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Chris Christie Aides in Spotlight as Bridgegate Scandal Widens

New documents reveal Gov. Chris Christie's top aides and campaign staff were involved in bridge closing.

New documents reveal Gov. Chris Christie’s top aides and campaign staff were involved in bridge closing.

The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied. – Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy

AFTER REPEATED denials that no one on his staff or 2012 campaign were involved in the bridge closings that snarled traffic on the George Washington Bridge into New York City, proof has been found by The Record that Gov. Chris Christie’s close aides, campaign staff and leading New Jersey Republicans were directly involved.

The New York Times has posted some emails between Christie’s top staff and the Port Authority executives.

One of Christie’s senior aides, Bridget Anne Kelly, “was involved in the planning and received updates during the week of the traffic jams.” More from NorthJersey.com:

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”

Other top Christie associates mentioned in or copied on the email chain, all after the top New York appointee at the authority ordered the lanes reopened, include David Samson, the chairman of the agency; Bill Stepien, Christie’s re-election campaign manager and the newly appointed state GOP chairman; and Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.

When The Record’s Road Warrior columnist John Cichowski went to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top executive, Pat Foye, and started asking questions, it was the first Cuomo’s office had heard of what was going on and immediately they reacted to open the lanes, which came four days after the closings. According to reports, Fort Lee officials weren’t notified before the closings, and commuters weren’t given fair warning either. But inside New Jersey, people were getting pissed.

Once the Wall Street Journal got wind of what was becoming a much talked about story, it seems that Christie’s people started to panic.

David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, resigned earlier over the building noise over the closures.

How Gov. Chris Christie handles this widening scandal may not matter for Republican primary voters in Iowa or South Carolina, but for someone who has been a darling of the establishment media, it could change the color of Christie’s coverage and follow him into any potential 2016 bid for the presidency.

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20 Responses to Chris Christie Aides in Spotlight as Bridgegate Scandal Widens

  1. PeggySue January 8, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Why does this not surprise me? Chris Christie is the Tony Soprano of politics. You diss me? I’ll get you ten times better. Not presidential!

    And yes, New Jersey people get plenty pissed. They don’t forget either. Maybe it’s time to investigate where all those Sandy reconstruction funds have gone.

    Christie’s people have reason to panic.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter January 8, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Christie is a thug and a slob and everything this scumbag has done so far bares that out. Jery should be DEEPLY ashamed they voted for this….TWICE!

  3. mjsmith January 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    …” for someone who has been a darling of the establishment media, it could change the color of Christie’s coverage and follow him into any potential 2016 bid for the presidency.”

    Who would of predicted that the media would turn on Governor Christie as we get closer to 2016?
    I did and I am sure anyone else who has a clue. I remember clearly stating that the very same people building Christie up will be the exact same people tearing him down.

    Was there “a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority?”

    I look forward to more ridiculous attachs against Chris Christie. Now it is the traffic. What’s next? Was Governor Christie behind the crappy ending of “The Sopranos” series?

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      “I look forward to more ridiculous attachs against Chris Christie. Now it is the traffic. What’s next? Was Governor Christie behind the crappy ending of “The Sopranos” series?”

      As time goes by and more e mails come out it just keeps getting worse…now they have e’s where the blobinator’s staff are joking about ambulances not being able to get through but they would only have been going to people’s houses who voted for Buono.
      This is hands down the most blatent and grotesque display of naked abuse of power I can honestly say I have seen since Nixon.
      Christie is toast. If he’s lucky he won’t be indicted.

  4. Taylor Marsh January 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Gov. Chris Christie is a very appealing candidate for non-extremist voters in Iowa and South Carolina. His straight talking persona is one reason why.

    The real problem with this story is that it obliterates his bipartisan marketing image, which has kept him in office.

    Lots of politicians are thugs, it’s just the new media era now exposes them *eventually*.

    We’ll see, but it’s very early for this to hurt him with people.

    As for the press, it’s a huge very new problem for Christie.

  5. lynnette January 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    If true, this won’t go down well with primary voters in Iowa either. It all goes to temperment, which Chris Christie does not have… at least the kind needed to be President of the United States. Nobody wants a petty hothead in the Oval Office. The President has to be above all that and have a thicker skin. I think Christie is a bully, a hothead, and a phony at his core …. but has been marketed otherwise.

  6. Ga6thDem January 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    None of this matters in the long run because Chris Christie has no constintuency within the GOP large enough for him to win a primary. It’s Rudy Guiliani the return.

    • PeggySue January 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

      “It’s Rudy Guiliani, The Return.”

      Hahahaha. You could be right on the money. I’ve said that a contest between Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton would be one hell of a match. Christie at the moment is the only GOP candidate with national appeal. But this brouhaha reveals the underside of Christie’s personality, the one that likes to punch out, get back or act and sound like a puffed-up bully. Frank Rizzo, straight from the heart of Philly, had local appeal but he would have never played to a national audience. He was far too short-tempered and his ‘plain speaking’ became wearisome at best, rude and obnoxious at worst.

