tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 9, 2014 6:00am-8:01am PST
ton of developing stories going on now. we hand to you the newsroom in the capable hands of carol costello. >> "newsroom" starts now. good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. it is nearly three years before the presidential election. by many accounts the republican wrote to the white house runs through new jersey. get ready to hit the brakes. that traffic jam on the right side of your screen is blossoming into a political scandal for gop darling chris christie. he is expected to talk about that at a news conference in just a couple of hours. e-mail shows a top aide to the new jersey governor ordered lane closures to punish the democratic mayor of fort lee
which sits at the foot of the george washington bridge. later e-mails among christie allies show a certain giddiness as the september traffic snarl trapped thousands of motorist, including school children and emergency vehicles. four months later, traffic is flowing more freely this morning but roadblocks may now lay in the path of a christie campaign. cnn's joe johns is here to walk us through the paper trail and chief washington correspondent jake tapper will take us through the fallout. joe let's begin with you. >> the trouble for the christie administration starts with calls for some type of state or federal investigation. then will are the hearings. plus questions are already being asked about the scandal on capitol hill. on top of all of that, the governor is going to have to answer questions about abuse of power and political retribution. this morning, the pressure is mounting. >> that's not the kind of leadership that new jersey needs and it certain sly not the kind of leadership the nation needs. >> the new jersey bridge e-mails
igniting a full-blown scandal with increasing calls for a federal investigation. >> there is more than enough evidence to warrant an investigation to determine what -- you know, we need to know what this governor knew and when he knew. >> it now this. new revelations that the actions of the christie aides may have put lives in danger with ems crews unable to reach people in need of emergency care. wednesday afternoon, christie released a written statement. he did not apologize but blamed the problems on his staff. i am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was i misled by a member of my staff but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. his administration is accused of shutting down several lanes of the george washington bridge for four days in september causing major traffic problems in the town of fort lee. the mayor of that town had refused to endorse christie. at the time, christie's office denied any political revenge and blamed the bridge snarl on a
traffic study. >> i was the guy working the cones out there. you really are not serious with that question. >> cnn obtained texts and e-mails many say proved otherwise. time for some traffic problems in port lee. that e-mail was sent august 13 from the account of bridget anne kelly to david wildstein. one of the governor's top appointees at the agency that controls the bridge. got it, he replied. when the mayor of fort lee called about the xwrid lock, kelly then e-mailed wildstein to find out if anyone called him back. radio silence was the response. christie's critics questioning whether he was truly ignore an of the communications of his staff. they wanted an investigation. >> his statements and actions thus far have proven that he is not the straight shoot their he has claimed to be. and the questions -- require answers. he needs to step up and face the music and answer those
questions. >> the other headache for dpof christie is he says he didn't know what was going on in his opponent office and that while he says he was misled by a member of his staff, the e-mails seem to suggest that others, including people at the port authority, may have had knowledge of what was going on. >> joe johns reporting live from washington. it tests some of the image issues facing christie. a tough-talking bully to his critics, a straight-talking man of the people through his supporters. jake tapper is cnn's chief washington correspondent. he spent quite a bit of time with christie. jake, christie is supposed to have a news conference in less than two hours. she supposed to release some sort of statement. what do you expect to him say? >> well, really the only possible thing for him to do is to take responsibility, apologize, and explain how this happened. that's really the only path for it especially if he does hope to continue to have political ambitions beyond being the governor of new jersey.
in november, cnn got an ex-clues whiff governor christie who spent election day with him and that was during a period when president obama was under a lot of fire for not having been honest with the american poem when he promised them if you like your health plan you can keep your health plan. i asked governor christie, what advice would he give president obama. here is what he had to say. what advice you would give him? >> here is what my suggestion would be to him. don't be so cute. when you make a mistake, admit it. you know what, i said it, i was wrong. i'm sorry. and we are going to try to fix this and make it better. i think people would give any leader in that circumstance a lot of credit for just -- you know, owning up to it. instead of now trying to -- don't lawyer it. people don't like lawyers. i'm a lawyer. they don't like them. you know. don't lawyer it. people want leaders, not lawyers. >> i talked about this exact answer with some pete close to christie. i was told that nobody should be
surprised if that hit the press conference later today. christie takes his own advice. comes out, talks about the mistake he made, says he's sorry and tries to explain it. i guess we will satisfy. that was the advice he gave to president obama. we will see if he takes his own advice. >> there are those that think this is more than a mistake. new jersey's newspaper, "the star ledger," reluctantly endorsed christie for governor if the governor was lying about all of this in his role in this, he is unfit for office. could this scandal force christie out of office? >> that is the assumption that you are reading from there that he did know about this. that he actually was involved and he knew his deputy chief of staff was ordering this traffic jam as a punitive measure and there is a lot of evidence that people around christie, two political appointees at that time port authority, including one that was a high school friend of his, deputy chief of staff, and, of course, his campaign manager is on one of the e-mail teams, being kept in
the loop on the coverage of it. the idea that christie did not know what was going on among this tight-knit group of aides is certainly a question he is going to have to answer and then beyond this, if he continues to maintain and if it is true that he did not know anything about this, he is going have to answer the question, did he in any way contribute to an atmosphere where this type of punitive political vendetta was encouraged. that's also going to be something that he answers at the press conference today. >> all right. i want to bring in ross now, too. she a cnn political commentator and op-ed columnist for "the new york times." good morning. >> good morning. >> thank you for being here. i want to dig deep near chris christie's image now. we all know he is tough talking but your colleague, michael barbero, addressed that. the episode is tricky for mr. christie at his age. his kang cantankerous manner an
independent streak are essential to his white house ambitions. there is a new worry, that once seemed like a refreshing forcefulness may come off as misguided bullying. >> yeah. i think that -- i think that mike has it exactly right. issue for christie is -- i'm stealing this line from someone else, i-can't remember who, but that his image has always been that he is the bully who is on your side. right? yes, you know, he has this sort of swagger and bullying persona but he is using it to stick it to special interest groups and cozy government bus deals and so on. in this case, he's -- you know, or -- let's say his aides are just straight-forwardly, you know, they are bullying the mayor of fort lee but really they are bullying all of the people who were stuck in traffic. anyone who spent my time stuck in traffic in and around new york city knows how infuriating
