tv Politics Nation MSNBC January 15, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
>> if republicans are willing to stand up for the middle class instead of siding with special interest we can get things done. education, infrastructure, increase the minimum wage. we are ready, willing and able to work with republicans if they are ready, willing and able to stop defending special interest. >> thanks for your time. "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts right now. >> thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, a tangled web. a few minutes ago we received governor christie's public schedule for tomorrow. here it is. two events for sandy recovery. and he is traveling with the community affairs commissioner. here's where it gets awkward in this new era for christie. remember jersey city mayorer steven philip, the newly elected
mayor. we told you how governor christie's office scheduled meetings with many of his appointees. according to press accounts once mayor fulop declined to endorse christie those meetings were cancelled. one of those meetings was with community affairs member richard consitable. this is the new reality for the christie administration. everything is under a microscope. and it couldn't have come at a worse time, the day the state assembly hired a tough former federal prosecutor who knows how to prosecute dirty politics. reed shaw will be counsel for
the committee investigating. mr. shaw made bones in some of the highest profile cases in the country. rob blagojevich was accused of trying to sell president obama's former senate seat to the highest bidder. jurors credited his cross examination. blagojevich was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. rob blagojevich is a democrat. after the trial ended attorney shaw said he hunts for justice regardless of the politics. >> i think it is fair to say that the u.s. attorney's office is an equal opportunity prosecutor of public corruption. 99% of public officials and government employees across various levels of the city,
county or state and federally are honest. there have been a number of high profile cases. for those individuals we can say they didn't get the message. >> this honest public official didn't get a message for over a decade. it was reed shaw's job to make sure they did. now it is his job again. late today the new jersey assembly announced members of their new special investigation committee. tomorrow they will get right to work likely putting [ inaudible ] and campaign manager bill stepien. this investigation is just beginning. with the new special counsel on board we might be close to getting some answers. joining me new jersey
congressman frank pallone. congressman pallone this is a seasoned prosecutor. >> the main thing is this has to be thoroughly investigated. i think that the public deserves some answers. i think a lot more questions have been raised by the governor in his responses in his press conference than have been answered. i think it is very important for the legislative committees to move forward and see what they can find out so that we do get answers and find out exactly who is responsible for this mess which is pretty deplorable. >> you say a lot more questions have been raised than answered like what? what comes to mind in your mind when you were watching the press conference that raised more questions to you? >> first of all, what is the reason why they were doing this?
obviously it was political in the sense that they were closing the lanes in retribution against the mayor of ft lee. i wonder if that is all it is. what is it they were looking to do other than just have him make an endorsement. and i just think that a lot of it just doesn't make sense to me. we would like to get to the bottom of it. >> jonathan, talking about getting to the bottom of it, this new prosecutor, he worked in the u.s. attorney's office in illinois for over a decade. he was the lead prosecutor in the blagojevich trials which ended in a 14 year sentence. this guy is a serious
prosecutor. we see from the e-mails as the congressman talks about questions. we know at least six different officials with connections to governor christie knew about the bridge traffic, at least six and knew about it when it was happening. they haven't been subpoenaed yet. bringt ann kelly, christina renna, evan ridley, bill stepien, rugina egea and michael drewniak. with all of these people involved in a reelection mode, they are going to have to say that none of them informed the governor at all during the course of this even if he is going to be questioned at a re-election stop. >> these are people who are going to now come under serious
pressure. as you said reid schar is a very serious prosecutor. you listed the number of people he has gotten convictions for. he is somebody who should send a signal to governor christie and all of the people you mentioned that the time for game playing is over. when you have bridget ann kelly who is now out of a job, unceremoniously fired without the governor talking to her who we know from press reports is not happy about what happened and how it happened in terms of her firing, these are people who will have to answer a lot of the questions that the congressman was just raising. and the question i want to have answered and i hope that reid schar will find it, when bridget ann kelly sent the e-mail saying time for traffic problems in ft
lee almost immediately she gets a response, got it. that speaks to premeditation. how did the person on the other end know what she was talking about? >> congressman, knowing this and knowing the amount of people involved let's remember what chris christie said last week about his staffers. listen to this. >> there was nobody on my staff who had any knowledge of this issue until after the issue was already done. >> now, we already see e-mails that say there were people on this staff that knew what was going on during the closing. congressman? >> i mean, it seems like a contradiction. i think that is why i say there are more questions here than answers that we are getting from the governor and his administration. there seems like a clear contradiction there. and i think we just need to know
more about who had this information, who was involved in these decisions and whether or not it was the governor or somebody else higher in his office. i don't think we have gotten the answers to that. >> now, today, jonathan, the "new york times" reported that another high ranking position official could resign. this time david samson, quote, mr. samson who had spoke about stepping down long before the uproar over the bridge, has again raised the subject according to government officials. samson denies the story but that is what the "new york times" is reporting. if he resigns that will raise more public speculation. >> also because in the e-mails that have been released already he is all over them. he is part of the crew of people
