'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, January 18th, 2014
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
January 18, 2014
GuestS: Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Rep. Frank Pallone, Michael Aron, Brian Murphy, Josh Barro, Paul Butler, Brian Wice, Burt Ross
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: What if it wasn`t about endorsements at all.
KORNACKI: We, at this show, have been reporting as furiously as we can
this week. And this morning, we can bring you new exclusive and startling
information about top officials in Chris Christie`s administration. A
story that appear to link the Christie administration to an effort to use
hurricane Sandy relief funds to force a city to expedite a project, a
project which also happens to directly involve the law firm of the Port
That`s a lot to absorb and we`re going to take you through all of it in
just a minute. We`re going to hear directly from the mayor who says she
was on the receiving end of this pressure campaign. She`s been refusing
media request all week, but she is here this morning to tell her story and
it`s a story you have not seen anywhere else in the press before right now.
There`s a lot to this. There are a lot of documents, there are a lot of
names, a lot of highly technical terms, a lot of complicated but necessary
So, please, I`m going to ask you, bear with us. We`re going to take our
time here. We`re going to do our best to give you the clearest and the
most accurate picture of what we know. And the best place to start this
story then is probably five years ago. It was a famous day in the history
of New Jersey politics, the day you may even remember, if you don`t live in
New Jersey, if you`ll follow politics New Jersey that much, because but
it`s the day that in many ways made Chris Christie governor.
It`s July 23rd, 2009, a Thursday that began like any normal Thursday in
most of America but not in the Garden State where federal agents spread out
at the crack of dawn (ph), round up dozens of politicians snared in one of
the most massive sting operations in history. It`s a drag that years in
the making, but the trap wasn`t that elaborate.
The fed simply recruited a crafty, crooked, and failed real estate
operator, a man named Solomon Dwek (ph) who`d been arrested for bank fraud
a few years earlier for trying to pass $50 million in bad checks. To save
his own hide, that man then cooperated with the feds and he went undercover
and traveled from town to town in New Jersey to meet with political leaders
and their handlers with a simple offer, here`s a pile of cash, take it,
it`s yours. Promise me in return that I will get the permits and approvals
that I need to develop in your town.
That was the deal he offered, and there were a lot of politicians and
political players who took that cash and who made that promise. And then
they found themselves on July 23rd, 2009, in handcuffs. And one of them
was this man, Peter J. Cammarano. He`d gone to sleep the night before, a
rising political star, 32 years old, the newly elected mayor of Hoboken.
It`s vibrant, densely populated melting pot city in the banks of the Hudson
It`s a place where young artists and commuting professionals live along the
descendants of the city`s ethnic blue collar heyday. You`ll find
stockbrokers and Damon Runyon characters sharing the same block. That`s
Hoboken. It`s a fun place to live. It`s one of the most coveted areas for
developers. There`s priceless views of Manhattan. There`s easy access to
the city. If you get to build in Hoboken, you can make a lot of money.
So, that`s the city that Peter Cammarano had been elected to lead in June
2009. He was young, he was charismatic, he was a talented speaker.
Actually, it turned out I`d gone to college with him, but I didn`t know it
at the time as much as one of those things, I guess. And as soon as he won
that election, people were talking up Pete Cammarano as a future star. He
was going to run for governor someday, someday soon.
Almost everyone in New Jersey in politics seem to agree on that. But he
didn`t even last a month. Peter Cammarano was arrested on July 23rd, 2009.
That undercover fake developer working for the feds had met with Cammarano
at a diner while he was running for mayor and he`d offered $25,000 in
illegal campaign contributions. The condition, Dwek, the fake developer
said he had big plans to build in Hoboken.
And as mayor, he wanted Cammarano to, quote, "make you would get my stuff
expedited." "I promise you," was Cammarano`s reply, "you`re going to be
treated like a friend." One week later, Peter Cammarano resigned as the
mayor of Hoboken. One year later, he was sentenced to two years in prison
for extortion and conspiracy, for taking that bribe.
And his was only one of many stories like that. One of many political
figures taking down out of the blue on July 23rd, 2009. Operation Bid Rig.
That was the name given to this roundup, and politically, it did two thing.
The first is that it made Chris Christie look like a hero. Remember, in
2009, he was first running for governor.
This was the height of that campaign. He was running against the incumbent
Democrat, John Corzine, in a very blue state and the polls were close. But
Christie had been, until a few months earlier, the U.S. attorney for New
Jersey. Operation Bid Rig had started on his watch, this was his team.
These were his people arresting all those crooked politicians. This was
his operation, a Chris Christie operation in the most dramatic, vivid way
It reinforced everything that Christie wanted voters to know about him.
Operation Bid Rig also meant that the city of Hoboken got a new mayor, her
name, Dawn Zimmer. She`d run against Cammarano and had lost in a squeaker
then she became the president of the city council and being in that job, it
made her next in line to become the mayor when Cammarano got caught. So,
she became the interim mayor.
And then in November of 2009, on the same day that Christie defeated
Corzine and became governor, Dawn Zimmer won a full term as the mayor of
Hoboken. And here`s the thing, Dawn Zimmer is a Democrat and Hoboken is a
very Democratic town, but Dawn Zimmer was a fan of Chris Christie.
She said that she`d like that he`d clean up her town, help to clean up her
town by exposing Cammarano`s corruption, by taking a mayor who was ready to
sell off Hoboken for $25,000, and throwing him behind bars. She believes
in clean government and so did he. She also said that she believes in a
lot of his reform agenda, even parts that made other Democrats
When Christie called for a local property tax cap, Mayor Zimmer endorsed
the plan. She hosted him in Hoboken for his first town hall meeting. She
publicly campaigned for his ideas. Christie liked and Christie still likes
to talk about reaching across the aisle and his relationship with Hoboken`s
mayor, Dawn Zimmer, fit to a tee, the image the governor has so eagerly
At least that`s how it used to be, because that story turned. And if
you`ve been following the news this week, you know this, there`ve been all
sorts of stories about how Hoboken was ravaged by hurricane Sandy.
You remember the pictures of narrow streets flooded with filthy, unsanitary
water, of military tanks, of millions of gallons of water gushing into the
path commuter rail station, a key hub that connects tens of thousands of
commuters from all over North Jersey to New York City every single day.
Hoboken is one of the most densely populated cities in America. It`s just
one square mile. It lies mostly below sea level. It was supremely
vulnerable to a storm like Sandy.
And it`s still supremely vulnerable to a storm like Sandy because even
though Hoboken was ravaged by Sandy and even though Mayor Zimmer`s team is
consulted with global experts and devised a comprehensive plan to protect
the city in the future, less than one percent of that giant pool of relief
and recovery money that Christie sits on has gone to the city.
The story you`ve heard in the news this week is that this is supposedly
because Dawn Zimmer didn`t endorse Christie`s re-election campaign last
year. But that`s not the story.
Dawn Zimmer says that why she landed (ph) on Christie`s bad side, why
Hoboken hasn`t gotten that Sandy money, she says the real reason, the real
reason she`s here today to tell us about goes back to that same one word
that was at the heart of that famous day in 2009 that helped make Chris
Christie governor, that day that sent Pete Cammarano away, that day that
lifted Dawn Zimmer to the position of Mayor of Hoboken.
That one word that is more often than any other word at the heart of any
political corruption story that emanates from the Garden State,
development. This is the north end of Hoboken. It`s sort of the frontier
of the city, one of the last remaining pockets that really hasn`t been
touched by redevelopment which made it a very attractive location for ta
major developer, the Rockefeller Group.
It`s the same company that developed Rockefeller Center where I`m sitting
right now. Rockefeller Group came in in 2008. They bought up portions of
three blocks in Hoboken`s north end. In 2009, the city council quickly
decided to see if that part of town needed to be re-developed. May not
know it, but redevelopment is actually a very technical term. It means
that a property becomes eligible for tax incentives and other goodies from
state and local governments.
So, if that spot was cleared for redevelopment, the Rockefeller Group would
have a much freer hand to build whatever they wanted while asking
potentially for millions in subsidies. But all of this happened before
Dawn Zimmer became mayor. After she won her full term as mayor, she didn`t
think the city needed that redevelopment right away. The crash of 2008 was
still exacting a brutal toll.
Hoboken`s finances were a mess. The city was being monitored by state
officials. The mayor said she told Rockefeller she wasn`t against the idea
of them building in Hoboken, but they`d have to follow the same process as
everybody else and that process couldn`t start until the city had enough
money to pay professionals, planners, and engineers to study the issue.
This created some tension. The Rockefeller Group talked in the press about
how it was, quote, "putting the finishing touches on plans to construct a
skyline altering project in Hoboken`s north end and has Zimmer`s
predecessors as mayor had been moving the process along. Zimmer said she
She wrote to the author of that story, quote, "I want to make it very
clear. There had been no negotiations with the Rockefeller Group regarding
their project by my administration. There will be no negotiations until a
study has been completed in a public process, including all stakeholders
has been completed in order to determine what kind of development our city
would like to have in that area."
