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Gov. Chris Christie defended his administration on Sunday against charges of systemic misconduct at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, saying that "nothing has been proven yet" regarding allegations of a quid pro quo between one of his top political allies and the CEO of United Airlines.
Prosecutors are investigating whether former Port Authority head David Samson - a Christie appointee often described as a mentor to the New Jersey governor — pushed the airline to carve out a flight convenient for transportation to his vacation home in exchange for political favors. United CEO Jeff Smisek and two of his top lieutenants resigned last week.
Asked on NBC's Meet the Press whether the Port Authority has been a stain on his administration, Christie offered host Chuck Todd a flat denial.
"No. It was not," he said. "Nothing has been proven yet.
"You have no idea as you sit here today that he did anything wrong," Christie said of Samson. "Neither does anybody else."
The United probe developed during prosecutors' scrutiny of the Port Authority's involvement in the closure of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political payback for Christie's administration, the scandal known as "Bridgegate" that has dampened the governor's presidential hopes.
On Sunday, Christie defended his management of the controversy, pointing to the nearly two-hour long press conference he held after the "Bridgegate" story first broke.
Christie suggested that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton should follow his example by answering more questions about her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
"When we had a crisis, the next day I went out and took questions for an hour and 50 minutes, no holds barred," he said. "Let's wait to see if Mrs. Clinton ever does one-fifth of that." "What people want from their leaders is honesty and candor, not perfection," he added. "And I can't ensure perfection from everybody, but I will hold everyone to those high standards today and when I am president of the United States."