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Update: Please see big second update from WNYC  - I'm changing title, to at least Nancy Solomon of NJ NPR asks "Interviews show Christie's Staff working frantically to throw reporter's off scent - NJ NPR's Nancy Solomon.  I've spliced this paragraph from the WNYC update here on top. After the dotted line this post proceeds in chronological order starting with straight interview dumps and zeroing in on juicy tidbits in progressive order.

Nancy Solomon, Managing Editor of WNYC, New Jersey Public Radio is now asking if Did Christie Aides Cover Up Bridgegate?

But there is another reading of the documents — one that shows the governor's top aides in the statehouse and his allies and appointees at the Port Authority carefully tracking the scandal that's come to be known as Bridgegate, working frantically to throw reporters and legislators off the scent and — at key points — informing Christie himself of certain facts about the unfolding mess.

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Dec 2 was Christie famous "I worked the cones statement.


That night, Wildstein and Drewniak dine together in New Brunswick. According to the Mastro report, Wildstein tells Drewniak that he’d told the governor about the lane closures while they were happening, and that two of Christie’s top staff — campaign manager Stepien and Bridget Ann Kelly, the governor's deputy chief of staff — knew about them. Christie himself edits these documents about Drewniak

--------Does this quote from the Mastro Interviews not refute Christie's Claim that he knew of no involvement by anyone in his staff with the Bridgegate activities until January 8?

Dec. 4: The next day, Drewniak tells Christie about his conversation with Wildstein. According to the Mastro report, the governor tells his spokesman that it’s time for Wildstein and Baroni to go. Christie himself edits the press statement thanking Wildstein for his service

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?????Smoking Gun with regard to Christie denial of knowledge before January 8???
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

From this point on this is the original post with updates they came in

Depending on when tonight's MSNBC programs were recorded we could see an explosive set of revelations tonight folks. I need to get back to google. We might be on the verge of the "smoking gun" with proof showing not only was Christie's top staff involved in trying to manage the post Bridgegate perceptions, but perhaps even evidence making it increasingly implausible that Christie himself did not know prior to January 8. Right now we are being asked to believe that Christie chief counsel McKenna was involved in couching Boroni on his deceptive testimony to the NJ committee, and Drewniack heard all of Wildstein's dinner confessions, coordinated his resignation, and announcement with Christie but did not tell Christie, nor did Christie's chied counsel tell Christie, nor did his two chiefs of staffs, but he is not angry at all with them, but he was so furious with Bridget Kelly, a low level staffer that he fired her, called her stupid, and bemoaned she had betrayed him on national TV! ? !  Does this seem suspicious to anyone else?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brent Johnson, of the The Star-Ledger has published  
Christie bridge scandal review interviews: Key excerpts
in which he has released key excerpts from many interviews. A major release documents for the 75 interview of the Randy Mastro report. I don't know how many have been released but this article ahs about six and they are flashing red all over the internet. Red Alert for Team Christiegate!

I haven't had time to read all 75 interviews and select out the best stuff, even from the selected portions of Brent Johnson "Selected Portions" so I'm asking the readers to help me here. I just clipped the "Christie Section" released from the Mastro report."

Several other articles have been released as well. I'll go retrieve those links if readers here can start digesting the interview contained in this article. I'll be back soon. Thanks.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE

Christie said when reports first surfaced that Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich believed the lanes were closed as retribution for not endorsing the governor, he thought the issue was being stirred by the press or his Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono.

Christie also said he "has no specific recollection of conversations' with Baroni or then-Port Authority official David Wildstein about the closings while at a 9/11 memorial event in New York City last September.

Christie said he though Wildstein was an "odd duck" and that he did not have Wildstein in his cell phone contacts.

Christie also said that at the time Baroni hired Wildstein at the Port Authority, Wildstein was set to receive a $200,000 salary, but the governor objected. Christie said he agreed to a salary of $150,000.

Meanwhile, Christie recalled a meeting he held with his staff Dec. 13, in the hours before he held a news conference saying Baroni resigned from the Port Authority.