That`s what she wrote to the reporter of that story. So, they`re at an
impasse. The Rockefeller Group had big plans for this hugely valuable land
that was sitting on, But Mayor Zimmer wasn`t aggressively moving forward on
it. And that`s when the Christie administration comes in, and
specifically, this woman. Her name is Lori Grifa. In 2010, she was Chris
Christie`s commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
That means she was in Chris Christie`s cabinet. Zimmer says that Grifa
came to hoboken that June. The north end project came up, and she told
Zimmer that the administration might be able to help track down a source to
pay for the study. And soon enough, the Christie administration connected
Mayor Zimmer to the Port Authority.
That`s the same Port Authority that operates the George Washington Bridge.
The same Port Authority that, on the New Hersey side, is littered with
political appointees of Chris Christie. And it`s the same Port Authority
that on December 28, 2010, came through with this. It`s a letter to Zimmer
approving the -- of her request from that fall for the port to pay for the
study. Grant was for up to $75,000.
And for Zimmer, it seemed like the perfect solution. She was not against
developing the land. She just wanted a real professional study, and now,
she had the money to pay for one. And there was a string attached. There
was a condition. The Port Authority would get to pick the firm that did
the study, but the firm they chose in February 2011 had a solid reputation.
You can see that here. This is the letter from the Port Authority
designating Clarke Caton Hintz to do the re-development study. So, nothing
seem to miss and the study began. And it took a long time. It took 2011.
It took through 2012. Hurricane Sandy slowed things down, then finally, in
January 2013, the draft of the report came back, and well, Zimmer says it
baffled her and her team.
The firm was to evaluate a 19-block area in the north end to see what was
eligible for that designation of redevelopment and all of the goodies that
come with it. The report did conclude that some of that neighborhood fit
the criteria, but worthy to note, the only blocks that it recommended for
redevelopment were the three blocks where the Rockefeller Group owned
Two and three quarters of those blocks were and are owned by the
Rockefeller Group. These are the only three blocks in the north end where
Rockefeller owned property and these are the only three blocks that were
recommended in that study for redevelopment. This is even more curious if
you walk or drive through these blocks.
They all pretty much look alike. If you`re a layman like me and you`re
walking around there like I did earlier this week, it`s hard to see why
just those three blocks could be singled out like this. Zimmer`s team was
not alone in wondering about that. The landowners for the other 16 blocks
in the north end hired a lawyer who called the study, quote, "curious,
disturbing, and suspect to say the least."
But the Rockefeller Group had a powerful advocate, a law firm called Wolff
and Samson. It`s probably the most powerful politically connected law firm
in all of New Jersey. It`s heavily involved in the developments deals and
it`s known for its close and its intimate ties to the Christie
administration. The Samson in Wolff and Samson, Samson is David Samson.
He`s the chairman of the Port Authority.
He`s the former attorney general of New Jersey. He`s Chris Christie`s
appointee at the Port Authority who`s coming under increasing scrutiny in
the Bridgegate scandal. You can see here that David Samson`s law firm
represents the Rockefeller Group. And, you can see here that one of the
Wolf and Samson attorneys who lobby on behalf of the Rockefeller group is
Lori Grifa. This is the page she signed in a previous quarter`s filing
And if that name gives you deja vu, it should because we mentioned her just
a few minutes ago. Lori Grifa was the Department of Community Affairs
commissioner under Christie who had originally suggested that Mayor Zimmer
turn to the Port Authority, the Port Authority that David Samson chairs to
get money for the development study for the land that the Rockefeller Group
But Lori Grifa left the Christie administration in 2011 and she went to
work at Wolff and Samson. And by the time that redevelopment study came
back, she was hard at work doing the bidding of the Rockefeller Group.
Here she is in early 2012. This is as the study is still going on, e-
mailing a man named Joe Marazati. He is a lawyer hired by Hoboken to serve
as its council on development issues.
Lori Grifa is e-mailing him in early 2012 to tell him, quote, "Our client,
the Rockefeller Group, has specifically asked us to speak with you
regarding its property in Hoboken." So, look what happens. The
redevelopment draft report finally comes back on January 16th of last year.
We`re into 2013 now. It says that the whole 19-block area is eligible to
be declared an area in need of rehabilitation.
That`s a much weaker designation from the standpoint of a developer and
that only three blocks in that area, the three blocks with Rockefeller
properties on them are eligible for the much more powerful redevelopment
designation. Now, the city has some concerns. The next step is the
planning board. How will they choose to handle the report and designate
The Rockefeller Group obviously would like to get this to the planning
board and then the city council fast so that it can get building. So,
Wolff and Samson turns up the heat. Here`s an e-mail from the morning of
April 5th, 2013, from that same redevelopment attorney for the city of
Hoboken, Joe Marazati, writing to a woman named Brandy Forbes. She serves
under Mayor Zimmer as Hoboken`s community development director.
"I am getting the full court press on this," Marazati writes to her. "I
have a voicemail from last night from Lori asking that I join a call this
a.m. with Lori and Dave Samson, chair of the PA," the Port Authority, "or
suggest another time."
And here`s an e-mail from that same day from Lori Grifa, herself, to
Marazati under the subject, "Hoboken/Rockefeller." "Joe," she writes,
"I`ve been trying to set up a telecom with Dave Samson. Have left messages
at your office." Marazati writes and asked for an agenda. What do they
want to talk about specifically?
On April 19thth, Grifa writes back again, again the subject is
"Hoboken/Rockefeller Group." She said she assumes the study is going to be
adopted by the planning board and wants to talk about moving the project
forward after that. Copied on that e-mail from Grifa to Hoboken`s
redevelopment attorney is David Samson. You can see his names right there.
Mazarati writes back that it would be, quote, "premature to discuss
anything until and unless the planning board accepts the redevelopment
study at its next scheduled meeting. Its next scheduled meeting being on
May 8th meeting comes, the Hoboken planning board votes 4-3 that there is,
quote, "insufficient evidence to designate those three blocks in area for
Instead, the board declares the entire 19-block north end, quote, "an area
in need of rehabilitation." Now, that doesn`t mean that it`s impossible
for the Rockefeller group to get what it wants. It`s just another signal
that Zimmer`s team isn`t going to roll over for them. That`s what passes
the planning board on May 8th.
And now, here`s what this all has been building toward where Chris
Christie, himself, comes in, because here`s the other thing that was
happening while the Wolff and Samson crew, while David Samson`s crew was
pushing for the Rockefeller project in Hoboken. As all of that was playing
out early last year, Mayor Zimmer was applying for funding from what is
called the hazard mitigation grant program.
It`s a huge vault of money overseen by Christie to help communities hit
hard by Sandy to prepare themselves for the next storm. And remember,
right after Sandy hit in Hoboken`s darkest hour, Christi came to town and
pledged and promised residents they could count on him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JSERSEY: I spoke to the mayor this morning
and told her that Hoboken is in the front of my mind. And whenever there`s
any assistance that needed here, we will be here to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, it was in the wake of that visit from the governor that
Hoboken officials submitted seven letters of intent, asking for around $100
million in funds from programs the state was now running. The city was
asking for storm surge coastal protection, money to buy properties to be
used as open space, money for backup generators, these sorts of things.
Remember, this is a city that was 80 percent under water during Sandy.
There`s also a vital economic and transportation hub in North Jersey.
Mayor Zimmer was applying for this money, this federal money, that Christie
controlled as the Rockefeller issue was coming to a head, as Wolff and
Samson, the law firm of the chairman of the Port Authority was cranking up
the heat. And she seemed to be getting nowhere.
The city filed its reports and made its claim and Christie`s people came
back with less than one percent of what Hoboken had asked for. The state
had $250 million to disperse. They gave Hoboken just $142,000. That`s
enough to help defray the cost of one, one backup generator to power a
flood pump (ph). The state also had another pool of money for recovery
grants, $1.8 billion in all there.
Hoboken got $200,000. It was enough to do a study. "Please governor,"
Zimmer wrote in the letter when these decisions came down, "We need your
help. I have tried to assure Hoboken residents that we would be treated
fairly because you have always treated Hoboken fairly in the past."
Zimmer says there was no response to that letter, but note the date, May
8th of last year. That was the same day the Hoboken planning board did not
adopt the redevelopment recommendation for the Rockefeller property. And
then, the lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, wanted to come to town to do
an event at a shop right, to promote how businesses had been covered (ph)
from the storm.
So, they set that up. And on May 15th, there they were. Kim Guadagno, the
lieutenant governor of New Jersey and Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken at
the Hoboken shop right. You can see them in the picture there. And Zimmer
has told us that Guadagno pulled her aside during that visit and delivered
a message to her. If you want that Sandy money, you need to get that
Rockefeller project moving because it`s very important to the governor.
That`s what Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken, told us that Kim Guadagno
told her that day. And she`s not just saying it to us now, because she
says when it happened, she was so shocked that she wrote it down in her
personal diary which she has shared with us. And here is how she describes
the threat Guadagno made in an entry.
In that diary dated May 17th, quoting from it, "At the end of the big tour
and shop right in meeting, she pulls me aside with no one else around and
says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project. It is very
important to the governor. The word is that you are against it and you
need to move it forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know
it`s not right. These things should not be connected, but they are," she
says. "And if you tell anyone I said that, I will deny it."
This is what the mayor of Hoboken says Chris Christie`s lieutenant governor
told her that day. Zimmer`s diary entry goes on to add that Guadagno told
her, quote, "I don`t know all the details, but I was with the governor on
Friday night and all I know is that the impression is that you are against
this project and you have to move it forward."