that kind of bullying can be. it does seem like a big problem. i think that the big question that -- you know, you were discussing with jake is will actual evidence that he actually knew or ordered this. if there is i think will is a rue disaster. even if there isn't, i think that the question -- question about his image is just going to endure. and carry on from this. >> -- i guess the seek remember behind his bullying charm, so to speak, depends who he is directing his bullying to. let's watch a clip of what i'm talking about. >> on monday, are you going to be addressing legislature? >> did i say on topic? are you stupid? on topic. on topic. next question. good. thank you. thank you very much. i'm sorry for the idiot over there. take care. >> it is okay when you call a member of the press an idiot, right? most people don't like journalists very much. >> i have month idea why but, yes. >> that's true. >> public bias against
journalist. >> when you direct your anger and it affects like people trying to get to work or trying to get to the hospital, that's a whole different thing. >> the other problem for christie is that, you know, is this an isolated incident? right? you can bet that journalists and democratic operatives and all of the -- you know, enemies that christie made during his very successful run as governor are right now sitting around, digging around, looking for other cases where, you know, christie machine in large ways or small might have bullied somebody and created a problem like this one. if there are -- more into this, you end up with sort of a drip, drip, drip scenario. it will be interesting to see his press conference today. i think it is a tough situation because, you know, will's -- i mean, obviously he can come out and try to be transparent and he can fire lots of people and he needs to probably pyre lots of people. the ultimate question about his image is still going to remain. >> you are right. ross, many thanks. jake tapper, we will get back to
you. joe johns. while we wait for christie, new jersey lawmakers trying to figure out who did what and why during the bridge closure last september. a hearing on the matter will get under way before a new jersey state legislature around noon eastern. we may or may not hear from the man at the center of the scandal. david wildstein. he is the man who supposedly ordered a traffic study to deliberately cause massive traffic jams on the george washington bridge. let's just say he does not want to testify before new jersey lawmakers. erin mcpike with more. >> the stolawyer for davidwild stein filed a motion to quash this. at a nearby courthouse david wildstein will appear to see whether or not he has to appear here at noon. now, the reason it is lawyer gave were that the assemblyman
who called for the hearing at moon is a democrat that's also an attorney. he represents a company that does business with the port authority. they are saying the whole hearing is a conflict of interest. they also say that the committee who is holding this hearing only has really the authority to talk about toll increases. not these lane closures. they are trying to use legalese to get him out of this hearing. but if the judge says he has to appear, he will be here at noon today. of course, that's just an hour or so after chris christie gives his press conference at around 11:00. >> the other person in, bridget kelly will she testify? >> no. here is what the assemblyman called for the hearing wants to see. he says that he thinks that this whole controversy got to a high i level of chris christie's
staff. that is, of course, the deputy chief of staff, because when she said it is time for some traffic problems in fort lee, it was wildstein who is the one that would be appearing today. he wrote back, got it. it sounds as though that he was political, too when someone wrote to him to say that they felt bad for the kids who would be late for school. she had, well, they are the children of buono voters. that's the democrat who ran against chris christie in the governor's race. and also, four days after they first ordered the lane closures and then someone in new york ordered the lanes to be opened again wildstein says we are going appropriately nuts. so he, too, sounds political but part of this hearing is to see how high up this controversy went and what chris christie and some of the top staffers may have known. >> aaron mcpike, repo -- erin m
reporting live from fort lee. paramedics stuck in traffic and people in need of help waiting to long to get it that's what fort lee's coordinator says was very real and dangerous konsz queenses on the lane closures at the george washington bridge. we will have that story coming up live after the break. weeknights are for favorites.
traffic flowing smoothly on the g.w. bridge this morning. that bridge caused a lot of controversy in the state of new jersey and that controversy is growing nationwide. in less than two hours, chris christie is expected to address the scandal of his administration. it is your oupds e-mails that suggests one of christie's top aides ordered closures of lanes for punishment of the democratic mayor. in september officials said new traffic patterns closed delays for emergency vehicles. in one case, paramedics were delayed and were not able to treat a 91-year-old woman who had a heart attack. she later died at the hospital. it is unclear if the delay in treatment contributed to her
death. christie denied knowledge of the scandal and says he was misled by his staff but now he is at the political center of a firestorm. the mayor of fort lee spoke out on cnn's "situation room" about his message for governor christie. >> cannot close down the busiest bridge in the world for political retribution. it is not something that is possible. you have intentionally put people in harm's way. you knew that before you did it. you knew that when fort lee called 20, 30, 40 times. you knew that when i kept sending text after text and calling cell phone after cell phone. you always knew that because we were telling you that that was happening. do me a favor and don't call me. but call the families who were waiting three, four times longer for emergency service agencies when their loved ones were having heart. pittations or when their loved one has extreme chest pains and were waiting for ambulances to arrive. call an and apologize to thousands of families whose kids were late for first day of
school and the three, four days that ensued thereafter. call our police department and call our administrators in the school system that had to deal with this. call the folks that had to deal with traffic, armageddon here that week. don't call me. you don't have to call me. i give you a pass. don't call me. but call those families, call those kids, and call everybody else because fort lee didn't deserve it. we didn't deserve it. >> staff originally blamed the lane closures on a traffic study. the traffic caused for emergency vehicles, cnn's alexandra field is following that part of the story. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. take a look behind me. this is the george washington bridge. it is america's busiest bridge and a problem seemed to clear when fort lee's ems coordinator noticed that traffic was moving smoothly on the bridge but that traffic here in fort lee was nightmarish. a day after the lane closures
went into effect he wrote a letter saying already he was noticing that emergency response times were taking too long. calls that should have taken a matter of minutes were taking as much as three times that long. he announced that when he was called to respond to a car accident involving four people who needed to be taken to the hospital the traffic was so bad he had to jump a curb just to get to the scene. we also know now know when a 19-year-old woman had a heart attack, paramedics were not able to get to the scene because of traffic. instead they had to meet her en route to the hospital where she later died. it is not yet clear whether that del nay treatment may have led to her death. after four incidents of delayed responses, favia took it upon himself to write a letter to the mayor of fort lee raisin a red flag about potential dangers of the lane closures. we will read from it. this new traffic pattern is causing unnecessary delays for emergency services to arrive on scene for medical emergencies. the letter goes on to say,
quote, perhaps some type of modification or change can be made to this new traffic pattern. favia says he was not aware that there would be any change in the traffic like everyone else he says he just started to notice the congestion. he says he went to a police officer who told him that a new traffic pattern at the toll booth was causing the tie-up. >> alexandra field reporting live from fort lee. thanks so much. still to come in the newsroom, lee bodies and explosive material found near sochi this morning. nic robertson, good morning. >> good morning. less than 170 miles from me, olympic village in sochi. power vehicles found, six bodies explosives nearby. explosion, possible terror links. more after this break.
