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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 21, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PST

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and theatrics of it. roman oben, tara, and dave from the nation, thank you all. that is all in for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> i have taken to watching football the same way i watch horror movies. >> particularly the navarro play, that was really -- ugh. >> thanks, man. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. new jersey is the most densely populated state in the united states of america. people are more on top of each other in new jersey than in any other american state. of the top ten most densely populated cities and towns in this country, seven of the ten are in new jersey. and the combination of that population density and the very unlucky aim of a very large storm, the largest american -- excuse me, the largest atlantic hurricane ever recorded, that is why the impact of superstorm sandy on new jersey,
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specifically, was so devastating. sandy affected every state on the eastern seaboard. it caused fatalities as far south as haiti and as far north as canada. sandy sent a storm surge flooding through new york city, the biggest city in the nation, and essentially turned the lights off in new york for a very long time. but when it comes to new jersey, it was something different. sandy just punched the state of new jersey right in the face. and from the very beginning, it was clear that densely populated little hoboken, new jersey, one of the most densely populated cities in the nation, 50,000 people living in basically one square mile, all right up on the mighty tidal flow of the hudson river that swelled and surged and overflowed in that storm, from the very beginning, it was clear that the little city of hoboken, new jersey, was in trouble. >> reporter: 20,000 people trapped, hoboken became a virtual island, as 500 million gallons of water overwhelmed
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this square mile town. by wednesday morning, the national guard showed up in force, rescuing the elderly trapped inside their homes, and delivering much-needed food and supplies to those still stranded. >> one thing that we truly need, we need more fuel. >> reporter: hoboken mayor, dawn zimmer. >> we need more food, we need more resources. so anyone who's listening to this in the city of hoboken or neighboring towns who can get to us, we ask you to come and deliver your supplies. >> that was from "nbc nightly news" on halloween night, which was a few days after sandy had hit. i got to say, though, personally, i vividly remember our coverage of the storm making landfall as it hit. and, specifically, of the flooding and the rescue efforts in hoboken, because the most harrowing live report that we had during that storm was from hoboken, while we were live on the phone with hoboken mayor, dawn zimmer, and she told us something that we had no idea about, before she told us live on the air. watch this.
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can you tell us at this hour, what's the state of things in hoboken? have you still got deep flooding? are you still doing rescues at this point? >> we still have severe flooding in the city of hoboken. probably half our city is flooded. we have, there's probably about 20,000 people that still remain in their homes, and you know, we're trying to, you know, we're trying to put together an evacuation plan, get the equipment here, trying to, you know, ask the national guard to come in and help us and bring the equipment that we absolutely need. you know, the payloaders aren't doing it, we can't get down some of the city streets and really concerned about some of the residents stranded in their homes right now. and we've had emergency situations and we just can't reach people. we've got the p.a. systems, but of course, their chargers on their phones have run out, so just very concerned. >> is it a matter of being able to find people who are stranded, or is it a matter that you know where people are, but you physically can't get to them
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either because the equipment doesn't exist or it hasn't gotten there? >> we know where they are. they're in their buildings and half of hoboken is literally flooded and underwater. so, yeah, we don't have the -- we have two payloaders and we're going in when we get the calls and trying to go in where we can to help people, but the payloader cannot -- we have small city streets and payloaders can't fit down all the city streets. and that's the only vehicles we have to get down city streets. and i'm worried, we have live wires in the waters and the waters are completely contaminated and getting more contaminated every minute, really, because the sewage system was completely flooded out. it's rainwater mixed with sewage water. it's becoming more sewage water. >> just to be clear, in terms of getting the word out nationally, and i think it needs to be underscored, this is not a situation that's in the past, where hoboken went through something bad and you're now reflecting on it, this is ongoing in hoboken.