Zimmer tells a second story in that May 17th entry. It`s about an
accounting that had taken place the night before on May 16th of last year
with a man named Richard Constable. He had replaced Lori Grifa as
Christie`s commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. He`s in
Christie`s cabinet, and they were sitting on stage together for a public
television special on Sandy recovery.
It`s a bunch of leaders from New Jersey onstage at Monmouth University.
You can see them right there. You can see Dawn Zimmer sitting next to
Constable and this is what Zimmer writes happened.
From her diary, "We are mic`d up with other panelists all around us and
probably the sound team is listening and he says, I hear you are against
the Rockefeller Project. I reply, I am not against the Rockefeller
Project. In fact, I want more commercial development in Hoboken. Oh
really? Everyone in the state house believes you are against it. The buzz
is that you are against it. If you move that forward, the money would
start flowing to you, he tells me."
Zimmer`s words, her handwritten words, convey a starkly human reaction to
all of this. She writes, "I was emotional about Governor Christie. I
thought he was honest. I thought he was moral. I thought he was something
very different. This week, I find out he`s cut from the same corrupt cloth
that I`ve been fighting for the last four years. I`m so disappointed. It
literally brings tears to my eyes. I thought he was something different.
It all came crashing down over the last week."
And there`s this, "My beloved governor who wants to run for president, I
cannot understand it. Why is he so concerned about Rockefeller? What has
he promised them? What have they promised him? I cannot figure it out,
but I have no option but to stand up to him. You have to move it forward."
That`s what Dawn Zimmer says Chris Christie`s lieutenant governor told her
about the Rockefeller plan."
Now, think back to the very beginning in the segment, to that massive
corruption takedown in 2009 that snared the last mayor of Hoboken. "Make
sure you expedite my stuff" is what the undercover developer had told Pete
Cammarano in exchange for that illegal campaign cash. When Pete Cammarano
said yes to that in 2009 and when a bunch of other New Jersey politicians
did too, it helped make Chris Christie governor.
And now, we have the mayor of Hoboken saying and providing months old diary
entries that say that high ranking members of Chris Christie`s
administration told her you have to move it forward. You have to move that
Rockefeller development project forward. You have to expedite it if you
want to get your Sandy money. That was last May. Now, here we are in
January 2014, the Rockefeller Project still isn`t moving forward.
The Hoboken still doesn`t have the Sandy money it desperately needs. But
now, Dawn Zimmer is speaking out in a story she`s told us and the documents
we`ve obtained offered disturbing portrait of how and why Chris Christie`s
administration exercises his power. It was his administration that put
Hoboken in touch with the Port Authority to get the money from that
redevelopment study that the Rockefeller group wanted.
It`s the Port Authority that is now chaired by David Samson whose law firm
represents the Rockefeller Group. And according to the mayor of Hoboken,
it`s the Christie administration that is trying to use Sandy funds as a
lever to compel her to give the Rockefeller Group what it wants, to give
David Samson`s firm what it wants.
Does this bring us any closer to knowing why Christie`s team at the Port
Authority shut down all those bridge lanes? Well, it might, because if
what Dawn Zimmer says is true, it shows how the Christie administration and
the New Jersey side of the Port Authority can team up to serve each other`s
political and financial interests even if it means denying Sandy funds to a
city that desperately needs them in order to help out a developer.
We have contacted all of the parties involved here. We will have their
responses and the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, is going to join us live
at this table right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back and here with me now is the mayor of
Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, who just spent a lot of time explaining what she says
has been happening to her city and that according to the mayor, top
officials in the Chris Christie administration have told her that her city
will only receive critical Sandy relief funds if she expedites a
redevelopment project in North Hoboken.
It`s her conversations -- excuse me -- that she says took place in May
2013. And Mayor Zimmer did not then and has not since given her approval
for the project. Hoboken still has yet to receive any of the more than
$100 million the city has asked for, anything more than the $342,000 it`s
gotten at least that`s enough for one generator and one study. Again, this
is out of more than $100 million requested.
We have invited all of the government officials involved in our previous
segment who we mentioned on to the program this morning. They have
declined, but there are responses that they have sent us. We`re going to
show those right now.
This is from Governor Christie`s spokesperson, Michael Drewniak, speaking
on behalf of both the governor and lieutenant governor, quote, "Mayor
Zimmer has been effusive in her public praise of the governor`s office and
the assistance we provided in terms of economic development in Sandy aide.
What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things
is anyone`s guess."
And here`s now a response from the commissioner of the Department -- the
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Richard Constable. "You say
that when the two of you shared stage at a televised event in May of 2013,
just before that event started, he told you -- sorry. Here it is. I --
I`m sorry. This is the statement from Constable. "I doubt that Mayor
Zimmer would say such a thing because that statement is categorically
false." That is what Richard Constable told us.
And the governor`s office also told us they were particularly surprised to
hear from Mayor Zimmer`s charges given the positive things she has said
about the governor after the conversation she has described that allegedly
The mayor tweeted in August of last year, for instance, when the governor
was running for reelection that "To be clear, I am very glad Governor
Christie has been our governor. I am not endorsing because of (INAUDIBLE)
nonpartisan mayoral race." And another one from the same day, "He has done
a great job for NJ and Hoboken. We have a nonpartisan mayoral election on
So, Mayor Zimmer, thank you for joining us. There is so much to get into
here. I guess, I`ll just start with the basic response from the Christie
administration that they`re giving, you know, she says in these diary
She`s told, you know, Steve`s show that her Sandy relief was tied directly
to this Rockefeller Project and if she`s so outraged by this in early 2013
and yet here she is, in the middle of 2013, tweeting favorable things
about, you know, Christie`s been good for New Jersey, good for Hoboken.
How can you believe her if she`s saying those nice things then and this
terrible thing happened before?
MAYOR DAWN ZIMMER, (D) HOBOKEN, NJ: Well, I mean, of course, I`m thankful
for every penny that we receive for Hoboken. Our city was completely
devastated. So, I mean, I`m thankful for whatever we received. But the
fact is that the lieutenant governor came to Hoboken, she pulled me aside
in the parking lot, and she said, "I know it`s not right. I know these
things should not be connected, but they are and if you tell anyone, I`ll
I mean, the bottom line is, it`s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy
funds hostage for the city of Hoboken because he wants me to give back to
one private developer. And it`s important that -- I know it`s very
complicated for the public to really understand all of this. But I have a
legal obligation to follow the law, to bring balanced development to
Hoboken. We have we`re one square mile.
And we`re the fourth largest densely populated city in the country, so we
have to look very careful -- carefully at these things. The Rockefeller
group, they own four acres. There`s another property owner that owns nine
acres. So, I cannot give a wind fall to one property owner because the
governor wants me to in exchange for the Sandy funds. So, I`ll tell you, I
feel like I`m literally between a rock and a hard place.
KORNACKI: So, what about the question of timing. I think another
skeptical question that might be asked here is, again, this happened --
the draft report came back in Januar,y but the threats came in May of 2013
or now in January of 2014. Why come forward now and not before now?
ZIMMER: Well, I probably should have come forward then. This is probably
the hardest thing that I`ve ever done. So, I probably should have come
forward, but I literally feel like we -- I have to act in the best interest
of Hoboken and we are still at risk of not getting -- there`s another --
funding coming through and we`re not going to get it, unless, I move
forward with the Rockefeller plan which they`re asking for one and a half
to two million square feet.
They`re asking us for -- for us to focus just on their area, not on the
rest of the plan. And, so, you know, my choices are -- let me just walk
you through my choices. My choices are to like, you know, keep saying,
listen I got to bring balanced development. I got to follow law. Well,
we`re at risk of not getting Sandy funding. We`ve really virtually gotten
no Sandy funding.
So, we`re at risk of not getting any more Sandy funding. You know, we got
300,000 or if I play along and try to, you know, get the plan -- not that
that would necessarily be possible and ethically I couldn`t do it but say I
could play along, well, it`s going to be -- you know, so that would
actually mean I`m giving a windfall to one private property owner that the
governor wants me to do that.
And, then, you know who`s going to be on line? It`s going to be the city
of Hoboken. It`s going to be Dawn Zimmer who`s going to be on the line.
We will be completely exposed. We will be having to -- in a court case
immediately, immediately will be -- and I will have to testify. Am I going
to stand on the stand and lie? I can`t. I know what`s going on here. I
know that I received a direct message. I know that the Christie
administration is connecting the Sandy funds to this Rockefeller project.
KORNACKI: And why? Have they given you any indication why Rockefeller
matters so much to them?
ZIMMER: I don`t -- to be honest, I still don`t understand. I just know
that there`s this -- I know that there`s been pressure all along. I don`t
quite understand like why he would do this. I mean -- but I know -- what I
do know is that lieutenant governor, she came, you don`t forget when the
lieutenant governor of the state of New Jersey pull you aside in a parking
lot and says "I know it`s not right. "I know these things should not be
connected, but they are and if you tell anyone, I`ll deny it," you remember
KORNACKI: You know what, I`m just curious -- in that moment, what do you
say? What did you say back to her? What would you say back to Constable?
