Archive for cover-up

Investigation #3 for Team Christie: Manhattan district attorney is said to investigate Port Authority

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chris christie schultz i know nothing Manhattan district attorney

Watch out Chris Christie and Co., the Manhattan district attorney is now sniffing around, because apparently they too believe something stinks.

police dog sniffing around animated GIFYes, a third-- count 'em, three!-- team of "seasoned corruption investigators who are most likely focused in large measure on a different set of corruption allegations" is now looking into possible state crimes, as opposed to federal ones.

That's a whole lot of allegations and/or suspicion of corruption, and a whole lot of probes. Call me crazy, but it appears that prosecutors and lawmakers are convinced that something is rotten in Joisey.

Via the New York Times:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed documents from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey concerning a range of the troubled agency’s major construction projects, including several that have come under scrutiny as a result of the politically charged George Washington Bridge lane closings, a person with knowledge of the matter said Saturday. [...]

This new criminal inquiry opens what is in essence a third investigative front focused on the actions of Mr. Christie and his appointees...

ruh roh smallerIf I were Christie and his pals, I'd be just a tad nervous right now. And by "just a tad" I mean I'd be quaking in my sleazy little boots.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Slut shaming, gossip: Chris #Christie's taxpayer-funded million dollar PR defense

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chris christie report bridget kelly slut shaming

you're a whore case closed slut shaming

Yesterday Team Christie cleared Chris Christie in a "report" by a firm that donated to his campaign; it was a laugh out loud over the top PR document that repeatedly relied on slut shaming to make its case.

Rachel Maddow made mince meat out of it, as did Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word":

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

Why on earth would Bridget Kelly's personal life and how her love life was going and whether or not Bill Stepien dumped her be relevant to that political question? ...

Bridget Kelly never spoke to the lawyers doing this investigation...

So what they've printed throughout the report is gossip about what they heard about their relationship and how it was going. They just gratuitously bring that up as they blame the whole thing on her. In real life, this is called "slut shaming." I'm not sure what they call it in New Jersey politics, but it's amazing to see it in this report that New Jersey taxpayers have paid for.

$1 million in public money spent to produce this report which blames the bridge scandal without explanation on the fact that this lady in the office was having a tough time in her love life. Amazing.

... This is also the law firm that governor Christie's office has hired essentially to put together the governor's defense in this issue. The governor's defense as federal prosecutors continue to pursue potential federal criminal charges related to this scandal.

There's no indication right now that Governor Christie is going to be indicted in this matter, but today's report looks very much like a ready criminal defense if that would become necessary. A would-be defense prepared at taxpayer expense and previewed for all of us at a length of 360 pages today.

And as they have rolled out the governor's legal defense today, they also did it in conjunction with a public relations rollout, the governor granting his first one-on-one interview tonight since the scandal broke.

...They actually published no new documentation of the scandal at all....

This is called protesting too much. The guy who did the lane closures says Chris Christie knew about it while it was happening. He says he told him while it was happening. There are pictures of them together on the day and at the occasion where the guy says it happened.

There is still no purported explanation from the governor's lawyers or the governor, himself, as to why this happened if it wasn't political retaliation directed from the governor's office, and this is his million-dollar defense.

This is the best he's got. and New Jersey taxpayers, you paid for it. Well, they did get that incredible detail that Mayor Zimmer once yawned. So i guess there's that.

chris christie report christie crying

And as mentioned at the top, Lawrence O'Donnell had a field day with the report whitewash as well as with former two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien's response to it:

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Team Christie clears #Christie in report by firm that donated to his campaign

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chris christie cartoon via FB team christie

chris christie bridgegate report by firm who donatedLink

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led an internal investigation of Bridgegate, held a news conference. In his self-serving little press event, Mastro pretty much laid out Chris Christie's legal defense. He also released a relatively meaningless, but lengthy, report by the gov's pals at the legal team of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher,. Christie hired them at the cost of more than a million taxpayer buckaroos.

The account was missing a little something though: It didn't include interviews with key players David Wildstein and Bridget Anne Kelly. But it does allege that the plan to close the George Washington Bridge lanes was orchestrated by Wildstein and approved by Kelly, Christie’s now-fired deputy chief of staff.

It also fails to reveal their motives.


The New York Times has the story:

The Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge said that he had informed Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey about it at a Sept. 11 memorial while the closings were occurring, according to the findings of an internal investigation released on Thursday by lawyers for the governor.

The official, David Wildstein, told Mr. Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, of the Sept. 11 conversation at a dinner in December just before his resignation from the Port Authority, according to the report.

The report said that Mr. Christie did not recall any such conversation, and it found no evidence that he was involved in the scheme, which snarled traffic for thousands of commuters in Fort Lee, N.J., from Sept. 9 through the morning of Sept. 12. [...]