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just to be clear, mayor zimmer, how many people do you think are still stranded in hoboken? >> i would say about 20 to 25,000 people are still stranded in hoboken. >> 20 to 25,000 people, stuck, right there, unable to get out. that was one of the most memorable moments, in a bad way, that we have ever had on this show. the realization, in the middle of these rescue efforts, with a stopper that is over, but the realization in the middle of the rescue efforts that this was a city mayor, not just giving us information about what had happened in her town, but letting us know about 20,000, 25,000 americans, in need of help, right then, live, in the moment, who were not getting it. now, within two hours of that interview, in fact, the national guard did start to arrive on scene in hoboken, to start to help. this was the report we were able to do the next day. at 11:01 p.m. last night, the city of hoboken sent out this tweet. the national guard has arrived. specifically, the second battalion of the 13th infantry,
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with 12 vehicles able to make it through hoboken's narrow streets and deep floodwaters to begin assessing the city's needs. their first priority was getting the most vulnerable people in the city who were still trapped on to dry ground, and then figuring out who to help next. with daylight, another look at the devastation from the air revealed just how much there was to do. roughly half of that city is still underwater. one stranded resident showing what that looked like from his doorstep. the national guard spent today driving these high water vehicles through the flooded streets, rescuing stranded people. yes, some people rescued with their pets, their very large pets. getting folks to friends or to emergency shelters that were set up in a couple of churches. other stranded residents were able today to hitch rides out on boats. in the dry side of the city, neighbors were banding together. people who still had electricity created makeshift cell phone charging stations for their neighbors to use while everyone still waits for the floodwaters to recede. this is ongoing. hoboken had a really hard time in superstorm sandy.
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so did a lot of new jersey, but hoboken was right up there. "the star-ledger" and propublica collaborated to try to count the damage done. they counted the number of buildings of houses, businesses, any kind of structure that were just affected by the storm or that sustained minor damage in the storm or that sustained major damage, or that were destroyed. and, of course, the townships where the most buildings were totally destroyed were the towns that were right up on the shore, right up against the atlantic, and took that huge storm surge full face. but look at who had the most buildings to sustain major damage in the storm. number one, for the whole state, is hoboken. it's a terrible distinction, in terms of the number of buildings that were still standing after sandy, but that sustained major damage in the storm. it's a terrible distinction, but nowhere else in new jersey was anywhere near hoboken. more than 1,200 buildings with major damage. they just got craned.
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and it felt like it at the time. it was the anecdotal experience of the people who were there and saw it happened. and it was borne out after. today, after the mayor of hoboken said that she was told that sandy relief funds were at least partially contingent on that mayor supporting a private development project in hoboken that was important to the chris christie administration, after she made those allegations this weekend, today, the christie administration responded to the hoboken mayor by denying the mayor's allegations, by saying that hoboken was never shortchanged in its sandy relief funds for any reason. and, besides, according to the office of governor chris christie, quote, hoboken was just not one of the state's hardest hit communities. that's part of the pushback from the christie administration against these explosive new allegations from the hoboken mayor that were first exposed here on msnbc on saturday morning by steve kornacki.
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part of their reporting is that hoboken just didn't need that much help. mr. kornacki reported new claims on saturday morning, from hoboken mayor, dawn zimmer, that during one week in may, this past may, right after the mayor had complained to governor christie office that hoboken was not receiving enough help after sandy, the mayor says within days of her making that complaint in writing to the governor, two separate members of the christie administration, two separate members of his cabinet, the lieutenant governor and the commission of community affairs, both communicated to her that sandy money would start flowing to her city, if she moved to expedite a private redevelopment project in hoboken, that was working its way through channels. watch. >> please, governor, zimmer wrote in a letter when these decisions came down, we need your help. i have assured hoboken residents that we would be treated fairly, because you have always treated hoboken fairly.