child's home. video of the child went viral and several groups criticized the police union for posting it online. police say they posted it to educate the public about the cycle of violence. dennis rod sman apologizing for his ainge rip rant during an interview with cnn. the former nba star had suggested an american imprisoned in north korea deserved his punishment and apology comes one day after rodman celebrated the birthday of his dear friend, kim jong-un. >> ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday ♪ happy birthday to you >> also this morning, rodman issued a statement saying he had been drinking and was very stressed during his interview with cnn's chris cuomo. he also said, quote, i want to
first apologize to kenneth bae's family. 2019 apologize to my teammates and my management team. i also want to apologize to chris cuomo. i embarrassed a lot of people and i'm very sorry. there you have it. . let's move on to sochi and the olympics. six bodies and explosive materials have been found mere sochi. they are conducting a terror sweep. as i said, that's the site of next month's winter olympics. nic robertson is following the story from moscow. tell us more, nic. >> what you have right now is russia's investigative committee that -- forensic investigation. plus the intelligence services that are looking at possible terror links here. what we know -- i will sort of step us through this here. there's quite a complicated scenario. you have in one village one vehicle found with a dead body in it, explosives placed nearby. as the police approached the
explosives detonated. another two cars found. in each of those another dead body. in another village the next one over, if you will, a few miles away again, another vehicle found there. three bodies inside of it. a bucket with explosives placed nearby to that vehicle. the police detonated the explosives on -- or made safe the explosives near the vehicle. it appears as if these were -- possible attacks staged to draw in the police and then detonate explosives to injure the police. but, of course, the intelligence services here, very detrying to figure out if there is any linking to sochi. this happened in the volatile region where there is a lot of terrorism over the past number of years. of course, it happens very, very close, literally just over the mountains from where the winter olympics will be taking place in less than a month. >> were these -- are these bodies connect medical some way?
mine, who are these people who were killed? >> yes. again, this is -- what the intelligence services and police are trying to figure out what is being made public by security services so far is that -- two of the people -- dead bodies were taxi drivers. another one was a furniture maker. we understand that the vehicles involved were pretty cheap, low-end -- low-cost vehicles, if you will. old vehicles. beyond that, how to connect all these dots. does it match up to terrorism that threatens the olympics? is it some local event that is targeting just the local police? is there a bigger, broader message? is it a diversionary tactic? these villages where these incidents took place, it is very close, within 20, or so miles of the stand airport that will be used to bring athletes in. p the sochi airport is closed. the proximity is what is
concerning. the exact details and connections, that is still part of the investigation. >> nic robertson reporting live from moscow this morning. still to come in the news room the man that may be at the center of the new jersey bridge scandal fights a call to testify. erin mcpike is in trenton with more. good morning, erin. >> reporter: good morning. david wildstein is in court right now trying to find out if he will have to testify here at noon and we will bring you the answer live after the break. [ male announcer ] this is betsy. her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪
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good morning. i'm carol costello. thanks so much for joining me this morning. happening now, opening bell on wall street. u.s. stock futures a bit higher. but macy's stock surged in free market trading. the retailer said it would cut 2,500 workers and the street loved it. back to our big top story now. the new jersey traffic jam scandal that has involved the administration of governor chris christie. at the center of the controversy, top aides to christie. and a mayor there accused of targeting for political revenge. one of the top players, david wildstein, was highest level christie appoint he for the new jersey port authority.
the port authority is the group that operates the bridge. wildstein received an e-mail from christie's i deputy chief of staff, bridget anne kelly. time for traffic problems in fort lee. ordered to close lanes on the bridge and the busiest crossing into new york city. that bridge also leads to fort lee, new jersey, which is the jurisdiction of this man, the democrat mayor mark sokolich. reports say that sokolich and the city of fort lee were targeted by christie's aides after sokolich refused to back christie during his re-election bid. chris christie's tough talking, no-nonsense style made for some very memorable moments. here is a look back at christie's take on everything from reporters who go off topic to a presidential election scheduled for a few weeks after soup superstorm sandy.
>> did you say on topic? are you stupid? on topic. next question. good. thank you. thank you. thank you very much. i'm sorry for the idiot over there. i find it fascinating that a doctor in arizona who has never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my medical history or records, knows nothing about my family history, could make a diagnosis from 2400 miles away. she must be a genius. you have num nuts that put out statements comparing me to wallace. at some point have you got to be able to call b.s. on those kind of press releases. >> you don't send your children to public schools. you send them to private schools. so i was wondering why you think it is fair to be cutting school funding to public schools? >> what's her name? >> what's her name? the governor is talking.
gail. >> first off, it is none of your business, gail. i don't ask where you send your kids to school. don't bother me where i send mine. i don't give a damn about election day. it doesn't matter a lick to me. i have much bigger fish to fry than that and so do the people of the state of new jersey. >> so some people love the tough talking and shpeopome people do love it so much. john avalon is a cnn political analyst and executive editor for "the daily beast." good morning to both of. >> did you good morning. >> good morning. >> okay. so this isn't the first time christie has been accused of retaliation or bullying. he is known for this. the question is, will this scandal have ramifications nationwide? will people really be so upset at this that it will ruin christie's chances of becoming president of the united states. larry, i will start with you. >> carol, first, we have to know
whether governor christie had any knowledge of this at the time of the bridge was closed or those lanes on the bridge were closed. second, we need to know whether he participated in any way in the coverup after the incident first occurred. assuming the answer is no to both of those questions, and assuming he does the obvious thing, which is to clean house of his own appointees who were involved in this, then i think he can go forward. but clearly people are going to have a lot of questions about what kind of person chris christie is and that's appropriate for a presidential campaign. being governor of new jersey is one thing. the enormous power in the oval office can easily be misused by a vindictive, bullying chief executive privilege. we once had one. his name was richard nixon. that's what we have to find out. do the staffers in christie's
office reflect his values? assuming christie was not involved. >> john, this isn't the first time christie has been accused of political retaliation. "the new york times" reports a former governor was stripped of police security at public events. a rutgers professor lost state financing for cherished programs. a state senator lost his candidacy for a judgeship. suddenly stalled for some reason. another state senator was disinvited from an event with the governor in his own district. maybe christie can recover from bridge-gate but what about the rest? surely, all of that will come out now. >> politics is perception. the problem of this particular scandal -- we will know more after the 11:00 press conference which would be pivotal in terms of the narrative of his administration and any future political attributions he may have. we have seen this. especially in a tri-state area when prosecutors become
politicians, eliot spitzer, rudy giuliani, that's an accusation that gets thrown around. sometimes it is dead-on accurate. sometimes it is just political opponents trying to find the negative spin on a core tribute that seems to be broadly popular. chris christie gives broadly popular new jersey. this is what his opponents have been gripe being. you have a very urgent smoking gun and national media attention and that's why this is such a pivotal moment in the christie administration. >> you know, dana bash brought up something interesting. she said that republicans weren't so into chris christie anyway, it wasn't because of his bullying, it was because of his politics. maybe we are jumping the gun of thinking christie would win the presidency in 2016 anyway. >> that's what i have been saying. look, i keep reading in the press that chris christie is the front-runner for the republican nomination. no, there is no front-runner. there is not a single one of the approximately eight potential candidates that even has 20% of
the republican vote in the primaries. chris christie and no one else is a front-runner. chris christie has problems wholly apart from whether he is a bridge over troubled water which he clear sly not. he has problems with some of the social issues he is considered too moderate by much of the republican base. so i think you are absolutely right. >> well, the other question, john, is new jersey's newspaper came out and said if these allegations are true, if christie is lying about his possible role in bridge-gate, then he is not fit to hold office. could he lose his governorship? >> look, you know, if it is found that chris christie knew about this and lied to the people in new jersey, of course that becomes very, very serious. his core attribute as a politician is he is straightforward, blupt, honest. and if all of a sudden one of the core political -- hypocrisy, if that gets undercut and chris christie knew about it, that becomes very serious. there's question about the aides
who ordered this shutdown. not just whether it was reflecting tone from the top, whether it is thomas a. beckett-type situation or something more sinister. when you slow down traffic and ambulances can't get to people, there are statutes on the book that could make that a criminal matter. that will be played out over the coming days. >> john avalon and larry sabato, thanks so much for playing with me today. i appreciate it. still to come, chris christie long touted disability to rise above petty politics. was he just saying the right things get elected? dana bash live on capitol hill. hi, dana. >> hi there. the sound of silence among congressional republicans is he deafening right now. i will tell you the way republicans who have been on the receiving end of some of christie's blunt talks are quietly reacting.