At times, it reads like a point-by-point defense of the governor.

The old "I don't recall" defense. What's not to believe?

One reporter asked, “Why should this not be seen as a whitewash?” Indeed.

The New York Times has much more here. Click here for the full report.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Cover-up: Border agents created pretext to shoot Mexicans

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

cover up 2 cover-up

What's that saying again? Oh yeah: The cover-up is worse than the crime... or as in this case, at least as bad. The Los Angeles Times is reporting on border patrol agents who purposely got in the way of oncoming cars in order to justify using deadly force against Mexican drivers. And then U.S. Customs and Border Protection kept their violent little activities hush-hush... from Congress.

The law enforcement experts who wrote up a review of dozens of cases recommended that agents should be trained "to get out of the way… as opposed to intentionally assuming a position in the path of such vehicles." Ordinarily, law enforcement agencies make use-of-force policies public, but not in this case.

And to make matters worse, per Mexican authorities, U.S. border agents who kill Mexicans "are rarely disciplined and the results of investigations are not made pubic for years." According to the Times, the authors said that border agents would stand right there in the road so they could shoot drivers who were trying to avoid arrest. These drivers "posed no direct lethal threat to them or others." Welcome to the U.S.A.:

Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths.

The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which had commissioned the review, has tried to prevent the scathing 21-page report from coming to light.

House and Senate oversight committees requested copies last fall but received only a summary that omitted the most controversial findings — that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them [...]

The [internal] response rejects the two major recommendations: barring border agents from shooting at vehicles unless its occupants are trying to kill them, and barring agents from shooting people who throw things that can't cause serious physical injury.

Meanwhile, in Arizona:

Border-area residents, upset with what they called an increased militarized presence in their community, began an effort Wednesday to monitor Border Patrol actions at a federal immigration checkpoint about 25 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona.

Organizers with a humanitarian aid group called People Helping People in the Border Zone have called on the Border Patrol to remove the checkpoint in Amado, a town of about 300 people. Some residents say they have to deal with unnecessary delays, harassment and sometimes abuse at the checkpoint.

welcome

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Longtime Christie pal was right there at the Fort Lee traffic jam

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Doonesbury Chris Christie Fort Lee traffic jam bridgegate

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch out Chris Christie, Steve Kornacki is at it again. He's been digging and digging and found out that an old pal of Governor "Heartbroken" was right smack dab at the scene of the Fort Lee Traffic jam:

chris christie bridgegate friend 1

chris christie bridgegate friend 2

We have new information to report to you this morning about the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. The connection that has not been discovered or reported anywhere else before now. It involves a man who was apparently present when the access lanes were shut down and whose family has deep personal and political ties to Governor Chris Christie that go back decades....

We have evidence of the identity of that police lieutenant who apparently gave Wildstein a tour of the area as traffic was piling up in Fort Lee. ...

Now here is where the puzzle starts to come together ... It's an e-mail sent from Wildstein at 7:28 that morning to [Bob Durando, the general manager of the bridge] informing him he's, quote, "going to take a ride with Chip and see how it looks." ...

Why should you care if Lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels is the guy who gave Wildstein a tour as traffic hell was setting in on Fort Lee?

chris christie bridgegate friend 3

When David Wildstein surveyed the chaos caused by the lane closures, his tour guide was apparently a police lieutenant who had known Chris Christie since his childhood...

[Chip's brother] Jeff Michaels [is] a major Republican player...

"I've known [Christie] for a long time. we went to high school. our families knew each other from Livingston. and just stayed in close contact with him over the years and was very pleased to help his campaign out with policy." [...]

Christie has cultivated an unusual alliance with George Norcross. He's a Democrat who is widely regarded as the most powerful political boss in the state. So the Christie/ Norcross era in New Jersey, the teaming of Jeff Michaels and Phil Norcross has been a lucrative one...

So that's who Jeff Michaels is: a powerful New Jersey Republican whose family has long and close ties to Chris Christie. Someone who has parlayed that connection into a wildly successful lobbying practice and has invested tens of thousands of his own money in Christie's political future. And it is his brother, Jeff Michaels' brother, Port Authority police lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels, who is apparently on the scene when the Fort Lee lanes were shut down. And who drove David Wildstein around as the traffic mounted, and  who apparently kept in touch with Wildstein through text messaging after that ride...

There's no evidence to suggest that Lieutenant Michaels was involved in the planning of the operation. But the evidence suggests that Chip Michaels was present on the bridge at the hour the lanes were first closed, both driving David Wildstein around that first morning and texting with him at least throughout the first two days of the closures. He seemed to have an inkling it was coming, too...