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zimmer says there was no response to that letter, but note the date. may 8th of last year. that was the same day the hoboken planning board did not adopt the redevelopment recommendation for the rockefeller property. and then, two days later, mayor zimmer got a call. the lieutenant governor, kim guadagno, wanted to come to town to do an event at a shop rite, to talk about businesses that had recovered from the storm. so they set that out. and on may 15th, there they were, kim guadagno and dawn zimmer at the hoboken shoprite. you can see them in the picture. zimmer has told us that guadagno pulled her aside during that visit and delivered a message to her. if you want that sandy money, you need to get that rockefeller project moving, because it's very important to the governor. that's what dawn zimmer, the mayor of hoboken, told us that kim guadagno told her that day. and she's not just saying it to us now, because she says when it happened, she was so shocked, that she wrote it down in her personal diary, which she has shared with us. and here is how she describes
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the threat guadagno made in an entry in that diary, dated may 17th. quoting from it, at the end of a big tour of shoprite, she pulls me aside with no one else around and tells me i need to move forward with the rockefeller project. it is very important to the governor. the word is you are against it and you need to move it forward or we are not going to be able to help you. i know it's not right, these things should not be connected, but they are, she says. if you tell anyone i said that, i will deny it. this is what the mayor of hoboken says chris christie's lieutenant governor told her that day. zimmer's diary entry goes on to add that guadagno told her, quote, i don't know all the details, but i was with the governor on friday night, and all i know is that the impression is that you are against this project and you have to move it forward. >> that was from steve kornacki's show here on msnbc on saturday morning. mayor zimmer of hoboken went on that day to do a follow-up interview with the star ledger newspaper in new jersey, where she repeated the claims. she then did another long
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interview on sunday on cnn, where she repeated her claims. the christie administration vociferously denies these allegations. the commissioner of community affairs has called them not only false, but absurd, saying, quote, i welcome a full and thorough law enforcement review of her libelous claims. the law firm who was involved in these negotiations, the law firm of david samson has also issued a categorical denial. and then today, with governor christie himself still out of town in florida, the lieutenant governor herself denounced the hoboken mayor and said, effectively, yes, the two of them talked about issues in hoboken, but it was nothing like the mayor said it was. >> i am not going to take any questions. i will repeat that. i am not going to take any questions. you know there are ongoing inquiries. i think, i'm sure, all the facts will come out at the appropriate time.
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but right now, i think in short, you need to hear me say this out loud, and i will. in short, mayor zimmer's version of our conversation in may of 2013 is not only false, but the illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined. any suggestion, any suggestion that sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in new jersey is completely false. i am very surprised by the mayor's allegations and i deny, wholeheartedly, those allegations. i proudly support and will continue to support the creation of jobs in hoboken and all of new jersey, and i will continue to work on those projects.
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but i'm going to end, and i mean end, by reemphasizing one thing. i deny any suggestion made by mayor zimmer that there was ever any condition placed on the release of sandy funds by me. i want to thank you all for coming out, for giving me the opportunity to speak. i look forward to the inquiries. i am sure, absolutely sure, all of the facts will come out. thank you very much. >> lieutenant governor -- >> and as promised, she took no questions. for her part, the mayor of hoboken is not backing down one inch. she released this statement after those words from the lieutenant governor. mayor zimmer said, quote, i'm genuinely disappointed that the lieutenant governor has lived up to her promise that she would deny linking hoboken's
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application for sandy hazard mission funding with expediting a private development project. she says, i stand by my word. i remain willing to testify under oath. the mayor also says that on sunday, yesterday, she says she spent more than two hours meeting with the u.s. attorney's office in new jersey, the federal prosecutor who was started an inquiry on the bridge issue in new jersey. mayor zimmer says the meeting was at the request of the u.s. attorney. she said that she has not only answered all of the u.s. attorney's questions thus far, but that she also handed over her personal diary. she handed over her journal to the prosecutors. that was her contemporaneous accounting of what happened back in may when she said those two members of the christie cabinet, effectively, shook her down for sandy relief money. the claims from the hoboken mayor are explosive. if proven, they could potentially be even more damaging than the allegations around the shutting down of lanes on to the george washington bridge.
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not only because the alleged shakedown here would be, itself, an egregious abuse of public power for private ends, but also because the handling of sandy, and the recovery effort is something that governor christie expects to be central to his national appeal as a politician with national aspirations. sandy is supposed to be where governor chris christie rose above politics, where he put petty conflict and transactional politics aside for the good of his state. the idea of malfeasance around the sandy recovery, specifically, that is a more damaging political accusation than anything the governor's staff meted out to poor ft. lee, new jersey, and its access to that bridge. but right now it's the mayor's allegations against the administration's vehement denials. >> i would be more than willing to testify under oath and answer any questions and provide any
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documents, take a lie detector test, and my question back to them is, would all of you be willing to do that same thing? to testify under oath? to take a lie detector test? >> how does this issue get resolved? and is this a whole new separate investigation of the christie administration apart from the bridge fiasco? or does this dovetail? is this the same thing? the man leading the select committee on investigations in the new jersey assembly joins us next. stay with us. if you can clear a crowd but not your nasal congestion, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec-d®. powerful relief of nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms -- all in one pill. zyrtec-d®. at the pharmacy counter.