we are waiting to hear what new jersey governor chris christie will say in about an hour and 15 minutes or so. he is accused of playing petty politics with people's lives. although he denies all knowledge of an order to cause major traffic problems to punish the mayor of fort lee, new jersey. this could be a scandal of epic proportions for christie. he has been preparing a run for president since mitt romney was running for office. who could forget christie's
speech at the republican national convention. christie, a featured speaker did not top up the nominee but rather himself. i want on bring in our congressional correspondent dana bash. he was still warmly received at that convention. why are the republicans rushing to his defense now? >> i was standing with the new jersey delegation. i have a bit of a skewed perception of how he was received there. why are they rushing to come to his defense now? for several reasons. one is that he is kind of a man on an island. that has been the thing that has helped him so much. it is -- one of the main reasons why he did so well as a republican, he and the blue state of new jersey. he is somebody that's supposedly transcending politics. but the reason he got there is because he had been very aggressive, bluntly so against people like john boehner, the top republican in the house, top republican elected official in the land.
that kind of talk has not won him a lot of political allies, even though people look at him with great admiration and respect for the way he has been able to handle himself thus far. so far today, i actually have to tell you, i have been texting and e-mailing some people to try to get reaction. they have been very quiet publicly, privately. i was saying this morning you could see the smirk come through the texts. i just e-mailed one potential presidential candidate who happens to be in the senate, an aide to him saying -- would the senator want to come in and talk after christie and the response was no, thank you. >> it is 2014. the race for president is two years from now. that's an eternity in politics. is it possible this could fade away? zblutdly. it is possible, you know at 11:15 or 11:01 this could be diminished great flip defending on what chris christie says about his knowledge.
of course, if he puts his blunt talk where his mouth is. if he does the kind of thing that he encourages other politicians to do which is really be up front and get over with and the kind of thing he told jake tapper in an interview on election day in november. the other thing to keep in mind, i know you noted this earlier is that looking ahead to 2016, take this scandal away, he is somebody who would have had to break so many trends and molds within the republican party in order to get elected as the republican nominee for the white house because he is somebody who is much more moderate than republican primary voters or caucus voters in iowa and primary voters in south carolina. for him to even have a chance this scandal is almost irrelevant to the basic fundamental politics he differs with so much in 2016. that is why he's got to have to reclaim this i'm different and ultimately the question is could
he be the democrat and that -- beat the democrat and that's the kind of thing he has to convince republican primary voters that that is the reason they should support him. history shows -- i have been on the campaign trail a lot talking to a lot of primary voters throughout the years, they don't tend to take the long view. had wouldn't have somebody who is with them on the core principles and when it comes to his politics, he is not there. he is much more moderate than a lot. >> thank you for your insight. we appreciate it, as always. still to come, the man in the center of the new jersey bridge scandal fights a call to testify. we will get the latest on mr. wildstein after this. [ male announcer ] the new new york is open. open to innovation. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here
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back out to new jersey now shall we where attorneys for david wildstein, and the man at the center of this bridge scandal are fighting the subpoena to testify before the state legislator regarding the role in the bridge lane closures. er erin is live. any developments? >> reporter: this court hard as good still ongoing. the judge is hearing the attorney's case. what we understand from some of the reports from people inside the courtroom right now is that
david wildstein did not show up to this court hearing. it's simply his attorney. we don't have answers yet of course on whether or not david will appear here at noon to testify before the committee of the new jersey assembly. of course if he does testify, that will be less than an hour after chris christie holds the press hearing in this building. we'll have to see if christie throws his former high school friend under the bus. still yet to come, but we hope to have an answer in the next few minutes or so about whether david wildstein will testify today. >> you understand why he may not want to testify. if there are threats of criminal threats because the lane closures prevented ambulances from getting to the hospital and possibly caused deaths and more injury, you wouldn't want -- he'd plead the fifth. i wouldn't want to testify.
>> reporter: of course not. as you may know, there are more and more authorities getting involved in this now. senator jay rockefeller who shares a powerful senate committee also wants federal officials to start looking into this. it may very well be if he's able to avoid testifying today, he may not be able to do so in the future. probably just delaying the inevitable if he doesn't testify today. >> erin mcpike live in new jersey. thanks so much. a plane crashes moments after take over. 156 people die. one person managed to survive. she's speaking out for the first type. renee marsh is live in washington. good morning. >> she was known as the nation's miracle baby. how did she survive the crash when everyone else passed away? we dive into that on the other side of the break.
the story of cecilla. i always wondered what happened to that little girl. >> like you said she's an adult now and speaking out. we're talking northwest 255 that crashed and burned before disintegrating into pieces of twisted metal and charred debris. some how some way the 4-year-old was the only one to make it out a live. but why? she's still asking that question today. >> august 1987 northwest flight 255 leaving detroit for phoenix falls out of the sky a minute and 23 seconds after takeoff. the aftermath devastating, plane unrecognizable. >> more than 143 people died in detroit. >> a crash shortly after
takeoff. >> how could anyone survive this? the path of wreckage led rescuers to a miracle under the bridge. >> we picked up the chair. underneath it was the little survivor. >> the 4-year-old cecelia severely burned but a live. those on board died including her parents and brother. she became the nation's baby. cards and toys poured into the hospital. >> the whole world is rooting for cecelia. >> the pilots didn't put the flaps in the right position. >> i got this tattoo as a reminder where i came from. >> it is literally etched into the fabric of who she is and she still bears the scars. she credits luck for her survival but biology and physics may play a role.