ZIMMER: Well, I mean, what I said back at the time was, "is anyone else
being required?" "Is any other town being required to do development in
exchange for help of the flooding?" And her answer was, "well, the shore
brings in $38 billion in revenue." I mean, just to be clear, I mean, I do
support -- I do want to bring, you know, commercial development to Hoboken,
but we have to be very careful with how we do it in part because we have
We want to address our flooding issues, but we also have major
transportation challenges. The north end of Hoboken, there`s only two
small bridges into our city and it`s already backed up. And the residents
are already concerned about the level of development. So, if I was to give
the Rockefeller Group the two million square feet that they want, what am I
going to give, you know, the other property owners, the other property
owner that owns nine million square feet?
I mean, right now, we have a plan with New Jersey Transit where we`re
proposing two million square feet at the south end of Hoboken. That`s
where it makes more sense.
KORNACKI: And that`s amazing. People -- you know, I used to live in
Hoboken for a few years and if people aren`t familiar with the city, we say
densely packed, densely populated. See, this is a one square mile city
with 50,000 people where, you know, space is really at a premium in the
I want to take a quick break here. We`re going to come back with the mayor
and we`re going to talk a little bit more about what exactly not having the
Sandy you`ve request has meant (Ph) and what avenues you have right now to
actually get the money your city needs, because if there`s no other Sandy
tomorrow, Hoboken is just as exposed as it was before. So, we`re going to
talk about that right after this.
KORNACKI: I just want to get one other statement in here before we
continue with the mayor. This is from the Rockefeller Group. And again,
nothing in our reporting suggests that the Rockefeller Group, itself, is
doing anything wrong here, but they`re caught up in the story. The
statement from them was that, "We have no knowledge of any information
pertaining to this investigation. If it turns out to be true, it would be
deplorable." That`s from the Rockefeller Group.
Mayor Zimmer, I want to continue with you. First of all, we showed some of
your journal entries. You actually -- you brought your journal with you
today just to show people this is not -- you didn`t just scribble a few
pages together and we can say, oh, this is from last May. I mean, this is
-- you can show it, maybe hold it up there. This is a real actual journal,
you know, and you`ve shown it to us off the air that you keep.
ZIMMER: Right. I mean, you know, the bottom line is the facts are this.
I mean, the lieutenant governor came to Hoboken and she said to me, her
words were, "If you tell anyone, I`ll deny it." Well, of course, they`re
denying it. And you know, and the bottom line is she said, you know,
basically, it`s connected. The Sandy funding, it`s being held hostage for
the city of Hoboken. It`s connected to the Rockefeller Group project.
She said that very clearly. And she said, you know, if you don`t move
ahead, we`re not going to be able to help you. Well, we`ve barely gotten
any money. I wrote in my journal at the time because I was totally -- I
mean, was so upset. I couldn`t believe what she was saying to me. And
this journal entry, I mean, you know, I talk about my father, my father
passed away the month before so it starts with me talking about my father.
I talk about everything with Governor Christie and what`s happened here,
and then it ends with me talking about my husband and how much I love him.
I mean, so -- you know, I`d be more than willing to testify under oath and
answer any questions and provide any documents, take a lie detector test.
You know, my question back to them is, "Would all of you? Would all of you
be willing to do that same thing, to testify under oath, to take a lie
KORNACKI: And another piece of this, too, is I think people watching the
show nationally now, because this is becoming national scandal. They look
at Christie is in trouble. This is the Democratic mayor of Hoboken. Of
course, the Democratic mayor is going to, you know, say something critical
Democrat versus Republican, but I think the key point here, maybe you can
speak to this is your relationship with Chris Christie politically was very
much, you know, he talks about building bridges to the other party. You
were very much representative of that for you first few years as mayor.
This was a real partnership.
ZIMMER: Yes. I mean, I think he`s done great things for the state of New
Jersey. I was, I think, the first Democrat to stand behind him on the two
percent tax cut and I think it`s done a lot. You know, it`s done a lot for
Hoboken. It`s done a lot for the state. Health care reform, arbitration
reform. Arbitration reform definitely helped Hoboken in our negotiations
with the unions.
It`s made a difference. And his administration helped us tremendously with
saving our hospital, Hoboken Medical Center. It was going bankrupt and the
governor was there for us. So, believe me, that`s part of the reason that
this is a very difficult choice to come forward. The reality is for me
that, you know, he got more votes than I did in Hoboken and I would say
most of my supporters support Governor Christie.
So, my supporters are going to be -- they`re going to be stunned and I
understand that. But I hope they`ll understand that I have no choice. We
have to make sure that we get some of this Sandy funding. We are totally
exposed and we need some of these funding. And with the Rockefeller Group,
what they want me to do, what the governor is pressuring me to do, I can`t
do that. I have no choice but to come forward and share what`s happening.
KORNACKI: So, do you hope, A, that by coming forward, there can be --
because there`s this second pot of money that Christie now got from --
grant money community development, block grant money, are you hoping that
by coming forward, the administration might in a way be shamed into giving
you some of that or is there any other avenue you`re looking at to get the
money to prepare Hoboken for another storm?
ZIMMER: We`ve been working very hard, and that was actually part of our
application. We have a comprehensive plan to protect Hoboken. We`ve been
hard -- part of the Secretary Don -- HUD Secretary Donovan. We build by
design competition and we`ve now got an international team including a
couple of Dutch firms working with us to create a comprehensive plan that
could truly protect the entire city.
It will benefit New Jersey transit. It will benefit the Port Authority,
when you look at that image of the water rushing down into the elevator.
Our plan would help to protect them. Our plan would help to protect all
Hoboken residence, all Hoboken businesses. Our hospital that was severely
flooded, North Hudson sewage authority, our substation. I mean, the
benefit would be tremendous.
So, part of what I`m hoping comes out of this by coming forward is to say,
governor, please, support this rebuild by design competition. Come
forward. Fully support us. Give it your very direct endorsement and
understand, governor, that we have to make -- when we`re making our
development decisions, we have some real challenges and we have to do it in
a very balanced way.
We have to be fair to all of the property owners. We have to look, not
only, at the flooding issues, but we have to look at the transportation
challenges. And I cannot give a wind fall to one private property owner
because the governor and other people want me to do that. I cannot do it.
KORNACKI: All right. Hoboken mayor, Dawn Zimmer, it is extraordinary
story you`ve brought to us today. I do not think we`re going to hear the
last of it. I think we`re going to hear a lot about this going forward. I
thank you for sharing your story with us today. Appreciate it.
Up next, the federal side of this, New Jersey congressman who`s been
raising questions about how Chris Christie has been using Sandy money.
We`re going to talk to him about that and about what he and all of you just
heard. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, the Jersey Shore is open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like the word is spreading.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re stronger than the storm and open for everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Be right back with Congressman Frank Pallone who is calling for
an investigation into those ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FRANK PALLONE, (D) NEW JERSEY: I think that running those ads in the
context of a political campaign paid for with federal dollars that was a
block grant that could have been used for homeowners and others, you know,
is a serious question here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: New Jersey congressman, Frank Pallone, who represents part of
the Jersey Shore on Monday night talking about those expensive and
federally funded stronger than the storm ads last year featuring Governor
Chris Christie and his family. That aired while Christie was campaigning
Pallone announced this week that the inspector general and the Department
of Housing Urban Development is launching an audit of New Jersey`s use of
federal aid money for that marketing campaign.
And now, I want to welcome Congressman Frank Pallone to our studio. And
congressman, I just want to start with what we heard at the start of the
show from the mayor of Hoboken about how she thinks that Sandy aid to her
city has been linked to a development deal. You`re looking at the aspect
of this ad, but does this change at all the scope of what you might be
PALLONE: Well, I think this is part of abuse of power, and you know, this
culture of abuse of power that I was concerned about in the governor`s
office. And I think what the mayor said, what Mayor Zimmer said, you know,
kind of indicates the same thing. So, clearly, this is something that the
U.S. attorney should be looking at and has to be further investigated.
KORNACKI: So, the piece that you`re looking at then is -- it was a $25
million media campaign that the federal government paid for it, post-storm,
and two million of that went to these ads like we just saw featuring Chris
Christie. Where would you -- what would you what like to see come out of
this investigation --
PALLONE: Well, the concern I have is that they did not choose the lower
bidder. They chose the higher bidder and it was an extra $2 million, if
you will, because they agreed to put Governor Christie in the ad. And so,
what you`re saying again is the governor`s office or the governor`s
administration trying to do whatever they can, you know, to get reelected
whether it`s a threat or it`s, you know, bullying or whatever it is.
And that has to be investigated. You know, in some ways, it isn`t that
different, although, I have to say that what Mayor Zimmer said is much more
shocking and deplorable. So, you know, this has got to be looked at. This
is very serious.
KORNACKI: And what -- so take us through like if the inspector general at
HUD is reviewing this and finds this was an inappropriate use, what would
the penalty be --
PALLONE: Yes. I assume they may have to pay back the money or they might
be other penalties, although, I don`t know for sure. We`re waiting for a
report from the inspector general over the next few months, and you know,
to see what exactly their opinion is on it.
KORNACKI: This entire -- you know, you have the state assembly has the
special committee that`s now put, you know, 20, 24 subpoenas, something
like this. The state Senate committee may be getting into the action.
We`re a little unclear what`s going on there. I`m just curious where you
think when we talk about the bridge issue in New Jersey right now, just
watching it and obviously being a player in New Jersey politics. Where do
you think that is heading?