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i would be more than willing to testify, under oath, and answer any questions and provide any documents, take a lie detector test, and you know, my question back to them is, would all of you? >> mayor zimmer's version of our conversation in may of 2013 is not only false, but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined. >> you hear this charge by the hoboken mayor. how much weight do you give it at this point? >> mayor zimmer is a serious voice, a well-respected voice in new jersey. i think the committee needs to look at facts, hear her story, look at the e-mails, and consider where we go next. >> joining me now, john wisniewski, the chairman of the new jersey assembly select committee on investigation. thanks for being here. >> thanks, rachel. >> i have to ask your first
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reaction upon hearing these new allegations from the mayor of hoboken. did you have any advanced notice they were coming? were they a surprise to you? >> my reaction was, wow! i mean, those are very serious charges that mayor zimmer has leveled. we don't know all of the facts that surround it. it's curious that the lieutenant governor and her response admitted that there was a conversation, because she said mayor zimmer's version of the conversation was false. so, at least we have agreement that there was a conversation, but what we don't really know are all the details about it, all the nuance. and i think, that's an important part. i know that as chair of the committee, i get asked the question, is this what the committee will pick up next? we are still working on following our leads, the trail that took us to the governor's office on the george washington bridge. we need to look at these issues carefully, these new issues with hoboken, and make a decision going forward after talking with council and getting some of the facts and meetings, perhaps, with mayor zimmer, to understand how this interplays with what
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we're doing, if at all. >> i was just going to say, specifically on the remit of your investigation, the language that was used to create the committee that you now chair talks about the abuse of governmental power, attempts to conceal the abuse of governmental power. are those specific to the shutdown of the lanes on the bridge, or are you looking at abuses of government power that might be unrelated matters? >> in theory, they arise from the bridge, but it's very broad. and so we can follow abuse of government power and the attempt to conceal that abuse wherever it may lie. i think what we want it to be very clear when we adopt that resolution, or we have the debate on the floor of the assembly that day is that the granting of the power to the committee is not basically a blind check where every time something comes in front of the committee, we're just going to go look at that and look at another issue. we're going to consider what happened here in hoboken. we're going to first consider it by looking at mayor zimmer's
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statement, perhaps having a conversation with her, looking at the documents, getting all the facts, and then deciding whether it's something that the committee ought to be addressing, because we know that she sat down with the federal authorities. and we also are very mindful that we don't want to start intruding in something that they're actively investigating. >> in terms of, you mentioned the vote to create the committee that you chair, and essentially, to further this investigation, to give you subpoena authority that lasts beyond what it otherwise would have expired, that was a unanimous vote in the assembly. every republican in the assembly looked for it. since then, specifically, over the weekend and today, republicans in the assembly have started to change their mind. after new york city mayor rudy giuliani said that you have a partisan bias and you should step down from this investigation, the top republican in the assembly said the investigation should be called off entirely in favor of just letting the u.s. attorney handle it. what's your response to those developments? >> well, i think it really goes back to the old saw, if you can't beat the message, if you can't address the message, which
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is an e-mail that shows wrongdoing in the governor's office is, try to beat the messenger. this has become accusations leveled at me that i'm somehow biased or predetermined the outcome. what i've said is i found the governor's statement that he did not know about any of this until january 8th, i just find it hard to accept. i'm not saying that he ordered it, i'm not saying he sent the e-mail to bridgette kelly, saying, hey, this would be a good idea. but for him to say that he didn't know until january 8th, when all of his senior people in the midst of a re-election campaign knew about it, just doesn't make sense. >> in terms of what happens next, do you expect that this is now going to become a more partisan fight and you will lose the support you've had thus far from republicans in trenton as you move forward with the investigation? will it become partisan, because they've called it partisan? >> that's entirely up to them. we've tried to work this investigation step by step, look at each fact, take it to the next logical conclusion. if they want to choose to make this partisan, that's on them.