"The governor walked in, slammed the door, and stood the whole time. He was agitated and disappointed," the report said. "He recalled saying 'this is a mess, and now I have to clean it up.' He recalled saying that he hoped everyone enjoyed their 38-day vacation, and was pleased with themselves over the 60-percent victory and the Time magazine cover, but that it was time to get back to work. He said that 'the spotlight can turn to a searchlight real quick' and it was time to raise their game. He said that anyone not up to that challenge should tell him. He then pivoted to the Port Authority issue, and said that he now had to clean up the mess. He said that he needed to know everything so that he could clean it up."

Christie also recalled hearing the news about the Kelly e-mails leaking Jan. 8.

"The governor received a call from Comella regarding a story in The Record that she described as 'bad,'" the report said. "He read the article on his iPad, which made him sick to his stomach."

He called his staff to Drumthwacket for a meeting.

"When the meeting started, the governor recalled being nervous because he did not know who else might be involved," the report said. "He got emotional, and with tears in his eyes, asked if anyone else had anything else to do with the lane realignment, because he could not get sand-bagged again."

Christie decided Kelly had to be fired and he needed to sever ties with Stepien "in part of the language Stepien used in the released e-mails, but also because he felt he could no longer trust Stepien."

Much more breaking in updates.

2:10 PM PT: Christopher Baxter, of NJ.com, just posted Chris Christie's friend interviewed him as part of bridge scandal review.

TRENTON — A close friend to Gov. Chris Christie, Debra Wong Yang, was one of three attorneys who interviewed the governor as part of the taxpayer-funded internal review that he ordered in the wake of the September lane closings at the George Washington Bridge.

Debra Wong Yang, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, was, like Christie, appointed a U.S. attorney by former President George W. Bush. The two have gone on vacation with each other's families, and Christie steered Yang a lucrative contract while U.S. attorney.

She conducted the interview of Christie with Randy Mastro, the firm's lead attorney on the matter, as well as Alexander Southwell. A summary of the interview, as well as interview summaries with 74 other people conducted as part of the review, were released today.

The law firm apparently did not record the interviews or prepare verbatim transcripts. Instead, they were summarized by the attorneys and reflect their "mental thoughts and impressions," which allowed them to be protected under attorney-client privilege, according to the law firm.

The same day, Christopher Porrino, the governor's chief counsel, and

This article also reveals that Christie's former chief counsel Charles McKenna was involved in helping Baroni prepare the controversial  testimony he provided on the reasons for the GWB lane closing before the NJ legislative investigative committee, that has since been challenged as lacking in credible.

If Governor Christie's Chief counsel can be proven be involved in what turns out to be a deliberate deception of the legislative committees investigations in November, it would ..... "raise further doubts" about the credibility of Governor Christie's  claims that he had no idea any of this was going on until January 8, 2014.

Am I the only one who find this .... "suspicious." May I ask readers to weigh in on this issue? Perhaps, this should be a poll question for tonight?    

.



In his interview, Drewniak said he suspected Wildstein was trying to use him to justify the cover story of a traffic study. At a Dec. 4 dinner in New Brunswick, Wildstein told him he was "falling on his sword" by resigning and presented documentation of the study.

But Drewniak did not believe the study was legitimate.

And, so lets see if I am following this correctly.... This is December 4, 2013, Drewniak, Dresniak, either believes Wildstein is "covering up" or "falling on his sword" but  doesn't think this worth mentioning it to Christie?

Or, as Christie has told it, he has such rigid reporting channels, that even though they are all one big office floor, it is Dec 4, with Holiday Parties, etc no opportunity arose for Drewniak to tell Christie, and when Drewniak, told one of the Chiefs of staff, or McKenna, none of them thought it worth mentioning this to Christie, but Christie has no issue about this with any of them and has not fired this Chiefs or staffs, or accused his chief counsel of betraying him to an even greater degree that he has accused Bridgett Kelly of betraying him? And being stupid???

So, Christie is so outraged at a low level administrator that he immediately fires her, calls her stupid several time on national TV, and accuses her of betraying him for writing this one line in the email, however, he does not raise a peep, that his chief counsel, two top chiefs of staffs, top public relations managers, 4 top political appointees in the Port Authority, and one of his best friends, have all been told, and are apparently even participating in this "cover up" (McKenna helping Boroni with false testimony to legislative committee) and Christie is not even slightly annoyed or disappointed enough to mention it? What am I missing.

Am I wrong to be ... suspicious about this?

And, help me concentrate Kossacks, is it not curious that Randy Mastro did not find any of this to be worthy of mention in his previous several days of headlines and news conferences?