PALLONE: I think that the concern that we all have is what I call abuse of
power or, you know, culture of corruption, whatever you want to call it,
and you know, whether or not people were being threatened or they were
being bullied, if you will, to either, you know, put on ads with the
governor appearing in it or making deals like Mayor Zimmer said or, you
know, stopping traffic at the GW bridge because there wasn`t an endorsement
or whatever reason was behind that.
And you know, this is the type of abuse of power that has to be stopped.
We can`t have governor`s office or any elected official using their power
in that way in order to achieve other ends. It`s just not right. And I
don`t think it`s at all typical of New Jersey, in my opinion.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to take Congressman Frank Pallone for coming
in today. We have more on the new information that we`ve brought you this
morning. That is straight ahead.
KORNACKI: OK. We hit you with a lot this hour. We`re going to try to
digest it with our panel and we`ll tell you a little bit more about one of
the central characters in all of this. It`s coming up.
KORNACKI: So I know we hit you with a lot in that last hour. We`re going
to have some time here to breathe and take it all over with our panel.
But let`s just remind you of the basics of what we reported last hour. The
mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, says that two of the highest ranking
Christie administrator members explicitly told her that her city`s badly
needed Sandy relief money is being held up because she is not moving
forward on a development project in town.
As we told you, the developer of that project is represented by a law firm
called Wolff & Samson. One of the founding partners in that firm and still
a partner in that firm is David Samson. He`s a former state attorney
general. He`s now the chairman of the Port Authority, a job he was
appointed to by Chris Christie.
Now, if you`re watching this show outside New Jersey, you probably hadn`t
heard the name David Samson until about 10 days ago when it popped up in
those two waves of subpoenaed documents that blew this whole story wide
open. In his press conference last week, Christie was adamant that Samson
had not been part of any wrongdoing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I sat and met for two hours yesterday
with Mr. Samson, General Samson. And again I`m confident that he had no
knowledge of this based upon our conversations, and his review of his
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: David Samson himself had this to say last week. "I`m extremely
upset and distressed over today`s disclosures. To be clear, neither I nor
anyone on the board had any knowledge of these lane closures until the
receipt of executive director Pat Foye`s e-mail. We expect to get a
complete picture as a result of the Port Authority inspector general
investigation which commenced a few weeks ago. And thereafter, we`ll take
But the revelations from David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, the two Christie
appointees at the Port Authority who resigned in December, revelations from
their subpoenaed records raise questions about Samson`s role in the bridge
For instance, back in September -- on September 13th, as the closures were
in full effect, the Port Authority`s executive director Pat Foye, an
appointee of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fired off a furious e-mail
that called the closures a potential violation of state and federal law.
That prompted Wildstein to write to Bridget Kelly, Christie`s deputy chief
of staff at the time, that, quote, "The New York said gave Fort Lee back
all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson
helping us to retaliate."
About a week after that, the documents show Samson internally slamming Foye
because of the news coverage generated about the lane closures. Quote,
"This is yet another example of a story. We`ve seen it before where he,"
this is Foye, "distances himself from an issue in the press and rides in on
a white horse to save the day. If you need prior examples, I will provide.
In this case, he`s playing in traffic. Made a big mistake."
Since his name is popping so much, we thought we`d tell you a little bit
more about David Samson. He`s the man who`s both the chairman of the Port
Authority and the head of one of the state`s most powerful and politically
influential law firms, also one of Christie`s closest allies. David Samson
is a long time fixture in New Jersey politics. He`s respected elder among
both Republicans and many Democrats. He served governors from both
In the `80s, he was general counsel to the New Jersey turnpike authority
under Republican Governor Tom Kean Sr. Kean was one of Christie`s mentors,
but they had a falling out recently. Samson also served under Kean`s
Democratic successor, that`s Jim Florio. Samson became a member of the
governor`s commission on health care cost. He even served for a year as
the state`s attorney general in 2002 under another Democrat, Jim McGreevey.
Maybe you remember him.
But it was his connection to one man that really made Samson into the power
player he is today. In 2007 interview, then-U.S. attorney Chris Christie
hailed as one of his major influences in public life, David Samson. Quote,
"I`ve gotten to know him now for the last years. He`s been a major
contributor to me in terms of the way you conduct yourself and carry
yourself in public office as a lawyer."
2009, Samson became general counsel for the Christie for governor campaign
in New Jersey. Then, he became chairman of the transition committee.
After Christie won, he presided over the inauguration, too. And finally in
February 2011, with Christie`s support, he became the new chairman of the
New York/New Jersey port authority.
Christie years haven`t just been good for David Samson`s professional
reputation, along with other Christie friendly legal firms, Wolff & Samson,
his firm, has enjoyed an upsurge in state business. In the first two years
of the Christie era, they`ve doubled their state contracts alone, up to
$1.9 million. And in the firm`s own public disclosure forms, reports total
business with governmental entities across New Jersey of $3.5 million in
2011, and over $4.9 million in 2012.
For example, there was $650,000 deal in 2010 to advise New Jersey Transit
on development and selling off their real estate holdings. And just last
year, Wolff & Samson were crucial players for a private consortium which
hired them to help lobby and negotiate a contract to privatize the
operation of the state lottery.
There is also something of revolving door between the Chris Christie
administration and Samson`s firm. Jeff Chiesa, who went from Christie`s
U.S. attorney`s office over to Wolff & Samson, then became Christie`s chief
counsel, then the state attorney general, then was appointed last spring by
Christie to be the state`s interim U.S. senator. And then when that was
done, he went back to Wolff & Samson.
Patrick O`Reilly, who went from Wolff & Samson to becoming senior adviser
to David Samson at the Port Authority, and recently back to Wolff & Samson.
There`s also Lori Grifa, her name came up last hour. She left the firm to
join Christie`s cabinet as commissioner of the community affairs department
for two years. Then, she went back to Wolff & Samson.
So this scandal could have the potential to go far beyond just a traffic
jam at one bridge and go instead into the whole power structure of the
governor`s office and the politics of New Jersey itself.
We`re going the talk about all of it now with our panel. And we have Brian
Murphy. He`s a one-time New Jersey politics reporter, now at Baruch
College, who we`ve been talking about a lot with this story.
We have and I`m very excited about this. We have veteran New Jersey
reporter, Michael Aron. He`s the chief political correspondent with NJTV
News, one of the first people to put me on television when I was covering
New Jersey few years back. I still appreciate that.
We have Josh Barro, he`s a politics editor with "Business Insider". Dafna
Linzer, managing editor at MSNBC.com.
OK. A lot of that introduction there, a lot in the hour before this.
Michael, just as somebody who has seen his share of scandals and explosive
only in New Jersey type of stories, I just wonder what you make of the
story you heard from Dawn Zimmer in that first hour.
MICHAEL ARON, NJTV NEWS: First of all I want to say it`s an extraordinary
piece of journalism. You were a talent when I first put you on television
and you still are.
KORNACKI: Now you know why we invited you today.
ARON: The production of the piece as a craftsman, I`m almost in awe of it.
That said, I`m not sure what it all adds up to other than politics, I think
not just in New Jersey but everyone where works this way, that if you want
to get something done, you hire a politically connected law firms to help
you get things done.
You`re rendering of David Samson`s career just there was terrific. I`m
glad you got all of that out there. But there`s nothing to suggest David
Samson has done anything wrong, and yet here his name and face are on
national television over and over again.
It`s difficult to ascribe guilt to someone based on what happens every day
of the week at the local level, at the state level, at the national level.
What you did was a terrific story about juice and how political juice
works. I`m not sure that it amounts to more than that.
KORNACKI: Well, I guess -- I guess, Brian, when you look at -- what
Michael is saying is true. There is this certain -- you know, this is sort
of how the levers of power work in New Jersey. You have leverage and you
use it. I guess two of the things that stand out at me when I look at what
the story that Mayor Zimmer told as one, to use Sandy money --
BRIAN MURPHY, BARUCH COLLEGE: Right.
KORNACKI: To use Sandy money as a lever I think would strike people, even
accepting for a certain amount of the governor is going to use whatever
leverage he has to use Sandy money as leverage I think might strike people
as a little unseemly.
We`re not -- nothing that we showed in the first hour and I don`t think
anything that the mayor herself put out there shows any allegation of
direct, you know, rule-breaking by David Samson. But it`s just the fact of
when you look at his law firm is pushing to get this development deal in
And his name is popping on these e-mails. He`s copied on these emails.
They`re trying to get him on the phone. And it`s sort of the psychology of
that, right? If you`re the mayor of that town, if you`re the development
attorney in Hoboken and the chairman of the Port Authority, and close
Christie friend and being copied on these emails and they`re trying to --
it does -- I`m the first to say I agree that the line in politics can often
be gray. But sometimes it isn`t so hard to say you`re on the other side of
MURPHY: I think there are a few pieces here, right? The one you get to is
that we don`t normally -- people don`t know who David Samson is because
that`s the way it`s supposed to work. If this works effectively, this
whole -- the economy of influence can be invisible and you never hear about
the people who actually hold the reins. You never hear about the people
who are really powerful.
And they`re also treated with an incredible amount of deference, right? I
mean, David Samson is kind of like the James A. Baker III of New Jersey.
