New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took questions Monday about the “Bridgegate” scandal following a new accusation from a Port Authority official. And nearly a month after first addressing the topic, his main point was the same.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Christie said in an interview with local radio station NJ 101.5. “No knowledge, no authorization, no planning, nothing.”
Christie did not specifically address the claims made by David Wildstein, a Port Authority official whose lawyer said last week that there’s evidence Christie knew about lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as they happened in September.
But on Monday, Christie repeatedly said he had no part in the plot. He recounted how he learned of the scandal, saying he was told the lanes were closed for a traffic study and that he knew nothing about political revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich until he read about it in The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 8.
In fact, Christie said, he still does not know if a traffic study was done.
“I still don’t know whether there was a traffic study that morphed into some political shenanigans,” he said. “Or did it start as some political shenanigans that turned into a traffic study?”
Christie has emphatically insisted that information about lane closures would not have made it up to his office and that his aides could have taken the action entirely without his knowledge. He immediately fired Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff, after news of the scheme broke.
When asked by interviewer Eric Scott about how his office could have sought retribution against a mayor without his knowledge, Christie reiterated that he delegated enough authority so that he would not have known anything about traffic issues.
“Let’s face it, Eric. There’s traffic every day,” he said.
Christie also said the media has focused more than the public on the scandal, a point somewhat validated by the fact that no listeners called in with more questions on the lane-closings. He answered questions on a wide range of topics, including pension reform, income taxes, and landlord complaints.
Despite doubts about Christie’s political future, including his chances in the 2016 presidential election, Christie said he’s confident that he’s still popular among New Jersey voters.
“They know the truth,” Christie said. “They know me. They just reelected me resoundingly.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."