2:25 PM PT: Nancy Soloman, Managing Editor of WNYC, New Jersey Public Radio is now asking if Did Christie Aides Cover Up Bridgegate?

But there is another reading of the documents — one that shows the governor's top aides in the statehouse and his allies and appointees at the Port Authority carefully tracking the scandal that's come to be known as Bridgegate, working frantically to throw reporters and legislators off the scent and — at key points — informing Christie himself of certain facts about the unfolding mess.

WNYC has developed a chronology of events starting with the Septemper 13 reopening of the lanes by Executive Director Patrick Foye

Here is a chronology of how Christie's team responded as the GWB traffic jams drew scrutiny from the press and lawmakers:



Oct. 18: Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak continues to get questions from reporters. He emails Kevin O’Dowd, Christie’s chief of staff: “A new high level of s**t is hitting the fan tonight on the Ft. Lee/GWB issue. Maybe you should know about it.”

But Drewniak’s response to reporters doesn’t reflect all the behind-the-scenes commotion. “For goodness sake, the Governor of the State of New Jersey doesn’t involve himself in traffic studies,” he said.

 Nov. 25: The Port Authority's Bill Baroni testifies before the state legislative committee investigating the lane closures. He brings with him a large photograph of the George Washington Bridge, a red Sharpie and many details about a “traffic study” now known to be non-existent.

You can read below in an update that we now know that Christie Chief Counsel Charlie McKenna helped Boroni in preparing for his deceptive testimoney. Are we to beleive he did not tell Christie? And Christie is not furious that McKenna "betrayed" him by not telling him but he is furious that Kelly a much lower staffer did?

The Mastro reports says Baroni was coached by top officials in the Christie administration to prepare for the testimony. Many of those officials had worked with the governor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Regina Egea, Nicole Crifo, Philip Kwon and Charles McKenna, the governor's counsel.

Nov. 26: Christie’s reelection campaign manager Bill Stepien emails Baroni: “Hey, great job yesterday. I know it's not a fun topic, and not nearly as fun as beating up on [the late U.S. Sen.] Frank Lautenberg, but I wanted to thank you.”

Wildstein texts Christie spokesman Drewniak: “Most importantly, Gov was not brought up in this.”

Dec 2 was Christie famous "I worked the cones statement.



That night, Wildstein and Drewniak dine together in New Brunswick. According to the Mastro report, Wildstein tells Drewniak that he’d told the governor about the lane closures while they were happening, and that two of Christie’s top staff — campaign manager Stepien and Bridget Ann Kelly, the governor's deputy chief of staff — knew about them.

Dec. 4: The next day, Drewniak tells Christie about his conversation with Wildstein. According to the Mastro report, the governor tells his spokesman that it’s time for Wildstein and Baroni to go. Christie himself edits the press statement thanking Wildstein for his service



^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^??Smoking Gun?? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

3:50 PM PT: Aliyah Frumin, of MSNBC More trouble for Chris Christie?



More trouble may be on the horizon for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is now reportedly investigating the relationship between the Republican and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Vance’s office has subpoenaed information on communication between Christie staffers and the Port Authority on several projects, according to The Wall Street Journal. That includes the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and a PATH transportation hub in lower Manhattan.

Just days after  the new probe was made public, Anthony Sartor, a Port Authority commissioner – and New Jersey appointee – announced his resignation on Monday, a spokesman for  the agency and Sartor’s spokesman confirmed to msnbc. Sartor had been chairing the agency’s subcommittee on World Trade redevelopment. In his resignation letter, Sartor makes no mention of the recent controversies, only saying that it’s time for him to retire after serving for 15 years.

4:40 PM PT: Thanks to Zeta Retuculi for bringing us these links:

Port Authority Commissioner Anthony Sartor Resigns

Anthony Sartor submitted his resignation just days after a new investigation into activity at the Port Authority by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, including the agency’s work rebuilding the World Trade Center, came to light.

Mr. Sartor is a New Jersey appointee who has long chaired the agency’s subcommittee on World Trade Center redevelopment.

His attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Sartor’s resignation had been expected by people familiar with Mr. Vance’s probe, which sought a broad swath of records about the authority’s major projects in New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Vance’s investigation comes as the Port Authority already faces an investigation by federal prosecutors in New Jersey.

