He’ll make it formal on Tuesday. But this new Chris Christie video makes it clear, at long last, that he’s running for president.
N.J. Chris Christie is still mulling a presidential run, but he’s still plagued by fallout from the Bridgegate scandal. The latest problem? An accusation he violated grand jury secrecy rules.
The accusation comes from David Wildstein, a central figure in the Bridgegate scandal. The New York Times reports: “Mr. Wildstein’s statement, in a civil case separate from the federal prosecution in the bridge case, offers the first insider confirmation of a long-rumored tale of New Jersey political corruption, and places Mr. Christie at the center of it. It also portrays the governor, a former United States attorney, casually revealing information about a grand jury proceeding he had overseen, which violates federal law.” Read more »
Chris Christie played baseball as a kid. He is actually a member of the Little League Baseball Hall of Fame (more due to his notoriety, though his dad said he did hit more than 15 homers in Little League). He was the starting catcher on the Livingston High School baseball team until a transfer student came in and took his spot. (Christie’s family considered legal action but decided against it; Livingston won the state title.)
Last night, Christie played in the True Blue charity softball game at Yankee Stadium, a benefit for three recently slain New York police officers: Brian Moore, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
It is great that baseball is the national pastime, because it means politicians occasionally dress up in baseball uniforms. Baseball players kind of look silly in baseball uniforms, and non-athletes look even sillier. Read more »
[Update 4:15 p.m.] Christie responds. The Asbury Park Press:
“Today’s charges make clear that what I’ve said from day one is true,” Christie said, via Twitter. “I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act. The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action, firing staff believed to be accountable, calling for an outside investigation and agreeing to fully cooperation with all appropriate investigations, which I have done. Now 15 months later is it time to let the justice system do its job.”
[Update 2 p.m.] Vox has some additional details, including news that two other officials have been indicted in the case:
David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official, pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy — for having intentionally misapplied the agency’s property, and for violating the rights of the town’s residents to travel.
Two other former members of the administration, Bridget Kelly (Christie’s ex-deputy chief of staff) and Bill Baroni (the top operational Port Authority official appointed by Christie), were charged on multiple similar counts.
In addition, Vox reports, there are other, as-yet-unindicted co-conspirators referred to by prosecutors.
[Original] The New York Times has the breaking news:
David Wildstein, another former Port Authority official and ally of Mr. Christie, pleaded guilty for his role in the lane closings.
Chris Christie went on the Tonight Show Wednesday night — unfortunately, there were no dance routines for him this time. Instead he kept it relatively straight — if you ignore all the mugging and eyebrow wagging at the crowd — and discussed his presidential prospects: An announcement will come in May or June, he said. Read more »
Chris Christie isn’t even a declared presidential candidate — yet — but he’s already got some fighting words ready for Hillary Clinton.
“If I run, I will beat her,” Christie told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.
Hewitt, sensibly, asked which “blue” states Christie might win back from Democrats to make that happen. Christie’s first answer was automatic: Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has watched him govern New Jersey for more than five years, he said, and is comfortable with his style.
“If I were to run, I think Pennsylvania is a state that is very much in play,” Christie told Hewitt.
Maybe. But the evidence suggests that Clinton already has a head start on Christie in Pennsylvania. Read more »
Chris Christie says he wants to eliminate Social Security benefits for high-income earners, the Wall Street Journal reports.
MANCHESTER, N.H.—Gov. Chris Christie called for reduced Social Security benefits for seniors earning over $80,000 and eliminating the benefit entirely for individuals making $200,000 and up, along with raising the retirement age to 69 from 67.
“Social Security at its core should be retirement insurance,” Mr. Christie said during his speech before roughly 120 people. “The wealthiest of us don’t need these benefits.”
“Washington is afraid to have an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with the people of our country,” Christie will say in a speech at New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College Institute of Politics. “I am not.”
The idea could have some appeal — hey, why should Warren Buffett collect a Social Security check when he’s already super-rich? — but three reasons why Christie’s effort might not work all that well: Read more »
After more than a year of investigation, federal prosecutors in New Jersey are ready to bring indictments in the “Bridgegate” scandal, the New York Times reports.
Hearings by a special investigative committee of the State Legislature and a report by Mr. Christie’s own lawyers provided more questions and contradictions than they did answers to the most basic question: What prompted a deputy chief of staff to the governor, a Republican, to send a note calling for “some traffic problems in Fort Lee”?
People close to the case say prosecutors are likely to bring charges based on a rarely used provision of a fraud statute, under which they would argue that Mr. Christie’s associates used the bridge, or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs it, for a purpose other than its intended one. In the case of the bridge, the closings were apparently meant to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee, a Democrat, after he declined to endorse the governor’s re-election bid in 2013.
What is less certain is whether prosecutors will find crimes in the other ways Mr. Christie used his powers in the service of political ambition. He used Port Authority money to fill holes in his budget; his lieutenants doled out flags and steel from the remnants of the World Trade Center to woo mayors whose endorsements they sought. An office of “intergovernmental affairs” worked to cultivate endorsements, all in the hopes that the governor could use a huge winning margin to argue that he was the Republican most likely to win the White House in 2016.
Remember last month when we told you that Jon Stewart was cranky over Gov. Chris Christie’s $225 million sweetheart deal with Exxon to resolve pollution charges against the petrochemical giant? Well, now the terms of the settlement have officially been revealed — and environmentalists are outraged. Read more »