>> a child has several advantages in the crash environment. their bones are more pliable so they withstand higher forces without fracture. >> cecelia was not the only young sole survivor. all young sole survivors. dr. chrissy studies why children sometimes survive crashes more than others. >> children are less likely to contact something. >> whatever the reason, cecelia got a second chance at life and she's living it happily. she's in her 30s and married. >> despite the catastrophic crashes, aviation overall remains safe. the national transportation safety board says 95% of people involved in an airplane accident
survive. according to a report, 2013 was the safest year for aviation with a record low of total fatalities. >> can she remember anything about the crash? >> she remembers when you talk to her and see the film later this evening, she has faint memories of her mom. she doesn't really remember much about the actual impact and those details. of course she's got all the media clips and newspaper clips to fill in the blanks. she depends on one of those rescuers who discovered her to fill in the blanks of that very day. she's asked the question of what did my parents looked like when they were discovered? a lot she doesn't remember. she has to depend on people who were there and remember the awful details. >> i can't wait to see it. tonight hear more as she breaks her silence for the first time in the cnn film "sole survivor"
it airs tonight. the second hour of "newsroom" starts now. good morning. thanks so much for joining me. i'm carroll costello. buoy many accounts the republican road to the white house runs through new jersey. get ready to hit the brakes. the traffic jam on the right-hand side of your screen is a scandal for christie. christie is expected to talk at a news conference in an hour. e-mails show a top aid to the new jersey governor ordered lane closures to punish the democratic mayor of fort lee which sits at the foot of the george washington bridge. e-mails shows giddiness as the
lanes stopped traffic. roadblocks melee in the path of a christie campaign. joe johnson is here to walk us through. good morning. >> good morning. the closest thing to a spoking gun is a message august 13th. time for traffic problems in fort lee. this was a message from the e-mail account of bridget anne kelly to the agency that controls the bridge. wildstein replied got it. kelly e-mailed wildstein to see if anybody called him back. radio silence was the response. the official reason for the gridlock was a traffic study reviewing traffic patterns for toll lanes. the town that felt the most pain was in new jersey who's mayor was against christie in the electoral race. the question is whether the governor knew what was going on.
he said he did not. his statement said what i've seen the first time is unacceptable. this completely is inappropriately and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. one thing is clear, this type of behavior is not acceptable. i will not tolerate it because people of new jersey deserve better. he went on to say people would be held accountable and responsible for actions. carol, a lot of questions for chris christie today about what he knew, what he did about it, and whether he sanctioned or encouraged this type of behavior among his top staffers. >> this alleged retaliation came why? because he was punishing the mayor, why? >> the mayor had endorsed his opponent this the campaign.
christie won the last re-election bid in a landslide. i don't think there was a question of whether or not the race was going to be close. the suspicion is the motivation for this was the mayor had not endorsed governor christie. >> he's a democratic mayor. wouldn't it make sense to endorse the democratic mayor for new jersey? >> it absolutely would. this governor was certainly looking for support on both sides of the political spectrum as he looked forward to a possible presidential bid coming up. >> he wanted to demonstrate he was among partisan ship. interesting. >> jay and wolf are this washington to weigh in on this. i want to ask you about this
first jake. christie is supposed to have the news conference at the top of the hour. what do you expect him to say? >> i expect him to take the advance he gave president barack obama back in november. with had an interview with christie on election day. president barack obama was enbroiled in controversy about whether he lied to consumers the they liked their health plan they could keep their health plan. i asked governor christie at that point, what advice would you give to president barack obama ? >> here's my suggestion to him. don't be so cute. when you make a mistake, admit it. you know what i said it, i was wrong. i'm sorry. we're going to fix this and make it better. i think people would give any leader in that circumstance credit for owning up to it. don't lawyer it. people don't like lawyers. i'm a lawyer. they don't like them.
people want leaders not lawyers. >> people want leaders not lawyers. i talked about this interview with people close to governor christie. i was told nobody should be surprised if christie takes his own advice. that's going to mean a lot more than just saying there was a mistake and saying he's sorry. it's going to mean a full accounting about what he was told, what he knew, when he knew it. then of course assuming that he knew nothing about this and the case is as he's presenting it. the question is going to be requeste requested, did he create the environment where that meanness in the e-mail was encouraged or at the at least tolerated. there's tough questions for governor christie. >> that's interesting. i want to show our viewers examples of christie's alleged bullying style.
it's what jake was talking about. let's listen. >> are you going to address the legislator? >> did i say on topic? are you stupid. on topic. next question. good. thank you. thank you all very much. i'm sorry for the idiot over there. take care. >> so wolf, this is chris christie's public persona. maybe it would be logical to assume his staff would act like that too. >> he's always been a tough guy like that when he was a u.s. attorney and obviously when he became governor. part of the reason she was so popular and got re-elected in this landslide. it's certainly until yesterday seen as a likely republican candidate in 2016. we'll see what happens. he's got a lot at stake at the top of the hour when he addresses folks of new jersey and afternoon the country. a lot of republican voters are
wondering is this the guy that has higher ambitions and can move ahead and become a republican presidential candidate, a serious one, and maybe a nominee. we'll see how he handles this crisis. there's a lot of questions even if he didn't know specifically about the detail as, as jake points out, was there an atmosphere or climate within the senior staff that resulted in this political vendetta against the mayor in fort lee, new jersey. that democratic mayor did what democrats are supposed to do, endorse the democratic candidate for governor ship. the kind of payback if you will that had the impact of not only snarling traffic but potentially as a lot of law makers are suggesting, maybe causing physical harm, endangering not only the traffic patterns if you will, but the lives of people,
emergency medical personnel can't get ambulances to save people in dire situations because of traffic. that becomes a serious issue and potentially a subject for local, state, and maybe federal law enforcement to investigate. >> interesting. i know you talked to the mayor about this scandal about what he'd like to say to governor christie. let's listen. >> what should be done to those that were responsible when all dust clears when we know everything about this? >> well for those that are responsible are responsible for this most heinous act. they can no longer be in positions of power in government. wolf, if you know me for 30 seconds you know i don't have an ounce of venom in me. i stayed this the background of the story and didn't come until the e-mails surfaced. the folks responsible for this can no longer be in positions to actually cause this damage to
other unsuspecting communities. i have a prediction. you'll have a resignation or two and they'll say this was a career path and they were resigning any way. it's not remotely acceptable to do what you did. it's the lowest most venomous form of retaliation. this at a time when new jersey needs this like we need a hole in the head. we're going to ensure we're the butt of every political joke for 20 years on political misconduct. such a sad state of events. i tell you. i joined now after reading the e-mails. i never viewed it to be a benefit to enter the political fray. i've been saying no to interviews and remaining in the background. fact finders were conducting investigations. there was no benefit for my community. every decision i make is based on whether or not it's in fort lee's benefit, bottom line. now not to speak is my
responsibility to the folks that put me in office. i'm actually ashamed. >> ashamed about what? >> i'm ashamed to be in the position of an elected official in the state of new jersey and now to be painted with broad strokes and have to deal with business as usual here in the state of new jersey. it's not fair. it's not fair to folks that follow rules and are in positions for the right reasons. >> the local new jersey newspaper said if chris christie played a part or is lying about the role, it's not fit for office. could he lose his seat? >> even if he didn't play role in instigating the traffic jam, if he was involved in the cover up over the past several weeks when we first learned about the potential for political vendetta and causing traffic jams, if over the last few weeks he didn't do what a sitting