4:45 PM PT: I believe I just heard Chris Matthews report that the New York Attorney is investigating not only David Samson, but also Governor Christie's office, and I believe he said it was the division of the prosecutors office that handles "racketeering and corruption" but noise made it difficult to hear. Did any readers catch this?  

4:51 PM PT: Also, This is one of the first post in a2nite new Christie Watch groups which I believe she means to include the New York investigations of even Governor Andrew Cuomo. Please click on the follow Christie watch heart. You can find this under to post I did on Anthony Sartor which Zeta Retuculi posted at the bottom of this one.

Sorry to get two post going. Since this one had about a dozen updates and I had promised a2nite an inaugural post for Christie Watch I thought I keep them separate. Now I see they are related.

Perhaps these major expansions explain why U.S. Attorney Fishman added 7 new prosecutors last week to bring to 10 the full time prosecutors he has working on the Governor Christie case. This may turn out to be one of the largest corruption cases ever, if not the largest. I'm trying to find where I read that last week, even before the New York Front broke.  

6:01 PM PT: Salvador Rizzo, of the Star-Ledger, reveals Bridge scandal: NJ taxpayers to pay legal bills for at least 5 officials, at a rate of $340/hour, according to the state Attorney General's Office.



Iacullo Martino of Nutley. Anthony Iacullo is the attorney for Gov. Chris Christie's press secretary, Michael Drewniak, who went recently before a federal grand jury in Newark as a witness for a criminal investigation being run by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's office.

Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Peretti of Morristown. According to documents released by Christie's attorneys, the Riker Danzing lawyer billing the state, Zahid Quraishi, is representing Christie aide Evan Ridley, who has been subpoenaed for records by the state Legislature. A spokeswoman for the law firm declined to comment today.

Krovatin Klingeman of Newark. Attorney Henry Klingeman is representing former Christie aide Christina Genovese Renna, who recently resigned. Genovese Renna has also been subpoenaed by the Legislature for records. (The other law partner in that firm, Gerald Krovatin, is billing the city of Hoboken to represent Democratic Mayor Dawn Zimmer as Fishman investigates separate questions about how the Christie administration handed out Hurricane Sandy relief funds.)

Attorney Kevin Marino is representing Bill Stepien, however N.J. taxpayers will only pay for the cost of responding to the subpoena from the Legislature for documents beginning in Septeber of 2012 until September 2013 when he left to run Christie's re-election campaign.

A spokesperson for the N.J. State Attorney General also said that:

"New Jersey state law and judicial precedent afford state employees a presumption in favor of state-funded representation when civil matters relate to actions taken within the scope of their employment, and allow the attorney general broad discretion to provide representation in non-civil matters if doing so is in the best interests of the state," said Lee Moore, a spokesman for acting Attorney General John Hoffman.

7:02 PM PT: Kornacki is saying the an interview summary says Kims' assistant Luciano Damagio says that he could see Kim Guadagno and Mayor Dawn Zimmer talking intensely in the parking lot of the Shop Rite but could not hear what they said, but when Kim Gaudagno got into the car she said something like "If Mayor Zimmer didn't play ball there's not much we can do." Which that section of the report is "consistent with Mayor Dawn Zimmer's version of events.

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:18 AM PT: Wildstein claims he got "front-office approval" for GWB, Christie told investigators

This latest revelation by David Voreacos, Elise Young, Terence Dopp, appears to be a potential bombshell. Entitled, Christie Disussed Wildstein Claims About Bridge Tie-Ups, alleges that David Wildstein told colleagues that he got "clearance from the 'front office' for the GWB land closings," according to Governor Chris Christie.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s former ally David Wildstein told colleagues that he got clearance from the “front office” for the George Washington Bridge lane closings, Christie told investigators.

Wildstein, once a top official at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs the bridge, told someone that he got permission to shut down the lanes from Sept. 9 to 12, Christie told lawyers from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. A summary of Christie’s interviews with the firm was released yesterday, along with those of 74 other people who spoke to Gibson Dunn.

“The governor recalled someone (though he does not recollect who), relaying that Wildstein had said something along the lines of, ‘I’m not stupid; I got this cleared by the front office,’” according to a 12-page summary of three Christie interviews.

Originally posted to HoundDog on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 01:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Christie Watch.

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