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we're not trying to do that. >> new jersey assemblyman john wisniewski, who chairs the new jersey assembly select committee on investigation in these matters, you have a lot of work ahead of you. thank you for being us. >> thank you, rachel. as of steve kornacki oclock on saturday morning, the huge political story out of new jersey became the two huge political stories out of new jersey. there does, though, remain one huge unanswered questions that's at the root of all of this. and that big unanswered question is coming up. stay with us.
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governor chris christie of new jersey gets inaugurated for his second term of governor tomorrow. which is amazing in itself. we've got one more development on that story tonight, which i have to tell you directly concerns msnbc. also, some important and strange news out of virginia and out of west virginia, still to come. stay with us. we use this board to compare car insurance rates side by side, so you get the same coverage, often for less. [ rattling ] that's one smart board. what else does it do -- reverse gravity? [ chuckles ] split atoms? [ whoooosh! ]
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this is fuzzy. justice fuzzy, actually. justice fuzzy is the newest member of the new jersey state supreme court. he had his ceremonial swearing in on friday. at the swearing in, you can see governor chris christie there in the background, looking on as justice fuzzy takes his oath. to be clear, justice fuzzy is not his real name. people call him fuzzy, with his permission. and you have to admit, that's kind of awesome, even if you know nothing else about him. this is how the chief justice of the new jersey supreme court introduced the new justice at his swearing in. >> so many of fuzzy's friends have come from near and far,
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many have been mentioned, others not yet been covered, and we're particularly honored that fuzzy's family is here in attendance today. >> for the record, the nickname has nothing to do, as far as we can tell, with any actual fuzz, nor is it a reference to being more warm and fuzzy than the average bear. although people do seem to think the justice is a nice guy. the reason new jersey's newest supreme court justice is called fuzzy is because he idolized a green bay packers called fred thurston, who everyone called fuzzy. and as it turns out, justice fernandez viniz swearing in on friday is one of the trailing ends of a huge political fight in new jersey, a political fight that has been given new attention, at least, if not new
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life, because of its proximity to the still unexplained bridge lanes shutdown scandal that has been unraveling new jersey over the course of the last couple of weeks. justice fernandes is the first supreme court nominee chosen by governor chris christie, who's actually been confirmed by the new jersey senate, in two years. he's the first christie nominee to get through since a huge political fight broke out back in 2010. that's when chris christie, shortly after his became governor, took the unprecedented step of declining to reappoint a sitting judge to the state supreme court, because he did not think the state supreme court was conservative enough. that judge he took off the court also happened to be the only african-american justice on the court at the time. democrats were furious with the new governor christie for kicking justice john wallace off the supreme court, kicking a sitting justice off the supreme court is something that no governor of new jersey had ever done before in the history of that state's constitution. democrats decided to retaliate
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by refusing to confirm christie nominees to that supreme court, one after another after another. it has been a very, very bitter fight. look at the headline here. war between governor christie and senate, threatens justice itself, experts say. well, that war that threatened justice itself, one of the biggest battles in that war happened last summer. specifically, in august, specifically on monday, august 12th. monday, august 12th, 2013. that was the day that governor christie announced that for the second time in new jersey state history, he would be pulling another sitting justice off the supreme court, except this time, it wasn't another democratic appointee who he wanted to take off the court to make the court more conservative. this time, in frustration, governor christie announced that he would pull off the court a republican state supreme court justice, who he very much liked. he said he would rather have her off the supreme court than have her renomination subjected to