who talked about this, who tried to squash it. and so if he steps down for whatever reason he still is going to have to answer questions from either reid schar hired and the new jersey state senate has their own committee they will form. >> and these are citizens and your constituents, congressman, that seem to be collateral damage for whatever the motivation was. that has to be more egregious to you than anything else. >> you know one of my concerns, al, was this ad campaign that the governor put forward where he was in the commercials for sandy and the aftermath of the storm. there is a serious question about whether or not, how they went about choosing the bidderer on this. one bid was higher and included the governor's family and the other bid was lower by over $2
million. this was money for sandy relief that could have been used for homeowners or businesses. and many of my constituents along the shore have not received checks to rebuild homes or raise homes in the event of another storm. this is another aspect i have been very concerned about. i have asked the inspector general to look into it and now they are doing that. >> we are going to stay on this congressman frank pallone and jonathan, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. will the governor and his top aides really cooperate? we will talk live to the new jersey lawmaker named to the new investigative committee. more stories of retribution emerge. we will hear from a reporter who says the tv station was shut down by christie after running a tough story on him. and governor christie's taking a lot of criticism.
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bully. >> governor christie insists he is no bully. and he is not in the business of punishing his political enemies. but new york magazine is out with a new story, quote, the time chris christie shut down a public television station that did a tough story on him. in christie's first race for governor in 2009 a reporter from new jersey network learned the governor gave a $46,000 loan to a co-worker in the u.s. attorney's office. here is part of his report. >> christie who was then the u.s. attorney for new jersey took out the mortgage for michelle brown who was then the number four person in the office under christie. today she is the first u.s. assistant or the number two person under acting u.s. attorney. >> you feel it is an unusual arrangement given the fact you
were her boss to lend that money to someone working for you? >> i don't. i just believe that if you have friends who are in need that you help them. >> but the story raised all kinds of questions and negative head lines. why did christie fail to report interest from the loan on his taxes? was it a case of croneyism. was he trying to help his case. christie hired the former prosecutor michelle brown once he was elected. as new york magazine reports once he was governor christie shut down the station that broke the story. joining me now is zack fink, the reporter who broke the story about chris christie giving a
prosecutor a $46,000 loan. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> zack, take us back to the day christie shut down the network that you were working at and broke the story. what was your first impression? >> we had indications that he was going to do that. i can't say on a personal level i thought it was retribution but i will say the democrats said that several times to me. they would say zack fink, the guy that got shut down. he had been the u.s. attorney for many years. very often prosecutors hide behind the fact that it is an on going investigation. when you run for governor it is a different ball game. this was the first thing to do that. >> there were other people like your network that thought this was retribution.
>> absolutely. the structure was flawed in a lot of ways. the state of new jersey ran it and in the television business. this is probably not the best way to go forward with it. tht rest of the industrialized worldt that is the case. there had been proposals to transfer the licenses to a private foundation, the employees were held harmless. he wound up just shutting the station down. there were 150 people working there who wound up out of work. i wound up getting a better job out of it. there were a lot of people probably approaching retirement. >> 150 of them lost their job. >> precisely and some were further along in their careers. there was a good way to do this and a not so good way to do this. at the time it raised a lot of
eyebrows about what was the motivation here. really it hasn't gotten closer examination until we learned what we learned in the last week. >> your story raised questions that someone in the u.s. attorney's office owed christie. i want to play another part of your interview with christie in 2009. >> she literally owes you money. do you think it is unusual. >> not at all. i don't get heads up on anything, the same way we didn't give heads up to people when i was there. >> he said it wasn't an unusual arrangement. what did christie's critics think? >> of course, it was. in the context not a lot of people were paying to the gubernatorial race in new jersey in 2009. this story broke in august. the democrats started running ads immediately. in july of that year there were 40 officials arrested in new jersey in what came to be known
as the jersey sting. this was orchestrated by the u.s. attorney's office and michelle brown oversaw the investigation. >> the young lady he loaned the money to. >> for those of us on the inside saw some of the people targeted by a cooperating witness from the government. joe cardwell was a key get out the vote person. it is essential for democrats and statewide elections to win big totals in essex. it did go to perhaps the u.s. attorneys who are working in cahoots with this campaign. >> one thing that struck me with this story, you actually had a private meeting with christie in his suv. why? >> we had come to him earlier in
the day with in an event with t story. we needed to talk one-on-one. he said come to the next event and we'll discuss it. they got in the suv and conferred. we followed them to the next event. and he basically pulled me into the car and had a chat about with it. he said are you going to do this story no matter what? i said of course i am going to. it would be better if you answer this now. he said i will do it. it was a bit of a negotiation. >> so as he sees it there is nothing unusual with a boss lending someone on his staff $46,000, not reporting the interest and then later she resigns two weeks laterer and now he hired her back. in fact, she is making more money than he does and she is the ceo of the new jersey
economic development authority. and she voted for the sandy ad campaign that features governor christie that many are questioni questioning. i'm sure all of this is just a new jersey coincidence. >> victors go to the spoils. we were a little surprised that the democrats didn't make more of an issue of this. initially she went to the made appointments and then went to economic development authority. remember, she was a career prosecutor. you can work in the administration and maybe do a job that someone else could also do. when you go to economic development authority that is a specific skill set required for that job. remember, she approved this ad campaign that featured the governor and his family in the sandy recovery eand the governor standing for reelection a couple months later.