KORNACKI: We saw it in that press conference. Christie stops himself, he
said, General Samson.
MURPHY: That`s right.
MURPHY: That always, that jumped out of me in the released documents right
away. They call him general. This is a man who is the attorney general of
New Jersey. That`s great.
But, you know, General Samson, people are still calling him that 10 years
later. The amount of deference and the amount of influence that he wields,
people just can`t -- you see that in the e-mail from the planning attorney
in Hoboken. He doesn`t want to get caught in having a meeting with the
port authority chairman because he can`t say no in that situation. He
can`t afford to, right?
Hoboken has too much business with the port, they`re too big a player in
the port. You simply can`t say no in a meeting like that so you never want
to get caught in being set up into having one. This is not a meeting
between -- he realizes, right, this is not a meeting between him and Lori
Grifa. She`s arranging a meeting between him and David Samson. And he
cannot be -- he cannot be put in that spot.
KORNACKI: I`m just wondering, what -- you`ve been watching this story
closely. What do you make of it?
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, so, a funny thing is kind of this use
of the levers of power to force people into political decisions is kind of
what Chris Christie has been celebrated for nationally over the last four
years. He talks about having this record of bipartisan achievement which
He`s had arguably, it`s been easier for him to get budgets through the
state legislature than it was for Governor Corzine, he is working with the
legislature of the same party system. He got a major reform done of public
employee pensions, and various things related to state and local government
It`s been a big media record and he`s gotten that done by figuring out what
are all of the pours of the governor`s office and what are all of the
things I can do to put pressure on people in the legislature, on municipal
officials, on people at authorities. He`s been very good at that.
And part of what`s gone wrong in Washington over this period is that all of
the people in power there has lost the ability to do this. Speaker John
Boehner can`t get any of this sort of pressure on members of his own
caucus, the president can`t put this sort of pressure on people.
So, when Christie talks about New Jersey showing an example of politics is
working, this is more or less been the way in which politics has been
working in New Jersey.
KORNACKI: I guess, Dafna, it sort of -- the two questions that stand out
to me is accepting what Josh is saying there, is Sandy aide is something
that should be off limits as a lever of power.
And second, what we don`t know and what the major says, she doesn`t know is
why is he using this lever of power on this project? Is it that he -- is
this the Christie administration saying this is a vital project to the
future of Hoboken and North Jersey, and they generally have an interest in
it? Or this, you know, David Samson`s firm represents this and we want
David, you know, that`s what we`re not sure.
Do not be confused about the levers of power. That`s not what the story is
about. The story is about a city, 80 percent of which was under water in
October of 2012. They sought money for Sandy aid. They had good reason to
get it and they did not get it.
What they got was less than 1 percent of what they asked for. To get
$142,000 for a backup generator for this town -- and as the mayor said, one
of the most densely populated towns in this country. This stands on the
mouth of the Hudson River. That`s what this story is about. I think
somebody like David Samson, I think Brian is right, it is illogical that he
would have been CC`d on these e-mails.
That is driving home a point of influence. That is a frightening people
who are involved in the process. That is using the name and the power and
the authority of somebody who has no place in this process. I don`t even
understand how he got on to the e-mails or why he was there.
Just because his firm was representing the developer doesn`t mean that he
should be on there. He`s running the port authority. He`s got another job
right now. So, I think that`s what this story is about and people should
not be confused about how Christie works or, you know, what he`s doing,
what they really need to understand is that people who needed Sandy relief
weren`t going to get it as the mayor said, unless she said yes to a project
that Christie favor.
KORNACKI: Brian is looking to get in and he will as soon as we take a
break and then we`ll come right back with Brian.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Why come forward now and not before now?
MAYOR DAWN ZIMMER (D), HOBOKEN, NJ: Well, I probably should have come
forward then. This is probably the hardest thing that I`ve ever done. I
probably should have come forward. But I literally feel like we -- I
literally feel like we -- I have to act in the best interest of Hoboken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It`s Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on this show last hour. We`ve
been talking a little bit about it. I can get my words out here.
Brian, you were about to say at the end of last segment.
MURPHY: Yes, it`s jobs plan (ph). I was thinking, in some ways right, we
would expect politics to be about the expediency of temporary alliances.
But half the people in Hoboken take transit. It`s got the highest per
capita transit use of any municipality in the country, right?
You cannot afford to make an enemy of the Port Authority. You cannot. And
to be put in that position, I mean -- this is where this sort of not an
KORNACKI: The city of Hoboken itself, by its location, it`s mile square
city, you`ve got the Holland Tunnel right there, you`ve got the Lincoln
Tunnel right there, you`ve got the Palisades Cliffs right here, and you`ve
got Hudson River right here. So, it`s more than any other city in New
Jersey, it`s a unique place you can take an hour to drive in or you can
take the path train, you`re going to take the path train, you`re going to
take the engine train and buses in. You know, you`re not going to take --
most people are not going to be driving in or swimming across the river.
MURPHY: Right, they live and die based on the relationship with the Port
Authority which runs the path train. The Port Authority, the Transit
And the same -- you know, there`s a similar relationship that the Port
Authority has with the state of New Jersey, right? The reason that Chris
Christie has been able to build a lot of the alliances that he has is
because the port is doing a lot of work in Jersey right now that`s taken a
lot of budget items off the state`s back, right?
The reason he`s been able to have an easier time with this in some ways
with his budget which is not -- together, it has not been easy to begin
with and it wouldn`t be. But the port has made his life easier.
KORNACKI: And, can you -- Michael, can you speak to just, explain to
people looking at this from outside New Jersey and outside New York when
they hear the Port Authority and the George Washington Bridge and the
Lincoln Tunnel, these things that operate, they probably just think of it
in terms of yes, it`s this entity that takes your tolls and maybe they pay
to maintain the bridge or something.
The scope of what the Port Authority is involved in is massive. In terms
of -- there`s a number of people that work there. Remember, political who
were there. It`s kind of astounding.
ARON: John Wisniewski, who`s been on this network night after night --
KORNACKI: He`s getting a show next week --
ARON: -- for over a week, is fond of saying that the budget of the Port
Authority is larger than the budget of 26 states.
MURPHY: That`s right.
ARON: When I started in this game 30-something years ago, the Port
Authority was the most respected agency in the region. It was thought of
as highly professional.
Somehow, it`s come to either look like or actually be a nest of political
vipers that one of the things that came out in the hearing, the hearings in
the state legislature a month ago or several weeks ago was that the degree
to which the New York and the New Jersey appointee to the Port Authority
operate separately. They`re almost like rival teams.
I guess they`re struggling over who gets more resources. But it`s devolved
to a serious level where they`re at war with each other.
KORNACKI: Do you think that`s new? As somebody who`s cover this for a
number of administration, is it something you`ve seen gradually evolving
over time or is it new to the Christie administration?
ARON: I would say it`s new, or if it gradually evolved over time, we
didn`t become aware of it until a couple of years ago.
BARRO: I mean the weird thing about the Port Authority, it was established
like 90 years ago to actually oversee the port. And it`s had this mission
creep over the long period getting into a lot of businesses that it`s not
clear why a bi-state authority is it. It owns the World Trade Center, for
example. It runs all three of the airports in the New York area and it
runs the six crossings across the Hudson River which seems like a
reasonable thing for bi-state agency to do.
But it`s not surprising that it would devolve in this sort of political non
sense because bi-state authorities by their nature have poor
accountability, neither governor is totally accountable for what happens.
And it`s a sort of place where you can stick patronage appointees and you
can use it for political ends and most of the time, people won`t notice
because you don`t get a big blowup story like this with the traffic jam at
the George Washington Bridge.
And, in fact, if they hadn`t been so careless as to cause this problem that
lead to a national story, we wouldn`t be talking about this now and nobody
would have noticed. And so, one takeaway from that I think is that maybe
the Port Authority should have fewer responsibilities. No particular
reason why this bi-state public sector authority should own a large office
building in Lower Manhattan.
And so, maybe one of the positive things that come out of this is in New
York and New Jersey. Politicians can look at what is the Port Authority
doing, what is it doing that it`s possible using for inappropriate
political ends of however, and what -- how can we slim it down to a place
where it doesn`t cause so much trouble.
KORNACKI: I always remember aside from covering New Jersey, how many times
people would tell me, that you`d have different kind of ambitious
politicians in New Jersey. There`d be like the assemblyman who wants to be
state senator and a congressman and then run for president or something
like that, that kind of ambition.
Then there`d be like the freeholder of the assemblyman who`d say, you know
what my dream job is, deputy executive director of the Port Authority,
because you get $289,000 a year. They give you housing in Manhattan. You
have free travel across -- it was the ultimate perk in New Jersey.
ARON: What one of the most prestigious appointments to New Jersey is to
the unpaid board of the Port Authority and the chairmanship of the Port
Authority has always been -- there`s a man named Dick Leon who was once a
chairman. He had been the state treasurer under Brendan Burns (ph) in the
`70s, one of the smartest guys around in terms of public policy and many
It`s -- it was prestigious. It`s a shame that it`s being dragged down so -
- I can`t imagine what life is like for Port Authority professionals this
KORNACKI: Yes. And we got a taste of it at those hearings. You had a
Port Authority professional who was afraid to testify, fully clearly
intimidated by the superiors.
