never allowed to testify before the legislature, this has big implications for the whole scandal. we got four more subpoenas for people. getting a subpoena doesn't mean you're necessarily going to be called to testify.
anyone who works in the governor's office isn't allowed to testify. >> tonight governor christie's office says despite what he was told by the governor's office, the governor's office tells us tonight that there is no policy in the christie administration of preventing the governor's staff testifying before the legislature. the governor's spokesman told us tonight. the new jersey spotlight story is wrong. governor christie's spokesman tells us, they couldn't attend a specific hearing held yesterday on the issue of sandy, that was basically just a scheduling conflict. and that the administration would welcome the opportunity to provide testimony later this month. the governor's office added everyone here is committed to the highest levels of accountability and transparency. senator gordon for his part, when we called him back and told him what we had heard from the governor's office, senator gordon said he's standing by his earlier statement, he said the
governor's office really did tell him its policy is that we're never going to let anybody testify to the legislature on anything ever. this is one of those he said he said things, right? but it's not one that goes on indefinitely. if at some point the legislature wants to talk to somebody in the governor's office, we will know whether this alleged policy exists by whether or not that person ends up sitting in the chair whether they're asserting the fifth or otherwise. joining us now is new jersey state senator loretta weinberg. she's the co chair of the committee investigating the lane closures, thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> what do you make of the governor's office in this rule about testifying before the legislature? they clearly were trying to tamp this down today and say there was no issue. >> well, there's no doubt this is one of the more closed
administrations that i have ever seen. and when i served on the committee that had the hearing yesterday on sandy, and when i sit across from advocates who had to go to court to get basic documents to find out how the money is flowing, and sandy is so frustrated, i happen to be a great believer in open government, i have been the sponsor sometimes successfully, sometimes not so successfully to sit there, it is so frustrating to deal with a government with an executive who would much rather say no and make you fight for documents than to just hand them over, these are things that are owned by the taxpayers to pay the salaries of all these folks that might or might not be
allowed to testify before us, and i think somewhat in fairness, i think the governor's office probably making a distinction between a cabinet member, a commissioner or department head versus staffers in his office. i don't really recall that we've had staffers from the governor's office, we will soon see. as you pointed out. >> in terms of these new subpoenas that were released tonight. they went out on monday night. we've all been served we understand. the way that i -- what jumps out to me when i look at what you're asking these people to turn over is a focus on the traffic study as essentially the cover-up. as the cover story that was supposed to disguise what happened on those bridge lanes. is that fair for me to infer that that's what you're going after? >> well, that's certainly one thing we're going after. the subpoenas ask for other documents beyond that.
but that's really the story. it was a cover-up. we knew it almost immediately when mr. baroni delivered it to the prior assembly transportation committee. that was november 25th. don't forget at least six weeks before that imfamous e-mail from the port authority was in all the news media, the e-mail that said this was done with lane closures, was done improperly, they didn't follow any of our policies and procedures. we haven't found any reason to have them done. i'm reversing it, it puts people in jeopardy and very well might have broken both state and federal laws. six weeks later they were giving this story, nobody has produced a traffic study. it seemed to me sometime between
the e-mail and mr. baroni's testimony, someone could have said, could you please hand me the traffic study. the other half of the testimony, this whole big story about the private lanes, they are nonexistent there are no secret private roads that ft. lee residents travel on to the george washington bridge. what happened in that length of time between october 1st, when the executive director of the entire port authority made all those statements about what took place? and then six weeks later, this crazy cover-up story, which very respectfully wasn't even good? you're going to come up with a cover-up, at least try to make it sound reasonable. this there is no traffic study. nobody's produced it as of today.
nobody has produces a traffic study, there was no reason for it. because there are no private roads from ft. lee over the george washington bridge. >> if it was a corner story, and frankly i believe you it was. the traffic study doesn't exist. the executive director of the port authority said it doesn't exist. to the extent we know that the cover story exists and we know it was delivered by bill baroni, do you know who was in on cooking it up? do you know if bill baroni knew he was telling an untruth in that testimony? did he knowingly do it? and he said it not knowing it was untrue? >> i suppose anything is possible. mr. baroni has not testified before us yet, so we can't -- we haven't had the opportunity to ask limb that question. what my ininstinctses tell me, he was a former state senator, he knows a little bit about the
state of new jersey, he's probably even driven over the george washington bridge a few times, himself over the years. i suspect that he knew that he wasn't exactly giving a very truthful account of what took place here. they spun it even further. there was an op ed piece written by one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, about a day or two after his testimony, talking about, we have to look into those private roads, why are those people getting private roads, they almost tried to play on making other people angry over this. rather than the victims who the people themselves -- >> loretta weinberg, co chair of the legislative select committee. thank you for keeping us apprised on this, and keeping our -- keeping our coverage as close as we can get to what you're doing. i appreciate it. >> thank you very much, appreciate it. >> it was a big day for a slew of current and former public
trenton is a heck of a town. look at this, trenton, new jersey, you get to have an actual really good time at christmas, courtesy of the town. even when you have a lot of gray hair, you get to have a really good time in trenton, new jersey. the town throws a christmas party for you. come on down, get in there. this is the mayor's annual senior gala in trenton, new jersey. so awesome. and do not think i'm kidding here, i'm not kidding, trenton new jersey getting maligned in much of the rest of the world, in new jersey, you think people make fun of new jersey, trenton, new jersey, they make fun of twice. once for being new jersey and the other time just for being trenton. anybody making fun of trenton is wrong. look at them doing the electric slide with santa. you get to dance with santa and the mayor in his bright red tie. at the senior gala every year, he really enjoys being mayor of trenton, you see him there in the suit.