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new jersey senate democrats. new jersey senate democrats, who he called animals for the way they had held up his nominees. >> i simply could not be party to the destruction of helen holmes' professional reputation. and the only way for he to guarantee that being avoided was to make sure that i didn't put justice holmes in that position. that's not the way i deal with people that i respect and admire and i was not going to let her loose to the animals. wasn't going to let it happen. >> that was late in the day, monday, august 12th, 2013. a fed up governor chris christie calling senate democrats animals and yanking a serving supreme court justice off the bench, saying he would not party to the destruction of her reputation. the very next morning, at 7:34 a.m., on tuesday, august 13th, the governor's deputy chief of staff sent this e-mail. time for some traffic problems in ft. lee. to which a christie ally on the port authority responded, got it. and that, apparently, put
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everything in motion. right, for the purposeful, man-made gridlock of ft. lee, new jersey, which started with shutting down some lanes on the george washington bridge, was which lasted for more than four days. did the events of that previous afternoon have anything to do with that e-mail the next morning? that time for some traffic problems in ft. lee e-mail, when the governor got so mad at senate democrats that he called them animals, and he ended the judicial career of a judge who he respected and admired. did his administration decide the next morning to take out the their frustration on the leader of the senate democrats? who happens to represent ft. lee, in the new jersey state senate? is that a plausible explanation for why the governor's deputy chief of staff appears to have ordered up that gridlock for ft. lee? is that a plausible explanation? i don't know. neither do you. only the people who ordered the bridge shutdown know why they did it. when steve kornacki this weekend broke the story of hoboken mayor
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dawn zimmer and her claim that two members of governor christie's cabinet told her that hoboken might find they get easier access to sandy relief funds if she helped along a project in her city, a project that was important to the governor, when steve broke the story of those allegations from the hoboken mayor on saturday morning, this was how the governor's office responded. "the facts behind msnbc's false sandy claims." the initial response from the governor's office was to dismiss those allegations from the hoboken mayor on the basis of the fact that those allegations were aired on this network. the governor's office included our report on the coincident timing of the new jersey supreme court dispute, as part of the reason why nobody should believe the mayor of hoboken and the latest allegations, because we raised that question. we raised a purely speculative theory that the bridge closings might be tied to the supreme court nominees. to quote governor christie's
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spokesman, it's a purely speculative. yes, it is pure speculation. and it has always been presented as such by us and by me. we presented that theory as a way to get at the most important and as yet, totally unexplained question still at the center of this unfolding scandal, which is why, what is a plausible explanation for this? why did whoever ordered those lanes closed order those lanes closed? was it the popular but also purely speculative theory that it was the mayor of ft. lee, not endorsing chris christie? nobody's proved that, at all. and the governor has denied that outright. well, if it wasn't that, what was it? saying it was about the mayor not endorsing in ft. lee, that is also speculation. if that was not it and governor christie says, that was not it, then it was something else that caused the governor's deputy chief of staff on the morning of august 14th to call for some traffic problems in ft. lee. the question of why matters. governor christie's office has tried to shame people for asking what the reason might plausibly
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have been. but they have offered zero explanation of their own. they say it wasn't the endorsement. why did chris christie's deputy chief of staff send that e-mail? during christie's apologetic press conference on the closing of the bridge, he said he did not ask his deputy chief of staff why she sent that e-mail, why she apparently ordered the shutdown of those bridge lanes. he said he was not interested in whatever explanation she had to offer. >> i have not had any conversation with bridget kelly since the e-mail came out. so she was not given to me the explanation to me why she lied, it was so obvious that she had. and i'm quite frankly not interested in the explanation at the moment. >> he was shot interested in the explanation at the moment, maybe he was just mad. but we still don't know if governor christie is interested in the explanation now. so far, nobody on his side has offered any explanation whatsoever as to why this happened.
