During today’s press conference, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie claimed that David Samson, Christie’s appointee as Port Authority Chairman, had convinced Christie that he had “absolutely no knowledge” of the politically-motivated lane closures brought to light on January 8th in emails from Christie’s top staffers. However, in those same emails, former Port Authority official David Wildstein assured Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly “Samson helping us to retaliate.”
The ominous message suggests that further exploration of what Christie and his top officials knew, and when, is warranted.
David Wildstein Emailed Bridget Anne Kelly That David Samson, Chairman Of The Port Authority, Would Help Them Retaliate. According to the email from David Wildstein to Bridget Anne Kelly on September 13, 2013 “The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. Samson helping us to retaliate.” [Email, 9/13/13; viewed via New York Times, 1/8/14]
Christie Interviewed Port Authority Chairman David Samson, Said He Was “Convinced That He Had Absolutely No Knowledge Of This.” During a press conference on January 9, 2014, Christie said: “I think General Samson put out a statement yesterday that he had no knowledge of this. I interviewed him yesterday. He was one of my interviews. I am convinced that he had absolutely no knowledge of this, that this was executed at the operational level and never brought to the attention of the Board of Commissioners until Chairman Foye wrote his email – or Executive Director Foye wrote his email to the Board of Commissioners. And so I sat and met for two hours yesterday with Mr. Samson – General Samson – and again, I’m confident that he had no knowledge of this, based upon our conversations and his review of the information. So I think, you know, as he said yesterday, he is angered by this and upset about it, and I know that he’s going to lead – cooperate with the OIG investigation that’s ongoing and lead a discussion at the Port Authority about what could be done in the future to stop such conduct.” [Chris Christie, Official Press Conference, 1/9/14]