Anyway, we have one more segment. I want to pick it up after this, talk a
little bit more about some of the other news in the investigation this week
and where it`s all going. We`re going to pick it up right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZIMMER: I`d be more than willing to testify under oath and answer any
questions and provide any documents, take a lie detector test.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Again, a little bit more of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer in our
conversation last hour. Again, we should reiterate, we contacted Governor
Christy`s office. We contacted Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno`s office.
We contacted Richard Constable, the commissioner of the Department of
Community Affairs, and they all deny this. They have all strenuously
We should also point out, by the way. I think Chris Christie is out of the
state of New Jersey, in Florida, which makes Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant
governor we mentioned last hour, the acting governor of the state of New
Jersey. So the story we did this morning was technically about the acting
governor of New Jersey. So, it`s a little bit of New Jersey trivia there I
But, Dafna, the other news this week in this whole story is -- a wave of
subpoenas from the assembly committee in New Jersey looking into this.
Twenty, 24 subpoenas, something like this, went out to all sorts of people
and all sorts of entities. It looks like we`re not going to hear back if
we hear back at all until February 3rd.
But what`s your sense of the direction that the story is going in right
LINZER: Well, for Chris Christie it`s going in the direction for fund-
raising for friends in Florida, which is where he is this weekend, not
here, not in New Jersey, and not dealing with this.
And I was sort of surprised by the response from his office to Mary
Zimmer`s remarks, again, not a big demonstration of looking into what her
I think for Christie`s office, you know, things are not headed in a good
direction. I think things are getting larger. There are state and federal
inquiries into his office and into the work of his former senior officials
around him. I think that the raft of subpoenas should be very concerning
to him. He seems quite happy to be out of town.
KORNACKI: So, Josh, what about national Republicans. This is -- this was
supposed to be, you know, a few months ago this was supposed to be the
first of many great Chris Christie barnstorming the nation tours. Is that
something he has to rethink right now and stay closer? I mean, I just want
the long standing commitment, but --
BARRO: Well, I think for one thing, I think he`s trying to lay low. And
so, I think that he`s not going to do any sort of national media tours any
I think it`s a mixed bag for national Republicans. A lot of them didn`t
like him to begin with. And so, they`re sort of celebrating this. And
then I think for those who were fans of Chris Christie, this really
deteriorates his brand, because again, the thing he was running on was I`m
a different kind of leader, I`m able to bring people together, thing are
working here that they`re not work in other states.
This is, you know, showing people to some extent, how the sausage is made,
but also showing that it can go really off the rails if you have an
administration that is built around using the levers of influence, you
and/or your people are likely to get carried away and do things that are
totally inappropriate in that process. So, I think it`s really harmed part
of the argument that he had to advance about why he would make a good
That said I think the people who are in the Christie camp national, so far,
still seem to be there. I think that there`s a sense that they can ride
the story out. People nationally will not obsess if for that long over a
story about a traffic jam over a bridge in New York and New Jersey.
But I think where the damage is going to come, is not that people
intrinsically really care about this specific story around the country.
It`s that when he is running for president in a primary and general
election, this will be a very easy hook for his opponents to use to talk
about why he would not be a good president.
LINZER: I was going to talk about, Steve, which is two things. One is I
think today`s story I think changes the game a little bit because we had
one story that was just dealing with the bridge. Now, we have a mayor
coming out very credible, you know, with a completely new story, new
experience with the governor.
I think, you know, if you`re in the Christie camp, I`ll bet that you paid a
lot of attention to a lead editorial in the "New Hampshire Union Leader"
this week that said New Hampshire voters, Republican primary voters care
very much about any whiff of an abuse of state power.
And I think that is very, very important for the governor and for his camp
to see. They will need that state.
KORNAKCI: The conservative paper.
So, Michael, what is your sense? What is the strategy from your reporting
in New Jersey? What is Chris Christie`s strategy to get through all of
ARON: I think Josh said ride it out. I think that`s the strategy and hope
that awareness of either the lane closures or the cover story doesn`t rise
too much higher than where it is right now.
If it doesn`t rise higher, I think the governor can recover from this.
There`s the possibility that long range, this could redound to his benefit.
Everybody is talking about Chris Christie. There`s that old adage -- any
publicity is good publicity.
KORNACKI: This one might be testing that.
ARON: But if this goes higher up, if it goes to the level of the chief of
staff or communications chief, if it starts to look like Chris Christie
wasn`t telling the full truth or the fundamental truth in that press
conference, then he`s got a serious problem. And there`s one other
problem, is that his team has work extremely well as a team, as a unit.
They`re locked down, they`re sealed. You can`t -- you can`t penetrate
them. They`re together. And now, all of the sudden, there are 18 people
with subpoenas who may want to protect themselves and have some kind of a
concern about what the guy across the hall might say about them.
ARON: I think the governor`s effectiveness in the second term, which by
the way, he`s coming back from Florida to get inaugurated on Tuesday, his
effectiveness is probably undercut by this as much as his image.
KORNACKI: As I said, I think the questions, the story that Dawn Zimmer
told in the first hour and the questions she raised, I think there`s
probably more to come on that. I think there`s a new piece on this now.
And we`re going to wait for other developments potentially in this days
Anyway, subpoenas, as we said, they are flying around New Jersey. What is
the best way to get information from deep within the Christie
administration? And if you`re the Christie administration, what is the
best way to keep it from coming out? We have two experts to answer that,
KORNACKI: Thursday seems to be the day that the people evolved in the
Chris Christie scandal lawyered up. Maybe not coincidentally, it was also
the day that subpoenas were handed out. Start with the lawyers. Governor
Christie`s office announced on Thursday, it had hired a law firm with the
very impressive title of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.
The lawyer leading his legal team is a man named Randy Mastro. He`s a
former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. He
used to work for Mayor Rudy Giuliani as his chief of staff and deputy mayor
of operations. Randy Mastro also has lots of experience prosecuting mafia
cases, also side note for you there.
And Christie`s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, the staff
member who sent that now infamous e-mail that said time for some traffic
problems in Fort Lee. I think everybody knows that one by heart by now.
But Bridget Kelly`s hired her own lawyer from a big New Jersey firm
reported to have close tie to the Christie administration.
And one of the investigative committee`s charge with looking into the
scandal has brought in a high profile lawyer of its own, the New Jersey
assembly has tapped Reid Schar to be special counsel for the committee it
has formed to investigate the lane closures on the George Washington
Reid Schar is a former federal prosecutor who led the corruption case
against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich working under U.S.
attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Blagojevich, you`ll recall is now serving a
14-year prison term for among other things trying to sell a United States
On Thursday night, we started hearing about the subpoenas that are being
handed out in the George Washington Bridge scandal, 20 subpoenas that
started going to key members of the Christie administration asking them for
key documents related to the lane closures. Governor Christie was not on
the list, but here are some of the people who were. You have Bridget
Kelly, we`ve already talked about her. Christie`s former campaign manager,
Bill Stepien, governor spokesman, Michael Drewniak.
You need to use the fingers of more than one hand to count the number of
bridge gate investigations right now, just how many teams have been charged
with finding out who exactly ordered the lane closures and why. Both
houses of the New Jersey state legislature have launched reviews, but one
on the assembly side, the other in the Senate. Plus, another investigation
in the U.S. Senate, by Jay Rockefeller, in addition to other inquiries by
the U.S. attorney`s office. The Port Authority`s own inspector general and
the internal investigation by the Christie administration.
So, for more on how it all might unfold, we would like to bring in right
now, former federal prosecutor, Paul Butler, who at the Department of
Justice, specialized in public corruption. And while there was part of the
team that indicted Senator David Durenberger in the 1990s. He`s now a
professor at Georgetown University and joins us from Washington.
And from Houston, we have criminal defense attorney Brian Wice, who
successfully work to overturn the money laundering conviction by former
Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
So, I`ll say, welcome to both of you. Paul, I guess I`ll start with you
because we have the news of the committee, the subpoenas. Reid Schar
retains as special counsel. If you were in that position, if you were
called in by this committee, if you were trying to get to the bottom of
this, what would your strategy be?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, Steve, in this cases the rule,
and that is harsh, if you go after the king, you have to kill him. So,
what they`re looking for is smoking gun evidence that Governor Christie was
somehow directly involved in the lane closures or in something illegal
about the way that the Sandy funds would be allocated.
So, part of this is whether -- is this just politic as usual? Political
retaliation is not a crime. Offering some kind of political benefit in
exchange for a government service in general isn`t a crime. What these
guys are looking, the investigators are looking for, is kickbacks, bribes,
some kind of financial benefit. Because that makes it more squarely fit
into the criminal statutes.
KORNACKI: And, Brian, let me talk to you for a minute, from a defense
standpoint. Here`s I don`t know if a lawyer could ever take this, but this
is what I`m thinking looking at this. We saw now almost two weeks ago the
uproar that was caused when the e-mails and texts from David Wildstein and
Bill Baroni were released, the storm that that kicked up.
If I`m somebody who is on the receiving end of one of these subpoenas or
who thinks they might be on the receiving end of these subpoenas, what`s to
stop me from just going through my Gmail or my Yahoo! or whatever non-
government account I was sending all these email from and just deleting
them all right now and saving myself from all of this?
BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that would be perfect if you
want to spend the bulk of your life in Danbury federal prison. My take, my
advice to anybody who gets a subpoena -- you got to understand things,
guys. These are not hardened criminals. These aren`t made guys. These
aren`t folks in the Cali Cartel.
When one of these folks gets a subpoena, their knees buckle, believe me.
And the worst thing you can do is to attempt to destroy evidence.
I mean, Paul makes a valid point. Politics as usual in New Jersey,
especially in New Jersey isn`t a crime, particularly a federal crime. But
if we`ve learned anything from this imbroglio, is that e-mails are phone
taps in the 21st century.
I tell my clients, guys, gals, the "E" in e-mail stands for "evidence."
Please, unless you want to see and hear what you`re writing to that guy
down the hall with Steve on MSNBC on Saturday morning, don`t do it.
The main thing is you preserve all of your e-mails, all of your texts and
you get on the phone to one of the best white collar criminal defense
attorneys in the Garden State. And guys if nothing else, this imbroglio is
going to be the full employment act for some of the best white collar
lawyers in the Garden State.
KORNACKI: That`s a good point.
Well, Paul, let me just ask you, from the standpoint of looking at it, you
pretend you`re on this committee, pretend you`re the council to this
committee, what would you see as the biggest obstacle, the biggest threat
that the administration, that these former administration members could put
if your way of getting to the bottom of this? What would be the biggest
threat from a legal standpoint?
BUTLER: Well, there are a couple. One is there are three outside
investigations going on. And sometimes investigators kind of trip over
each other in the ways that compromise the investigation. So, they`re
certainly thinking about turning one of these government officials as
state`s evidence, which means that they would give them immunity to
testify, especially again if they think they`ve got the goods on Governor
So, you want to be careful to make sure that everybody is working on the
same page with these three investigations.
KORNACKI: Yes, and that`s actually the talk of the moment at least when it
comes to cutting a deal with the federal prosecutor potentially involves my
former boss. Brian Murphy`s former boss, we`ve told that story a few times
before with David Wildstein. We had fun working for him and never thought
we`d be covering him like this.
Anyway, my thanks to former prosecutor Paul Butler, criminal defense
attorney Brian Wice, a fun segment there. The interesting segment, good
So, those access lanes in Fort Lee that started all this, we told you last
week that they sit right next to a massive $1 billion redevelopment
project. Next, we will talk to a man who knows more about Fort Lee, more
about those lanes, and the intersection of development and politics in New
Jersey than maybe anyone else. He`s the former Fort Lee mayor who turned
town a half a million dollar bribe from the mob to develop that land and he
joins us next.
KORNACKI: Today, we showed you just how vicious the intersection of
politics and development in New Jersey can be, especially if what Mayor
Dawn Zimmer told us is true. Last week, we look at how it might be at work
in the bridge scandal, where $1 billion dollar redevelopment project, the
largest in the history of the town of Fort Lee, appears to have been
directly affected and threaten by the closure of two access lanes to the
George Washington Bridge last September.
No one has yet answered the billion dollar question of why, why the people
who closed the lanes might have wanted to threaten that development, if
they did want to threaten that development? But it`s an area that
reporters have been exploring all week and will continue to explore.
The story of that lane goes back 40 years to a famous episode to where the
mayor of Fort Lee at time, the man picture there on the left, was
approached by mob up developers who offered a half a million dollars if
he`d help grease the wheels for their proposed project on the site. He
said no, he wore a wire for the feds, and he sent those crooked developers
The whole jaw-dropping affair was documented in a book called,
appropriately enough, "The Bribe." That land, the land that the mayor of
Fort Lee, was offered a $500,000 bribe for, might just be at the heart of
the lane closures scandal. And the major who knows a lot about the lane, a
lot about Fort Lee, and a lot about the intersection of politics and
development of New Jersey, he joins us now live from Los Angeles, Burt
Ross, former mayor of Fort Lee.
Thanks for getting up this morning.
And I just want to start with -- you were the mayor of this town. You`re
watching the story unfold. You know these lanes, you know these access
lanes. You know that development site. You know the Port Authority.
What do you make of -- just what had you made watching this story unfold?
What do you make of it? What do you think was going on?
FORMER MAYOR BURT ROSS (D), FORT LEE, NJ: Well, the first thing is I don`t
believe that the governor was telling the whole truth and nothing but the
truth. It just smells. We had an expression at law school. It doesn`t
One of the things he said in his press conference was that the mayor of
Fort Lee is not on his radar. Well, you have three people whom he
appointed and who are in his administration, one of whom called the mayor a
little Serb, another called the mayor an idiot, and the third one held him
on the phone and said the fine mayor, using a sarcastic tone, is waiting.
So, if all of these people are obviously angry for whatever reason at the
mayor of Fort Lee and Christie has known -- everybody I know who is close
to Christie says that he micromanages everything, then clearly, the mayor
of Fort Lee for whatever reason is on his radar.
The other thing that bothered me is when the governor was talking about
these dedicated lanes in Fort Lee. It`s absurd. Those lanes are not
dedicated for Fort Lee residents. I lived in Englewood for years and use
those lanes, almost everybody in edge water uses those lanes.
A recent study showed that the overwhelming majority, 75 percent of the
people, who use those lanes are not Fort Lee residents. And let`s assume
for a moment, it`s not a perk. These people have to cross the bridge.
Even if everybody who used those lanes came from Fort Lee, so what? What
does the governor speak these people to do? Jump off the Palisades and
swim across the Hudson River to New York City? It`s absurd.
And then, I listened to the press conference and he`s referring to a
traffic study. He`s the last person in the country who`s referring to a
traffic study. The Port Authority wrote Senator Rockefeller there was no
traffic study. The traffic study is a cover up. And so, the governor --
KORNACKI: Mayor, to follow up on that point then? So, you were the mayor
of Fort Lee, you had to deal with the Port Authority. Did you ever have
any kind of dust-up with them at all like this?
ROSS: No. We had very close, I have very close friends on the Port
Authority. We never had a problem with the port at all. Alan Sagner (ph)
and Milton Gilbert (ph) were on the port. They`re close friends. So, no,
we had great cooperation with the port authority.
But the port has gotten so big. Pun intended, they`ve gotten too big for
its bridges. I mean, I think it just -- I`d like to know where Governor
Cuomo is on all of this. We`ve got two people with presidential ambitions.
I`m not a partisan Democrat. I am a Democrat. I supported several years
ago, Kathy Donovan (ph), a Republican who won county executive in Bergen
County, and she ran against what was the a corrupt Democratic machine.
And I was very positive about Chris Christie being a strong moderate voice
in the presidential primaries.
In reflection, I was wrong. I think he`s morally challenged. I don`t
think he`s presidential quality. I quite frankly don`t think he deserves
to be governor of New Jersey.
Now, you have another person, Governor Cuomo, a Democrat, who wants to be
president and he`s hid under a rock somewhere. He hasn`t said a word.
KORNACKI: You do raise an interesting point which is when Cuomo`s people
at the Port Authority were raising such a ruckus about that is possibly a
violation of state and federal law. What did they say to Cuomo and what
did Cuomo do in response? I don`t think that`s a part of story we need to
But we are out of time, unfortunately, for this segment. But I want to
thank the former mayor of Fort Lee who turned down a $500,000 bribe.
Congratulations to you on that, sir, Burt Ross, for joining us today.
So, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? Our panel will
answer after this.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re going to find out one thing that each of our
guests will be looking forward to in the bridgegate story in the week
Josh, we`ll start with you.
BARRO: Regarding what the mayor said on Andrew Cuomo`s role on this, there
was a period in September when it appeared that there was some friction
between Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie. You had Patrick Foye coming
out on this. You also had Cuomo insisting that Christie had told him
privately something different about the New York governor`s race than what
was being said in the national press, and then that stopped. Somehow
things got made up between Cuomo and Christie.
Was there something else within the Port Authority that the New York side
wanted and got and called off the dogs? I think that`s going to be an
interesting thing to develop there.
KORNACKI: That`s very interesting here.
LINZER: I thought Mayor Zimmer this morning was extraordinary. I`m going
to be watching to see if other mayors follow suit, what else is out there
and what do those mayors know?
KORNACKI: And, Brian?
MURPHY: Same thing. I think we need -- we`re going to need a new hashtag
for the story, because this is not about a traffic closure. This is not
about bridgegate. This is the same story. These are the same stories,
they`ve never been about endorsements. And they`ve always been about land,
ARON: Since we`re not going to know what`s in the subpoenaed documents
until February, what I`m looking for now is damage assessments, posts,
quotes from top Republicans around the country, signs of one sort or
another of whether Chris Christie can ride this out or not.
KORNACKI: Those Republican opinion shapers staying with him, that`s a good
thing to look for.
My thanks to Josh Barro, Dafna Linzer, Brian Murphy, and Michael Aron. It
was a special treat to have Michael Aron on the show. It really was. I
was so excited about that. Thank you for joining us today.
And thank you at home for tuning in.
Join us tomorrow. We will look closely at the two state committees
investigating the bridge lane closures, whether Chris Christie can escape
the scandal might depend entirely on whether those committees can work
But coming up next is Melissa Harris-Perry, how the smallest elections can
be precursors to the biggest political sea changes. Stick around. Melissa
is up next.
We`ll see you right here tomorrow morning at 8:00. Thanks for getting up.
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