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what was the trigger? and until that question is answered, people are going to keep asking what the answer might plausibly be. even if governor christie's spokesman prefers we stop doing that and attacks us when we do. joining us, alton dollman. congratulations to your paper in its role in breaking this story nationally and locally. the christie administration has not offered an alternate explanation as to what may have caused the bridge shutdown. is he not curious on purpose? is he sort of not allowed to be curious on this, because that might impede the investigation? >> i think at this point, he's not curious on purpose. i mean, you've got a former u.s. attorney he's, i would think, a pretty smart lawyer. he's faced with a challenge. i mean, there's a u.s. attorney looking into this. i think, at this point, if you start bringing people into your office, you're probably also going to find yourself giving testimony in a trial. the bigger question is, why
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didn't he ask those kinds of questions some time before the record broke the story and in between, at least when mr. wildstein and mr. baroni, the two high-ranking folks at the port authority of new york and new jersey, left their jobs. if you didn't believe it was anything more than a traffic study in september, which is plausible, and you didn't think it was anything more than political posturing in october, which is still plausible, at the point that your two top guys at the port authority leave their jobs, not because they have a great opportunity at, say, another cable network, that he might like, the only conclusion would be, then, that maybe there's something more there. and that's really when most people, even supporters of the governor would say, why didn't you ask him hard questions. and i think that's a problem for the governor. he's run this supposedly very tight, tight ship, where he's supposedly in charge of everything. and now we have to believe, well, i really wasn't in charge of everything. there were other people that i gave enough trust to that i was comfortable that they did what they wanted to do and it was
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going to represent me. clearly, if we believe the governor, they didn't represent him. >> the governor is also on the record from that press conference saying, nobody on his senior staff had any knowledge of what was happening on that bridge, until it was all over. and we now know that's not true, because of the documents that were released by the assembly. and so the governor is on record having said something that isn't true, and so, i would feel like he at least has to clear that up in terms of maintaining his own credibility on the subject. but on the issue of who dun it, essentially, it seems to me, and i guess i just want your opinion on this, it seems to me that you have to know why this was done in order to start to even find the trail of who might have done it. >> right, this is an illogical thing. i don't think there's any scenario, anything that's played out where one could say, closing two local lanes to the gdb is a good idea. there's nothing that that makes
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sense. the only way that would be a good idea if people at the port authority wanted to get back to the people at the port authority. and it's my guess that the democrats and republicans do that every day. that part is totally illogical. i think there's a little more sexiness to the possibility that it's something big, like land development. that would be more new jersey. you would expect it would be about land development, and you would hope that someone's wearing a wire in this whole story. the political playback is a possibility. it just seems so implausible, but this is an illogical story, that the mayor of ft. lee, who's not exactly, you know, the big prize. i put in a column, he's more the cracker jack prize, no offense to the mayor, but he's not a big player. getting his endorsement or not getting his endorsement, doesn't really move the needle one way or the other. there are people who say, bill steppian, who was his campaign manager, had his trust, was very much his right-hand man, you know, would very much be like
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scooter libby to a dick cheney, which didn't turn out rather well, he could have spoken for the governor. and people could have believed that. steppian could have, pun intended, overstepped. but he's supposedly a very smart man. why would you close -- >> do something this big and potentially exposable for such a small prize? >> right. >> yes. the central at the center of this. which i think it is -- i respect the governor's efforts to push back and to try to make the people who are reporting on this story the story, but i've got to say, until i offer some sort of plausible explanation for what they did, everybody's going to keep trying to figure out what the answer is, in the press, and on tv, and everywhere else, everybody's talking about this. alfred doblin, congratulations to the folks at your paper and thanks for being here. >> thanks very much. and then there's a guy named bob mcdonnell. if bob mcdonnell fell in the forest right now, would anybody hear it? if you wear a denture,
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around lunch time two thursdays ago, thursday january 9th, about a week and a half ago, right? the west virginia american water company got word that something had gone wrong. that company provides drinking water to more than half a million west virginians. but that thursday the 9th they
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were informed that something had contaminated the water supply. hours earlier there had been a chemical spill in the elk river near a quarter treatment facility and the water company did not know exactly which chemical had spilled but they apparently started working under the assumption that the chemical that spilled is a chemical that was commonly used in water treatment. the president of the water company said in a news conference that day that his company was "fairly confident" that they could treat the chemical. when asked what might happen if someone drank the contaminated water he said "it's not particularly lethal in its usage form." but that afternoon the water company learned that they got the chemical wrong. it was not a chemical used in water treatment. instead it was a chemical used in the processing of coal, which had been leaking from a storage facility along the river. that night about six hours after first discovering the leak the water company in the state of west virginia issued a do not use order for the water. the chemical leak had contaminated the water supply for 300,000 people in nine counties.
