A new Quinnipiac University poll in New Jersey (Jan. 10-13; 1,207 RVs; +/- 2.8%) finds that 55% of New Jersey voters approve of the way Gov. Chris Christie (R) is handling his job, down from 68% last July. When asked if Christie is honest and trustworthy, 51% said he was while 41% said he was not. Of those who were familiar with the bridge controversy, 41% said they think Christie was aware his aides were orchestrating the traffic jam in Fort Lee last September compared to 50 percent who said they believe his aides acted alone. (release)
CHRISTIE: STATE OF THE (OVERSHADOWED) STATE. “With the cloud of the George Washington Bridge lane-closure controversy still looming over him,” Christie “laid out a series of proposals in his State of the State address Tuesday as he worked to show the voters who overwhelmingly supported him last year that he’s not letting a scandal get in the way of his job.”
Christie only briefly addressed the scandal at the top of his 45-minute speech: “I am the governor, and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch - both good and bad… Without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again.” (Bergen Record)
WALKER: DEFENDS CHRISTIE. Following a meeting at the White House with President Obama and other executive members of the National Governors Association Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) praised the way Christie has dealt with the bridge controversy. Walker: “He was completely transparent and gave the public a chance to hear what he understood and what he knew, took action on it — decisive action in terms of removing the people who had not been forthright with him. … And assuming everything stays as he’s announced, I don’t see that being a problem for him.” (USA Today)
BROWN: RULES OUT 2016 BID. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) “said Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2016, dashing political speculation that he might make a fourth bid for the White House.” (Los Angeles Times)
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The stand off between President Trump and A.G. Sessions is escalating. But Sessions is standing his ground and getting work done. "Officials said Sessions is due to announce in coming days a number of criminal leak investigations based on news accounts of sensitive intelligence information. And within hours of Trump’s public broadside, the Justice Department announced it would change a police funding program to add new requirements that cities help federal agents find undocumented immigrants to receive grants."
"Russia threatened to retaliate against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they made it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations." Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said hope “is dying” for improved relations because the scale of “the anti-Russian consensus in Congress makes dialogue impossible and for a long time." The bill passed with only three "no" votes.