governor should do, immediately start firing people, questioning people, bringing in lawyer, law enforcement, doing those kinds of things. if he was involved in any cover up if you will, that's a serious problem. sometimes the cover up is even more serious than the initial wrong doing, if you will. the problem he now has is they're going to investigate not every day since we first learned about the traffic jams along the george washington bridge between new jersey and new york but everyone is going to focus in the news media, law enforcement, democratic opponents of his. they're all looking at what he did on an hour by hour basis once allegations came up. they're going to want to hear from his aid who is may decide to cooperate, not cooperate. this could go on. >> you're right about this. so at 11:00 eastern time he's supposed to make a statement, jake. you said he'll probably come out and apologize and all that sort
of thing. will he also fire people? isn't that part of what he has to do? >> he said in a statement last night, people would be held accountable. i can't imagine there won't be at least one firing the deputy chief of staff, kelly, who's e-mail in august says something along the lines of time for fort lee to have traffic jams or something. i'm not quoting directly. something like that to set this entire thing in motion. i can't imagine that she still has her job as of now. i don't know that for a fact. i'm speculating. i assume other people at the least will be put on administrative leave. wolf and i have covered this a th number of times. something happens, you investigate your own team immediately, find out everything, get all that information out to the public in a form as soon as possible on
your own terms. no matter what happens, no politician ever seems to understand that this is what you have to do. otherwise it inevitably comes out in the way you don't want it to. the cover up is worse than the offense. this is serious stuff. when you look at e-mails and texts. it's hard not to be taken back at the callusness with which some of the top christie aids including and perhaps david wildstein at the port authority treat the idea that the mayor of fort lee was desperately clamoring for any sort of help to end these lane closures because of all kids that were not able to get to school. the flippant say at the time. it's really shocking stuff. there's one thing i want to say
in the governor's favor in terms of opportunity he has here. we're in an environment politically on the federal level, state level, local level where people are fed up with the lack of accountability they see. they see it on wall street. the fact very few of the bankers who were responsible for the financial crisis had any sort of punishment whatsoever, any sort of jail time, any sort of fine. they're still living in these houses. they see scandals here in washington d.c. there's an opportunity for christie to seize the bull by the horns and actually do this thing right with full apologies, full explanations. we'll see if he does that. >> nrunless he played a part int right? we'll see. >> if he played a part in it, we're talking about a whole different thing. >> the other point we should see, what about the aids.
will they turn against him, make allegations he knew or should have known about it. there's a lot of questions that are obviously going to have to be answered. >> wolf blitzer and jake tapper, more later. could this be christie's achilles now? erin mcpike now. >> reporter: critics are wondering did he set a bad example for his staff? that story is after the break. ♪
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so you can feel free to add it to anything. and feel better about doing it. better it with benefiber. happening now in trenton, new jersey. governor christie and top appointee is sitting out an early morning hearing in new jersey. attorneys are blocking him from testifying about his role in the september gw bridge closure. lawyers are arguing a subpoena calling for him to speak is flawed and the committee overstepped its bounds. we'll keep you update. let's talk about the man that the scandal could hit the hardest, chris christie. he called report er idiots, insulted constituents. this could put the potential dreams of a white house run to
rest. erin has more on that. >> reporter: good morning. chris christie got noticed in 2009 when running for governor talking tough. it has got him a long way but certainly got him in trouble too, most of all right now. let's look back at other times. governor chris christie's brash jersey style thrust him into the national spotlight. he's got a swagger ready to take on any challenger. >> we still tight, we still yell. when we fight, we fight for those things that really matter. >> thank you all very much. i'm sorry for the idiot over there. >> people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country. >> reporter: at times he challenges himself and his own party. when super storm sandy devastated parts of his state on the eve of the 2012 presidential election t the republican
governor praised the democratic president when he visited. >> i can't thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and people of the state. he then talked about the stalling on the sandy relief bill. just this week, christie held a heating celebrating the law on undocumented students to get instate tuition at new jersey colleges. christie hasn't been shy about presidential ambitions, so much so he was criticized talking too much about himself and too little about romney in his speech. >> mr. president, real leaders don't follow polls, real leaders change polls. he knows he's stepped on toes. >> are there times i wish i wouldn't have said something? sure. people see i'm genuine.
i am who i am. >> reporter: now the question of course is did he send a bad message to his staff over all of this time? we'll be hearing from christie in under an hour in the building behind me. carol. >> many thanks. still to come in the newsroom, four brought together by a common thread. they're survivors of plane crashes. a documentary that sheds light on how these people tried to move on after being a sole survivor. farmer: hello, i'm an idaho potato farmer. and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what?
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in 1987, 155 died when a northwest airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from detroit. there was one survivor, 4-year-old cecelia cichan. she was found as rescuers combed through the wreckage. here's footage from the film "sole survivor." >> when i realized i was the only person to survive the plane crash, i was maybe in middle school, high school maybe. being an adolescent and confused, it was extra stress
for me and i remember feeling angry and survivor's guilt. why didn't my brother survive? why didn't anybody? why me? >> why me? her parents died too. joining me is the director of the cnn film, good morning. >> good morning. >> it's funny, i always wondered what happened to that little girl. now i know. does she have memory at all of the crash? >> actually she remembers the moments before the plane took off. she remembers sitting on the plane. she doesn't remember anything after that. >> does she remember her parents or brother? >> yeah, in fact when the film begins she tells a story about her mother. she remembers riding in the car with her mom and hearing a song about a bird with a broken wing which is ironic. she asked the bird does the bird get better? she said yes the bird gets better and flies again.
that's how we start her story. >> i remember hearing a long time ago that her mother in part saved her. is that at all true? how did she manage to survive? >> you know, who knows how cecelia managed to survive. children survive more than adults. the story about her mother shielding her have been verified as false. no human being can keep a human being close to them when a plane is crashing. >> absolutely not. i want to talk about survivor's guilt. for years you suffered from that after a car crash. tell us about that. >> sure. when i was in high school i switched places with a good friend before he got into a car that was in a crash five minutes later. he ended up dying and i obviously ended up living. at the time in high school i didn't realize i had survivor's
guilt. you don't know what guilt is the first time you go through it. in my 20s, years later, i realized i had the constant desire to live an oversized life and always do something important. i couldn't take naps. i felt i was spared and had to make the best of my life. >> i can't wait to see the documentary tonight. thanks for joining us this morning. sole survivor airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on cnn. still to come, a traffic jam, may job roadblock for a presidential contender. wooi we'll look at the growing scandal of chris christie. the new new york is open. open to innovation. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here and pay no taxes for ten years...
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abdominal pain, and diarrhea. if you have persistent diarrhea, contact your doctor right away. other serious stomach conditions may exist. avoid if you take clopidogrel. for many, relief is at hand. ask your doctor about nexium. good morning. i'm carol costello. we're half an hour from the news conference with chris christie. chris christie is facing a scandal. chief washington correspondent jake tapper, take it away.