>> and 150 people lost their jobs at the station you broke the story. zack fink, thanks for your time tonight. will christie cooperate? we will take to a new jersey democrat at the center of the investigation. and you will never believe his answer of his favorite part of his job. i'm beth... and i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store.
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side, going to new york city. when you are governor they close the lincoln tunnel for you. and you get to drive right through. no traffic. it's the best. i love going to new york now. i used to hate it it because i would sit in the traffic. now, no traffic. i love it. >> no traffic, i love it. i wonder if governor christie would give the same answer today? we'll talk to a lawmaker just named to the new committee investigating the bridge scandal next. trying for a baby? only clearblue advanced digital ovulation tests can identify your four best days to get pregnant -- two more than any other test. maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
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as tomorrow there is new focus tonight on one specific phrase from governor christie's state of the state speech, appropriate inquiries. >> i'm the governor. and i am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch, both good and bad. now, without a doubt we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again. >> appropriate inquiries. who gets to decide what's appropriate? governor christie? are the hearings in the new jersey state house appropriate? what about the investigation done by the u.s. attorney's office? or the probe by the port authority inspector general? is that appropriate? we can take christie at his word that he will cooperate.
last night the records request filed to get any e-mails between the port authority and the governor's office that related to lane closures. on december 27 the governor's office wrote back and claimed it, quote, reviewed its records and has not identified any records that are responsive to your request. no records? really? well, here is one, an ee-mail about the traffic jam from david wildstein to bridget kelly. i guess the governor's office accidently missed that one and hundreds of others that were made public because of legislative subpoenas. joining me now is assembly woman
bonb bonnie watson coleman. also with us is msnbc host karen finney. thank you for joining me. >> thank you for having me. >> assembly woman what is your focus as part of the new committee investigating this scandal? >> is to identify all of the information that will be helpful in the legislature making a determination of what happened, who was involved in what happened and then determining what, if anything, needs to be done after that. >> now, last week assembly woman the governor said this about the possibility of getting a subpoena himself. let me show it to you. >> if you were to get a subpoena for whatever reason what would you do? >> i'm not going to speculate on that. >> could the committee subpoena the governor? and could he eventually testify in this matter?