maybe his good time being mayor explains why the good time mayor is refusing to clear out his desk and go home in trenton. you can call him honey fitz or the little guy or napoleon, and you can call him by his real name, tony mack. the party is very nearly almost over for tony mack, the mayor of trenton, new jersey. he got indicted on corruption charges back in december 2012. he got hauled up on charges of official conspiracy, bribes and two counts of mail fraud. he conspired with his brother to take a bribe for a new parking garage downtown. it was really just a government sting operation. and then he went to the mayor's annual senior gala. four days after he got indicted. he would not give up the joy of being mayor of trenton just because he was indicted. he stayed in office all through the indictment, the investigation, he stayed in office as mayor during his trial
in those corruption charges? and now tony mack is still staying in office in trenton. he was convicted of those corruption charges on friday. on the day he was convicted trenton had a replacement mayor waiting to be sworn in. they realized tony's not leaving, he's staying on as mayor until maybe monday.
make. in new orleans today, a federal jury found him guilty on 20 out of 21 counts of corruption. the case showed that he solicited bribes in the form of money and trips and oddly piles of free granite for his family business installing granite countertops. his lawyer says he plans to appeal. but for now, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. 20er yaos. big time, real time for behavior that is just strikingly petty. his down fall is enough to make you think of this guy. john roland, former governor of connecticut who was a rising star in new england and maybe national republican politics, until it turned out that the gifts and loans and vacations and kitchen cabinets and even a hot tub that the governor kept insisting he had paid for himself actually came from
people who were looking for a little something from the state. >> connecticut's former governor today pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges that could send him to prison for up to five years. john roland, driven from office last summer admitted to accepting more than $100,000 worth of perks from state contractors. once a rising star in the gop, roland was even considered as a possible running mate for president bush back in 2000. >> john roland resigned as connecticut governor in 2004. then he spent almost a year with a new title -- federal prisoner number 15623-014. i do not know for sure, but that seems far less fun than getting free kitchen cabinets and free hot tubs from guys who want state contracts. the former governor john roland is back, i'm here to tell you. after he got out of the federal pokey, he reinvented hymn as a talk radio personality. he told the public he would try to be a better person. he would show everyone how sorry he was he let them down.
and started a talk show. but it was out of the pokey and now back into the stew. the "hartford courant" reports he's hired a defense lawyer to help him with a new grand jury investigation into his political goings on. the new investigation has to do with whether or not he was involved with unreported campaign spending from a fellow republican running for congress in 2012. the courat notes that while mr. roland was quietly on the payroll of that candidate's husband, mr. roland had been critical of that candidate's opponent was it in effect, a secret political consulting gig that they tried to disguise as something else? it should also be noted that john roland is still getting his yearly pension from the state of connecticut with annual cost of living adjustments. even after prison. maybe that state pension that he's still getting from his time
as governor before he went to prison for what he did as governor, maybe that pension will help with the fees from his top white collar criminal defense attorney. it's important to consider that mr. roland has not been charged with anything this time around. but he could send a nice letter for advice of what to do when you've been found guilty on corruption for that other time, right? elections have consequences. sometimes convictions do, too. [ male announcer ] considering all your mouth goes through, do you really think brushing is enough to keep it clean? while brushing misses germs in 75% of your mouth, listerine® cleans virtually your entire mouth. so take your oral health to a whole new level. listerin®... power to your mouth™. it cleans, fights stains and brightens your clothes. so all that other stuff people use in the wash doesn't really hold its weight, does it? so try tide pods. why? the proof is in the pop.
do you really think brushing is enough to keep it clean? while brushing misses germs in 75% of your mouth, listerine® cleans virtually your entire mouth. so take your oral health to a whole new level. listerin®... power to your mouth™. two big stories tonight. one is the release of 18 subpoenas in new jersey related to the george washington bridge scandal, including a new one to governor chris christie's office, as governor of new jersey. that would be these subpoenas. the other major story tonight is the winter storm that has already pummeled the eastern united states. it knocked out power to more than half a million customers today and forced about 3300 flights to be canceled. after being basically paralyzed
tomorrow night. good thursday morning. right now, storm tracker. at least 12 deaths. planes, trains, automobiles all impacted even the federal government is closed. we have multiple reports including when we will see some relief. alleged nsa leaker edward snowden stole a password and allowing him greater access to classified information. comcast is reportedly buying time warner cable combining the number one and two cable companies in america. the captain will call it quits after this season. from that's incredible file, we bring you the story behind these images.