UP   |  January 19, 2014

Where were bridge directives coming from?

Steve Kornacki’s table continues their conversation as New Jersey legislative committees pursue more information about the George Washington Bridge lane closures and the Gov. Christie aides who may have been involved.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> do you feel like you have the authority to subpoena the governor?

>> well, you know, that question gets asked all the time. there's no intention right now to subpoena the governor. you see, the problem with that question when i answer that question, the entire context is not the going to be reported and i understand that. so all i want to say is --

>> there are cameras recording everything.

>> i know, i know. i understand how this works, too. that's not -- that's not what we're doing. right now we're going to issue subpoenas to individuals and organization that is we've seen in the documents that are relevant to our inquiry.

>> that is new jersey assemblyman john wisniewski ahead of subpoenas being release that had night. i wanted to pick it up with you. bill baroni was one of christie 's pointmen at the point authority. it's some of his subpoenaed e-mail, texts that are responsible for the stories blowing up. same district, you served with him, you were his seat mate. what are your impressions of him and had his role in the scandal?

>> starting with my impressions when i served with him. definitely very bright. he was always at least on the surface very, very much a gentleman to me, very polite. we had a few laughs. he was the consummate politician. i used to say this to everybody. in fact, i liken some of the things i did that i did with well to learning it from watching him because he was really, really good at politics. just one of the best i've seen. i'm frankly, as so many are, shocked that he would be part of this.

>> that's the thing. people who know bridget kelly and i few her when she worked for russo. i've been saying this. i cannot reconcile the bridgette can kel kelly i knew with this. what you say about baroni, you can't see baroni as the guy who put this together. i can't see bridget kelly as the one to give the order. that feeds the suspicion this goes --

>> that's what makes me think there's a lot more to this. certainly i think there are higher powers that are directing it. and i just don't think any one of these people would do it alone. i think it's coming from somewhere. i'm not sure it's a rogue operation.

>> who are you most interested in hearing from? of all the people that have been subpoenaed, who do you think is the most important?

>> of course if mr. wildstein does come and does not plead the fifth, if he's granted immunity, i would love to hear what he has to say. bridget kelly . when people receive subpoenas i'm sure that especially on that second tier level -- i don't think she is the first tier but the second tier level, let's hear what she has to say. she has the answers of the motivation and who told her to do this.

>> what's more valuable for your committ committee? as we saw with wildstein an awful lot got out there. they were heavily redacted, this release of heavily redacted documents got a lot out there. he shows up, pleads the fifth, he doesn't say anything. still, it feels to me if you could put together e-mails from bridget kelly , from regina egea you could piece these together so maybe the documents alone are enough?

>> even the redaction is a ploy. it's part of a game. you can negotiate to unredact some things but if you give it the first time unredacted you can't then say, no, i want to cross that out. so that's a bargaining chip with wildstein, too. he has a very good lawyer. they know what they're doing.

>> who else should -- of those -- the thing about wildstein, to take a step back, i felt like his relationship with christie has been misportrayed in the press a little bit.

>> i agree.

>> they grew up in the same town. they're not that close. there's not this longtime, like he wants to protect chris christie . i can see david wildstein as someone who would cut a deal and feel he's not giving up his best friend or something like that. are there other names in the mix who fit that criteria?

>> in light of the new revelations with the mayor of hoboken, mr. samson does come in. when we start looking at the complex. chairman of the port authority , his firm recommending the rockefeller development group being the form earp dca commissioner working with wolff/samson. those are the pieces we need to put this together.

>> i don't get that piece. i'm sorry. what are you -- who do you expect the rockefeller group to hire? bernie the attorney?

>> he's the head of the port authority . you review for ethics.

>> to be clear, we reached out to the rockefeller group for comment, and their statement was that we have no knowledge or any information pertaining to this allegation. if it turns out to be true, it would be deplorable and we have not reported anything that suggests the rockefeller group itself was engaged in any wrongdoing. it's the connection that's been drawn has been that the rockefeller group is represented by the law firm of david samson who is christie 's appointee, is christie 's confidant, and the allegation from the mayor of hoboken is that it's two top level christie administration officials saying fast track that proposal. is that something you want your committee look iing into?

>> well, he is one of the targets that has received a subpoena, so i am sure that he just hired an attorney, he hired michael chertoff , he will be coming in as well. and i think, you know, again, we are gathering information. it's a legislative committee to get the information and from there, then we will see where it will lead to.

>> and, david, how does the governor's office, again, you've covered governor's offices in crisis before new jersey, how do they handle something like this from a legal standpoint? how should they be?

>> i wouldn't presume to advise them.

>> what do you see? what do you see?

>> they really don't want to listen to me. you know, i don't know legally but politically the governor is in kind of a kill the clock kind of a situation now. he needs for your committee, for all of these investigative entities to take time. hopefully for him not to turn up more bombshells like dawn zimmer and for more of them not to appear on the front pages of these newspapers. and he needs to let weeks go about by in which he can do some gubernatorial things, maybe get to the budget without getting clobbered by another set of facts. and i think that, you know, there's a point maybe at which this story potentially could get a little old to people and, you know, if he's able to put a few things on the board in a positive chief executive kind of way, maybe he can kind of turn this around.

>> yeah, it sounds like february 3 is the key date when this next round of subpoenas comes in.

>> i was going to say and i know we haven't brought this up yet but it's been said and i think this is true there are many parallels to the watergate situation here. and i know at the time that that was going on because i was around then. it wasn't necessarily something that every member of the public sat and watched on tv every day. it was sort of going on and you'd hear things, you'd see things in the paper, but it just took its time, tried to do things right and eventually found its way. it wasn't the intention but it found its way into the president's office. and i've also heard this said that the tapes that he kept are very equivalent to the e-mails today. you don't have to keep tapes. there are e-mails. it's out there.

>> there's no famous 18-minute gap. i don't know if there's an equivalent. maybe we'll find out.

>> no providetory get it from back then.