>> thanks carol. >> everyone knows christie is a rising star in the republican party. today he faces calls for investigation, pardon me, into abuse of power. this traffic jam is at the core. lane closures near the george washington bridge stopped traffic days last september frustrating thousands and stopping school buses and emergency ambulances. e-mails show the chief of staff proposed the travel jam. it deeply impacted fort lee. the democrat refused to endorse christie when he was trying to build up endorsements as a way of talking about bipartisan in the re-election. pushing through the closure,
david wildstein port authority of ny and nj. wildstein and christie are old high school friends. we don't know if wildstein with testify today. they're subpoenaing him on who was behind the traffic mess. let's continue drilling down on this. cnn joe johns is piecing together what happened and the fallout. christie is due to speak at the top of the hour. what do you expect him to say? >> jake, the trouble for the christie administration calls for state or federal investigation. there should be a question or two about that. then there are the hearings. questions are asked about the scandal on capitol hill. on top of that, the governor will have to answer questions about abuse of power and political retribution. this morning the pressure is mounting. >> that's not the kind of
leadership new jersey needs and certainly not the leadership the nation needs. >> a full blown scandal with increasing calls for a federal investigation. >> there's more than enough evidence to warrant the investigation to determine what we need to know what the governor knew and when. >> new revelations that the christie aids may have put lives in darng with nger when oms cou reach those in kneed. he blamed the problems on his staff. i am outraged and deeply saddened to learn i was not only misled by a member of my staff but this inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. his administration is said to have shut down four lanes in september on the major bridge causing problems in the town of fort lee. the mayor of that town refused to endorse christie.
at the time christie's office denied political revenge and blamed the bridge snarl on a traffic study. >> i was the guy working the cones. you're not serious without that question. >> texts and e hails proved otherwise. time for traffic problems in fort lee. e-mail sent august 13th from the account of the governor deputy chief of staff bridget anne kelly sent to the mayor. got it, he relied. then kelly called wildstein to see if anybody called him back. radio silence was the response. they want an investigation. >> actions thus far have proven he's not a straight shooter he claimed to be. the questions require answers. he needs to step up and face the
the music and answer those questions. >> the other headache for governor christie is that he says he did not know what was going on in his own office. he said he was going on his own e-mail suggest others including those at the port authority may have had knowledge of what was going on. a lot for the governor to answer to, jay. >> all right. let's bring in wolf blitzer and gloria. wolf, let's begin with you. christie set to speak in half an hour. one person, the mayor of fort lee, affected by this, has yet to hear from the governor. you talked to the mayor. what did he say? >> don't bother calling me. call the people in fort lee and areas immediately affected. start apologizing to them. start explaining what was going on. let me play a clip of what the mayor of fort lee, mark sokolich said, yesterday.
>> don't call me. call the families who were waiting three or four times longer for emergency service agencies when loved ones were having heart palpitations or loved ones had extreme chest pains and were waiting for our ambulance core to arrive. call and a apologize to thousands of families who's kids were late for the first day of school and three or four days that ensued thereafter. call the police department and call our administrators in the school system that had to deal with this. call the folks that had to deal with traffic armageddon that week. don't call me. >> i'm going to be interested to see if he takes the advice that he himself gave, talking about chris christie, that he gave president barack obama in the interview with you on election day. you make a mistake, acknowledge it, apologize, say let's move on and fix it. >> let's see. >> he was direct when i asked about that last november when president barack obama was being attacked for not being
honest with the american people about if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. he said don't be cute. don't be a lawyer. nobody likes lawyers. >> so far he's been kind of cute in his responses. when he talked to the reporter and asked about the traffic incident. he said that was me putting out the cones. >> he cannot do that today. >> this is supposed to be an era of christie solidifying everything and getting ready for a presidential run. in fact gloria, he was appointed head of the republican governor's association. he'll be out there fundraising, trying to elect republican governors, earning a lot chips he can cash in 2015-16. is there indication people are not going to want him to come to their states? >> it's early to say that. a lot depends on how he handles today. he's got to fire a bunch of
people which so far we haven't seen. he's got to answer the question, really, about how they thought they could do this and did they do this to please him because that's the culture in chris christie's office? why did they think that something like this would make the boss happy? not just acceptable but please him. >> will he explain what happened, all of a sudden three days they had cones put out there. they closed three lanes of the george washington bridge, busiest bridge in the world, between new jersey and new york. a lot of people are involved making that closure physically happen. were they asking, what's going on? did someone say we're trying traffic patterns and going to close lanes for three days? people want to know explanations. clearly if e-mails are believed and they're pretty much
welcome back. we're continuing our coverage of the george washington bridge scandal swirling around possibly presidential hopeful and governor chris christie. we'll have that live at the top of the hour. we have the host of the cnn legal view. ashley, we've been talking about the political fallout. what are potential legal implications here? >> there are serious ones actually, jake. we're talking about not only on the civil end of the speck strum but the criminal end of the
spectrum. there's a lot of unknowns. from the e-mails it does indicate it's possible, saying possible, there could be at the at least some kind of official misconduct looked into. at the least being looked into. new jersey has a long history of some of leaders involved in official misconduct. that can lead to conspiracy. those are different charges involving the same activity. if a bunch of people were in on it, as the e-mails at first blush seem to indicate is a possible, clearly officials will want to look at that. on the criminal end, those are the -- i hate to say it, but the lighter end. a 91-year-old woman died because of an emergency. it's not tied to that yet but could be. >> we got a letter from the ems coordinator in fort lee to the
mayor september 10th right after the closures happened which happened in the middle of the closures. it mentioned a number of holdups of ems. none of the political implications were discussed. it talked about a woman it took seven minutes to get to her. she was pronounced dead at the hospital. obviously she was unconscious at the time, but could that be tied to her death? >> this is the intersection of politics and law. this is a po llitical event. there are untold numbers that want to get in on this and get headlines on this at the at least. there's also the implications deaths could be blamed on this. the extraordinary end of this could be felony murder.
it's a felony because there's no reason to shut down lanes without a reasoning. that's far reaching, however jake, this is where it's critical, those are strong words you can dangle in front of someone who could be very scared and ultimately be persuaded to give up testimony to a higher level. these are only suggestions, no tie to the governor at this point. if for instance an investigator at the state or federal level wants to get to a governor at a higher level, that's strong incentive for a low level aid to say do not hold murder or manslaughter on me, i've got information. >> just to be precise about the letter, it says that the paramedics were able -- the response time was shortened because they were heading to the accident scene to assist. it also says the paramedics were delayed to heavy traffic and had to meet the ambulance on route tonight hospital instead of the scene. very, very serious issue.