>> i'll tell you obviously the legislative special committee has the subpoena power to subpoena any individual who has information jermaine to this investigation. it could lead up to and including the governor and the governor could do whatever it is that he found appropriate from his perspective to either cooperate with the inquiry as he said he was going to do in the state of the state or use whatever legal powers or whatever legal resources he has to try to avoid that. but, yes, it would be a legitimate subpoena. yes, there is legitimacy in asking the governor and anyone else with information to come before the committee and testify under oath. >> what is important to you? who was involved? why? what is it that you want to know? >> well, reverend al, we have known about a number of these
things as far back as september. and we tried to get people to listen to the possibilities of there being a problem here as well as perhaps in other areas. so for me as a legislator i need the answers to the basic who, what, when, where, why and how questions. we need to understand everything that is involved here, all of the evidence, where it leads us and then we need to make a determination as to what needs to be done after we look at all of the evidence. and hopefully we get to a point where we can see evidence which is unredacted. >> i'm glad you said that, because karen the press reports that christie's office is hiding key details about the controversial hurricane sandy tv ads featuring governor christie and his family. it turns out some of the documents were released with redacted names. so we have no way of knowing who
exactly steered the contracts towards the firm that put christie in the ads. don't we need more transparency than this from the christie administration? >> absolutely. with a number of different investigations going on at this point the less transparency you see from governor christie the more it damages him actually in the state and also for 2016 because these become vulnerabilities. why weren't you more forth coming? the ads kind of write themselves. he has to think about this on dual tracks. there is obviously the legal track. we know his head is really in the 2016 mindset in many ways. he has to think about how that will be perceived by potential voters in 2016 contest. >> a column questioned whether christie was committed to finding the truth in all of this, says christie never stopped to question key figures
while the controversy simmered this month. he dismissed two trusted advi r advisers without asking them for full accounting. christie has taken action only when prompted to do so. is christie committed to full disclosure. >> christie knows how to to it and understands how to do it in such a way that he continues to protect himself. the only explanation as to why he wouldn't talk to the employees because he didn't want to hear what they would say. he is a former prosecutor. we can expect that is part of why he was so smart in parsing his words. very interesting to see what this former u.s. attorney schar. >> i was just going to simply say that while ehe may very well be careful of the words he uses
and how he communicates whether or not he has had information with regard to this, at the end of the day this trail seems to be leading to everyone close to him and around him. anyone in the state of new jersey that knows the governor's leadership model it has been one of control. our legislators don't get a chance to speak to administrative officials without their getting clearance from the governor. so while we do not assume and presume it is difficult to believe that there is no way under any circumstances that all of these people that he has trusted for so long did not give him some kind of a heads up. >> wait a minute. i have to stop and ask you that again. you are saying ledgislators cant talk to administrators without the governor clearing it first? that is how much he is in control? >> his office is so much in control that before we can have
interaction with commissioners there has got to be a conversation that they must have to get clearance out of the governor's office. this is a person who has been a strong, controlling leader whether or not a u.s. attorney or the governor of this state of new jersey. he insists upon having people who are loyal to him, who understand him, who support him and his agenda. and so it is inconceivable and very difficult to believe that there was no one giving him a heads up, a warning just a cautionary just so he would have some understanding of what is going on. and if you recall in his long press conference he said while only knowing about this the morning before he was discussing it he had had two nights of no sleep. what was on his mind? >> yeah.
i am going to leave it there. we are going to be watching this one closely. karen finney, thank you both for your time. >> thank you, reverend. coming up president obama is out talking about real ways to grow the economy. but the gop plans to use the economy as a mid term weapon. and bruce springsteen and jimmy fallon with a new song for governor christie. [ male announcer ] this is the story of the little room over the pizza place on chestnut street the modest first floor bedroom in tallinn, estonia and the southbound bus barreling down i-95. ♪ this magic moment it is the story of where every great idea begins. and of those who believed they had the power to do more. dell is honored to be part of some of the world's great stories. that began much the same way ours did. in a little dorm room -- 2713. ♪ this magic moment ♪
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today in north carolina the president threw down the gauntlet to congress. this needs to be the year of action on the economy. president obama offered concrete solutions to get americans back to work. it was an important speech msnbc covered the news. so did the folks over at cnn. what was fox news covering? that's right, the devil baby strikes new york. that's right, the devil baby was apparently more important to fox than getting americans back to work. and republicans in congress are no better. yesterday the senate gop blocked an extension of unemployment benefits that would have helped 1.3 million americans. instead of showing remorse the gop is indignant.