      Christie’s biggest problem is the GOP’s far right wing. He’s fallen very quickly out of favor with the Tea Party set who claim he’s a . . . liberal. The primary will be very interesting. If he were to make it through, there’s an unpleasant buzz about those reconstruction funds. Many moderate and low-income people are still waiting for help; others have lost their homes altogether.

      Bridgegate is only the first controversy that Christie will need to address. It remains to be seen how he handles it and all the others sure to follow.

      Should be fun to watch!

  7. LiberalJoe January 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    Ga6thDem you are absolutely right, “Rudy Guiliani” the return, with the same results. It is my belief you can put the fork in him now-it’s over. I’ve said it before in this forum that Christie will not be and has no chance at the 2016 nomination.I stand by it.If he wants to run-let him-he isn’t going anywhere. As a liberal Dem I’d love to see him get pasted in a primary or the general.

    Ann Coulter as a representative of the conservative wing of the Republican Party is probably the leading advocate for him running., and she appears the only real advocate. I can’t see him, as a Northeastern Governor who supports gun control, accepted medicaid Obamacare, and with a picture of him smiling and embracing Pres Obama playing well in the crazy town wing of the Republican Party-who happen to be the rabid primary voters -especially in the South.

    Christie is a myth created by the mainstream media. They were/are hoping for a knock down heavyweight brawl for the Presidency between Hilary Clinton and Chris Christie. Not going to happen.

    • lynnette January 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      I agree with you, LiberalJoe. Actually, I think Christie may resign his governorship over this. People understand traffic in a personal way and lying to cover up.

  8. mjsmith January 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.”
    “People will be held responsible for their actions,”…

    I have full confidence the Gov. Christie can take full responsibility for this and take the right measure. He is a very competent and effective executive.

    • lynnette January 8, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      The right measure would be to resign. Christie has had several months to investigate this on his own and he hasn’t. Why not?? He’s been trying to divert attention away from the story. I think he is behind the whole ordeal but it remains to be seen if that can be proven. At the very least, his staff felt that they could do this and put regular citizens at risk. That would come from the culture or atmosphere that exists in his office – abusing authority and power. I don’t think Christie is the first person to ever exact political revenge but he did it in a really stupid way. This story is only going to get worse for him.

      • Ga6thDem January 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

        This is not the first time Christie exacted political revenge. He did it right after his reelection with one of the GOP legislators Tom Kean Jr. very popular in GOP circles. I think there’s more to come from other stories and it’s all going to come from the other republicans. I guess you could say it’s a message from all the people that’s he treated badly over the years that payback is a b*tch.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      “I have full confidence the Gov. Christie can take full responsibility for this and take the right measure. He is a very competent and effective executive.”

      REALLY? Because one person has DIED because of this stunt…so far. That would be at BEST negligent homicide while committing abuse of authority.

  9. Taylor Marsh January 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    If you follow top Republicans on Twitter, you’ll see a direct opposite response from what many of you are saying. Mike Murphy, for one, says it will blow over.

    Jeffrey Toobin said tonight Christie’s finished, which is the strongest sign that he’s likely not. I kid here, but it’s way too soon to be talking about a resignation. Unless something criminal is found, what would make Christie resign? No pro would ever ruin the rest of his political life without a fight.

    Christie’s response today was wholly ineffective, but I’ve got a feeling he’s gotten some crisis counseling by now.

    Tomorrow could get interesting.

    I wonder how “Morning Joe,” the biggest boosters for Christie on cable, will cover this.

    • mjsmith January 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      It would be nice to see him on the show tomorrow morning.

    • lynnette January 8, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

      Taylor, mark my words. Christie is going down…. and it doesn’t have to be criminal – only stupid and wrong. People understand traffic and emergencies…. and pettiness – which goes to a character issue. What else are top Republicans going to say? Do you really believe them? I don’t. I guess time will tell.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 9, 2014 at 5:08 am #

      “Unless something criminal is found,”
      A citizen DIED because of POLITICOL retribution against a percieved “enemy” Mayor!!!!!!
      Someone used the power of the STATE and caused the death of a citizen……that’s not CRIMINAL?!!!!!

    • Ga6thDem January 9, 2014 at 7:29 am #

      Yeah, I’m with you on him not resigning as governor. He already has about zero chance of getting the 2016 nomination anyway. This just makes it even less likely that anyone will vote for him in the GOP primaries.

    • mjsmith January 9, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      I only watched a few mins of morning joe. The most damning evidence against Governor Christie, according to the person I heard speaking, is a “gut-feeling” that he did something wrong.

      Are you aware of any criminal behavior by Governor Christie? So far all I can find is “possible criminal accusations.” So right now he is not even being accused of anything. It is a little too early for a political obituary.

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