>> before we go, i want to be really clear. when you bring up those words, felony murder or negligent homicide or manslaughter. they're terrifying and scare people. investigators can lie when investigating as well. it's legal to lie when interrogating to scare them into giving information. it's not out of the realm investigators are looking at this and considering these questions. >> you're talking more felony murder in terms of investigation not a charge. >> let's bring in crishris crow chris cuomo. >> not to teach anything to you, you know politics as well as anybody. for our viewer, this is an interesting look into things that happen in politics all the time. we're getting inside windows into two dynamics. one is how it works in politics. it's a blood sport.
often there's revenge taken, power brokering done. it's entirely plausible that governor christie was not aware of what led to this political payback we see in the string of e-mails. it's very possible. could he have had his head in the sand, said don't tell me, given plausibility? that's possible. i'm slow to act because how we've seen this game play sod long and full disclosure, i've gro grown up in offices of two governors. this is such small ball going after the fort lee mayor. it pays so little dividend to christie's cause, it smacks the intelligence i would pin on somebody. to me it's suspicious. it sounds like a smaller time feud somebody this would motivate this.
we'll see what comes. certainly if you show the governor is involved, you have a problem. if you show he created a culture this is what he's about or this is what he encouraged he has a problem. not a lethal problem. it will shade perception. i don't think this is a kill shock for him in this situation unless he led to it. one quick thing, jake, the idea of criminal charges a rising from this is more than remote. to make a link between the potential death of this older woman because of slow response time and individual's actions is remote. it adds to the gravity political wrong doing here. >> thanks so much. in a matter of minutes, governor christie is expected to address the scandal, one enraging a lot of people. officials at the time of the traffic jam noted the emergency response times. the 90-year-old woman was
pronounced dead later at hospital after paramedics were delayed in traffic. it's not sure if the delay had anything to do with her death. we are live in fort lee with more on the troubles that the traffic caused. alexanderia. >> reporter: september 9th, the lanes of the george washington bridge was shut down. one day later, the emergency services let wrote a letter to the mayor. i'm going to read part of it to you. quote, this new traffic pattern is causing unnecessary delays for emergency services to arrive on scene for medical emergencies. that letter goes on to say perhaps some modification or change can be made to the traffic pattern.
favia was driving around and asked a police officer what was going on. he goes on in the letter to document four medical cases in which he says emergency responders were delayed because of traffic. calls that should have taken a few minutes took as much as three times that long. in one case, four people that had been injured in a car accident, had to wait for help. another case, a woman has a heart attack, emergency responders have to meet her on route before she's taken to the hospital. people in fort lee remember the traffic jam and are trying now to understand how this happened. most importantly they want to know who knew what when. >> it would be good to find out who was responsible for it. frankly i don't think he ever will know whether christie knew
about it. he probably didn't. i don't think we'll ever know for sure. somebody is going to get fired. >> i feel bad for governor christie. i think he was betrayed by the people that he trusted in his office. i think hopefully when he makes his announcement he'll clean house and just settle it. enough is enough. >> reporter: a lot of questions here in fort lee new jersey. people are are hoping they'll hear answers when chris christie speaks in a little bit. thanks jake. >> thank you so much. chris christie meets the press as the scandal swirls around his administration. a panel weighs in on what christie needs to say now. stay with us. [ chainsaw whirring ] humans -- sometimes life trips us up. sometimes we trip ourselves up. and although the mistakes may seem to just keep coming at you,
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minute from now, new jersey governor chris christie will step before the cameras. this is a live fphoto of where the press conference will take place. let's bring in our reporters. what is christie need to say this morning. if you were his top advisor, what would you tell him? >> i think he's got to come clean. it's not just holding people accountable which he did in the statement yesterday. he's got to come clean about his role in this.
there were a lot of names in the e-mails that came out yesterday. more is coming out. while it's not clear yet he knew about this, the people involved in this were really close to him. if he was involved or had awareness of it, that's going to come out. to protect his reputation as a straight shooter, if that was the case, he's got to tell us today. >> governor christie is known to run a tight ship. if he says or continues to say as he said yesterday this happened without his knowledge, does that undermine a different part of the christie, the confident leader, governor? >> absolutely. for christie the biggest concern is his whole reputation and reason why he's the national figure for republicans that he is is that he has made the case that he isn't partisan in the
republican democrat ways it cuts in washington. she's the straight shooter. if this continues to dredge out which i imagine will be days and weeks he's going to have to deal with this issue as the investigation goes on, it is worrisome for his second term as governor and also his 2016 ambitions. >> alec, do you think this is necessarily a part of the 2016 campaign for presidency assuming he launches one? do you think this is something we're going to hear about after this year? >> definitely. i don't think this necessarily precludes his running. i wouldn't go that far. i think it's going to be a part of his campaign. this goes to the heart of who christie is, strengths and weaknesses. we've heard a lot about his reputation as a bully. this plays into that. this also plays into the kind of transactional way he does politics. we've heard how bipartisan he is and how he had democrats
supporting him. we're reminded now. many democrats were worried what would happen if they did though the support him. 50 officials endorsed him. we're going to hear more about why they endorsed him, why they made a decision different than the fort lee mayor did. >> anna palmer, i don't think i need to tell you this is not exactly an era where people in politics or people in wall street for that matter are held accountable. we haven't seen accountable for what happened at benghazi or what happened in the irs scandal, what happened on wall street with the millionaires and multibillionaires got rich on problems caused to the economy. those living in luxury estates haven't paid a day of jail time or fines. is this an area for christie to buck that trend and be super
accountable here? >> if you're looking at how this plays out politically for him, that's what he hopes. that would be the best scenario in a bad situation. certainly, if you're christie, the big worry is, a lot of republicans are concerned you're a nor'eastern and not represent their values. if you're looking at their political future laying the ground work, this is the exact worst type of story because it bleeds into everybody's concerns and fears he's not the candidate to get it done. >> alec and anna, thanks so much for your views. our coverage continues right now. good morning everyone. i'm jake tapper. it's the top of the hour. this is legal view. any second now, new jersey governor chris christie will step in this room for what could
be the most important news conference of his career. since this time yesterday, a squabble over traffic in new jersey has blown up into a national spectacle that could kick this governor's presidential ambitions to the curb or possibly the scandal will fade with the snow by springtime. it may depend on what governor christie says or does not say about the newly public e-mails and text messages that his top aids, top officials of his, led to lane closures on the george washington bridge last september and revealing not to be born there a traffic study but a vendetta against the mayor of fort lee. the jams meant to cause headaches for fort lee. the democratic mayor declined to endorse christie's re-election bid. this is conceivably vengeance for that refusal to endorse.
while we wait for the news conference, i want to bring in john king on the phone from trenton and here with me in washington wolf blitzer and gloria borger. john, what's the atmosphere there? i'm sorry, john is not available. wolf, would you encourage him to say? >> get all the bad news out and say it yourself. don't let enemies and investigators, law enforcement, political bring it out. if you know there's bad stuff that was done by some of your top aids as loyal as you feel to them, you have to come out right now and have to say, here's what i know. this is what happened. it's awful, i take responsibility, they worked for me. they didn't do the right thing, i didn't want this to happen, i feel