>> the american people continue to ask the question, where are the jobs? and the fact is the president has taken his eye off of the ball, off of the issue of jobs. >> the president has taken his eye off the ball? republicans are the ones tanking the economy. and maybe that's part of the plan. the hill reports the gop plans to use the economy as a mid term weapon. that's right. they're exploiting the bad problems they caused. no wonder this president is taking matters into his own hands. >> long term the challenge of making sure everybody who works hard can get ahead in today's economy is so important that we can't wait for congress to solve it. where i can act on my own without congress i'm going to do so. >> the president will act. thank goodness because republicans certainly won't. joining me now is joy reed
and jared burnstein. isn't it ironic that republicans are asking where are the jobs? >> it is ironic because as you suggested in your introduction when the president has introduced very direct job plans you and i probably remember the american jobs act. that was talking about infrastructure investment and helping some of the states get ahead. of course, that never came for a vote. and today was a good example. the president is down there in north carolina talking about a manufacturing consortium that will help move out of a laboratory on to the industry floor of the factory. almost everyone of our competitors in an advanced economy has this arrangement to help move innovation, by the way which starts here in america and they take it there and figure
out a way to do it more efficiently. private/public partnerships, things republicans ought to be embracing. >> the gop cuts, cuts, cuts mentality is stopping the economy from getting going. for example, last year the private sector created more than 2.2 million jobs but the public sector lost 27,000. >> right. i mean, the president consistently points out that the private sector grew 8 million jobs. sure, that's where the private sector constraint has come. republicans have talked a lot about deficit reduction. in fact, there has been quite a biof it. now that the deficit reduction is kind of off of the agenda they don't have anything to talk
about. >> rush limbaugh attacked the president saying the president will use whatever he can. >> he might have a pen and he might have a phone. but what he does not have is the constitutional power to run this country like a dictator. and yet that's exactly what it sounds like. >> a dictator to use his executive powers? >> i love that you call rush limbaugh the head of the republican party because in a practical sense that is actually true. the republican party is governed by its media industrial complex. the media way really drives the policy a. the reality is that republicans have not had an actual incentive to help spur job growth or spur the economic growth over the last five years. when president obama first came in their prime drekive was to
make sure he was not reelected. the if you want to be completely cynical about motivation they had a motivation to do the opposite. how upset republicans could get every time the unemployment number ticks downward would say it is a fraud. they are really married to the idea that barack obama is a dictator and president obama is the worst thing in the world. they have an incentive to make the country fail so he will fail. with their base and re-elects coming up their incentive is exactly the same. they are running against president obama. >> you said with deficit going off the table they don't have anything. it reminds me of this politico report that says, quote,
republicans have come to the realization that being against the president at every turn isn't sustainable. they have to bash obama's policies, but also say what they would do differently. besides being against the president, has the gop outlined any plans of their own? >> no. i mean, i think -- we have discussed this before. when it comes to political bashing they have a tremendous amount of energy. when it comes to kind of pro growth economic policies all they typically talk about is lowering the budget deficit and cutting taxes. the budget deficit has fallen far. joy reminded me of something pretty interesting. one of the things they have said is that the unemployment rate has come down far enough that they don't need to extend unemployment benefits. the unemployment rate has come down. economy is getting better. then they turn around and say
has president obama screwed up this economy. nothing is getting better. >> and you know, joy, the president was in north carolina today. this is a state that shows how unfair the gop economic policies are. as of this year the state has given millionaires a $10,000 tax cut by raising taxes on the poorest 900,000 families. >> i think that for a lot of the country they look at numbers like the ones you just showed. it seems confounding. for the republicans in the house in particular and increasingly in the senate their political incentives are driven only by concerns about the base. mid term elections are base elections and not so much concerned about independents. i disagree that they have any incentive to try to grow the economy. because with their own base the only things they really do care
about and that really unite them is hatred of president obama and the mania of cutting spending. >> i am going to have to leave it there. thank you very much. thanks for your time this evening. >> you're welcome. >> coming up chris christie's idol bruce springsteen, the boss, has a new song for the governor. that's next. [ female announcer ] who are we? we are the thinkers. the job jugglers. the up all-nighters. and the ones who turn ideas into action. we've made our passions our life's work. we strive for the moments where we can say, "i did it!" ♪ we are entrepreneurs who started it all... with a signature. legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses, turning dreamers into business owners.
governor christie might be thinking about the glory days way back before the bridge scandal began. he is a huge bruce springsteen fan. he has been to at least 130 shows. here is one song from the boss and jimmy fallon that must have really hurt. ♪ chris christie for traffic jam ♪ ♪ drivers with no place left to go ♪ ♪ and the press conference went on and on ♪ ♪ it was longer than one of my own shows ♪ ♪ someday governor i don't know when this will all end but until then you're killing the working
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so when coverage really counts, count on nationwide insurance. we put members first. join the nation. ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ today would have been martin luther king jr.'s 85th birthday. gist this week a county republican announced they were raffling off an assault rifle saying in celebrating these two men and the denial of rights they fought so hard against. we have started our third ralph for an ar-15 rifle.
gop groups put up billboards claiming dr. king was a republican. that is not true. he was nonpartisan. he wrote, quote, the republican party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction and extremism. but today right wingers invoke dr. king's name to justify their own agenda. on this show last year a gop congressman invoked dr. king's name to justify attacking obamacare. >> as a civil rights leader for years and years and years i'm sure you agree sometimes the supreme court makes a mistake. it was good to martin luther king to persist in fighting even though for years and years the civil rights side had lost those fights. >> in life, dr. king they tried many times to destroy you,
smearing your name. now they try to distort you. some of us will not allow the distortions to go unanswered. some of us will keep fighting. some of us remember you said it is not the words of my enemies but the silence of my friends that will be remembered. thanks for watching. happy birthday, dr. king. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the battle of ft lee. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. the web begins to tighten as the investigators of the new jersey governor select a council and move towards the issue of