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after four days of being instructed not to use their tap water for anything that was not flushing toilets or putting out fires, on monday of last week the water company and the state started lifting the do not use order in phases. residents were told to flush the water through the pipes in their houses. they used -- they released this how to flush your plumbing system guide from the water company. once everybody successfully flushed their water systems to the point where water from the taps would have only trace amounts of the chemical, then everybody got told you're all free to drink the water. all clear. or not. on wednesday, two days after saying the water was okay to drink, the directive changed. pregnant women were cautioned not to drink the water at all until it was completely free of the chemical. even small traces of it were not okay for pregnant women. they said on wednesday.
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after monday saying it's okay to drink it. so hey, pregnant women, undrink all the water that you drank over the last two days, and unbrush your teeth as well. sorry. that was the word as of wednesday. then as of friday the water company announced that all of the water had been properly flushed, the water was ready to be consumed everywhere that had previously been affected, blue on this map means it is drinkable. that same day, though, friday, residents in putnam county, west virginia, whose water got the okay for drinking days before, they started complaining that the water still smelled of chemicals. one man said, "i tried it this morning before daylight and it was undrinkable." despite what the company had said, tests revealed that residents in putnam county were right, their water was not okay to drink.
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and a new do not use ban was issued in that county on friday. after all of this was supposed to be fixed. it has now been a week and a half since the chemical spill knocked out water for 300,000 west virginians. and while there are still unanswered questions this thing is still going on. there's no hindsight. there are still pressing questions about whether the water there is safe to drink now. as the days have stretched on more and more people have reported getting sick from exposure to this chemical. as of this weekend 411 people have been treated at ten west virginia hospitals for reported chemical exposure. and while the governor's office has been busy trying to downplay the increase in hospitalizations, attributing it to the flu season and virus season, patients have been doctor recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 8 straight years. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn.
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virginia governor bob mcdonnell's last day in office was last saturday. in december right around christmas time the "washington post" reported that the federal prosecutor who has been investigating governor mcdonnell had informed him and his lawyers that criminal charges are going
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to be filed against governor mcdonnell. bob mcdonnell will be criminally indicted. but merry christmas, according to the "washington post," prosecutors decided to wait until the governor was out of office before they brought those charges. well, he's now out of office nine days. was the "washington post" right? are those criminal charges forthcoming? i don't know. and neither do you. but apparently, governor bob mcdonnell has been asking top virginia legislators. he asked the tom democrat in the senate and the top republican in the state assembly to call the u.s. attorney's office on his behalf to "attest to his character." according to new reporting from the post today, these two legislators did try to make the call to the prosecutor. they got together and called the u.s. attorney's office and left a message about how much they like bob mcdonnell. but sadly for bob mcdonnell, the u.s. attorney declined to speak with them. the bob mcdonnell scandal of
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course involves him accepting well over $100,000 in cash and expensive gifts from a virginia businessman who received what appears to be fairly lavish attention and even promotional help from the governor and his wife while they were in office. and this case has been lurid and strange from the beginning. but consider also, consider now this latest development, consider how weird it is in any federal criminal care, let alone a public corruption case. for the suspect to try to lobby the prosecutor to make the prosecutor think you're an okay guy. that's usually the kind of thing that happens once you're convicted. it affects how you get sentence, whether you're sentenced to a nicer prison. it's not the kind of thing you do to keep yourself from getting indicted in the first place. but it appears to be what's happening in virginia right now. nothing about the bob mcdonnell gift scandal or its timing has been normal or predictable from the very, very beginning of this scandal. in this one we're just going to have to wait and see. it was apparently federal prosecutors at the department of justice in washington who convinced the local u.s.
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attorney in virginia that he had to wait and sit on these charges until governor mcdonnell is out of office. weird enough decision in the good tuesday morning. winter plunge. major snow and frigid temperatures are ahead. bill karins will have the details in a few minutes. black widows, russian security officials are searching for suicide bombers that may be planning an attack on the olympics. and embattled governor. new jersey's chris christie prepares to be sworn in today for a second term. plus, a shooter remains at large at a college student fights for his life. is pope frances about to loosen up on reforms for the catholic church? and the growing halo effect of the sun dog. all right. it


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