In all that time did Jeff Michaels and Chris Christie ever talk about this? About how Jeff's brother was the guy who drove David Wildstein around during the closures? ... Now it appears it wasn't just David Wildstein on the scene when the lanes were closed. That he was there with a police officer who knew the governor from way back, and whose brother is a Trenton power broker who has a deep connection to Christie, as well as deep ties to the Republican party in New Jersey.

UPDATE:

chris christie bridgegate kornacki tweet

Here is a bonus Doonesbury strip, because who can resist Garry Trudeau's snarkitude, especially when it comes to Gov. "I know nothing" Schultz, er, Christie?

Doonesbury Chris Christie Sunday strip

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Chris Christie compares the poor to petulant teens, but, see, he's the real victim here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Chris Christie red meat

Chris Hayes and David Cay Johnston should have added the now-famous quote from Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to this discussion of Chris Christie: He "deserves an ass-kicking":

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Chris Christie speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago:

I think that the problem we have is an opportunity gap, not an income equality gap. And I think that one of the big discussions in conversations over the course of the next two years in national politics is going to be, do you want mediocrity or do you want greatness?  You want income equality? That's mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary. That's what we can afford. Or do you want the opportunity for greatness? ...

Greatness is going to be based on your intellect, your hard work, your creativity. And government can play a role in helping to create that opportunity. But not in being the perpetual referee of what sounds like a fight between my 13-year-old son and my 10-year-old daughter: "You did this for him, that's not fair. Well, that's not fair, I want this to be fair." I grew up in an America that said, "Life isn't fair."

Yes, you heard right: Chris Christie is confusing income equality with salary equality. He thinks Democrats want every employed person in the country to be paid exactly the same salary.

Then he had the unmitigated gall to compare struggling families, people who are hurting, with petulant children, in effect blaming them!

family values my ass

To paraphrase Keith Olbermann, "That man is an idiot."

Here's a bonus video from The Rachel Maddow Show, just in case you're not up on the latest in the Bridgegate scandal:

chris christie bridgegate fundraise msnbc

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow, on how the GOP is throwing a pity party for their guy Chris:

The New Jersey State Republican Party is now trying to raise money on the Bridge scandals. Specifically, they are trying to raise money by saying that news organizations should not be covering the scandal, and that's the real problem here.

Seriously, I'm not kidding... This is from the Star Ledger... They're quoting a fundraising email that the New Jersey Republican Party has sent out asking people to pledge $25 a month to the New Jersey Republican Party because of the Bridge scandal....

"Send us money because MSNBC keeps reporting on this story"??

To the people of Fort Lee, to the people who missed the first day of school or the first day of work, to the 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 Fort 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 Gov. 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 [MSNBC] is reporting on what happened and trying to figure out the answers, but the Christie administration still won't provide.

They want you to know that we're the real outrage, and that 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.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Chris #Christie use of Port Authority as ATM "taken to new heights." More like new depths.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chris christie bridgegate port authority via MadImage via Mad

Need to catch up on all the Chris Christie, Bridgegate, Port Authority, email-your-crony, "Who, moi?" scandals? Here you go, courtesy of Steve "I'm on it!" Kornacki:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Kornacki's stories are chock full o' fun facts and each video contains top notch investigative reporting.

Speaking of reporting, the Los Angeles Times posted an article on this mess, one that approaches the scandals from a slightly different angle. Their headline: "Port Authority controversy runs deeper than Christie bridge scandal" and it reminds us that the agency is controlled by the governors of both New York and New Jersey, plus "it owns the World Trade Center, airports, bridges, tunnels and the seaport, the nation's third-largest... operates a train and spearheads its own development projects. All of that money and hiring power has been an irresistible temptation to politicians on both sides of the Hudson River, which divides the two states."

Governor "Heartbroken" sure seems to have-- allegedly-- succumbed to that "temptation" and--allegedly-- used the Port Authority to-- allegedly-- reward his buddies. Allegedly.

The troubled organization is the largest of its kind in the country, with a $7-billion budget, more than 7,000 employees, a dysfunctional management structure and a reputation as a secretive patronage haven. [...]

More than a year before the current controversy, former Executive Director Stephen Berger described the Port Authority as "a money tree, an ATM machine," during a breakfast event in New York. "It's been a place [governors] can go to do projects they can't get through their budgets," he said. [...]

Christie has stacked the Port Authority with dozens of loyalists, according to a list that surfaced in a recent lawsuit. [...]

Jameson Doig, a Dartmouth professor who wrote a book about the Port Authority called "Empire on the Hudson," said that other governors also had used the agency as a jobs bank — but that Christie had taken it to new heights.

More like new depths. Allegedly.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare