REALITY CHECK: Bully Is As Bully Does


MOTHER JONES: On Thursday, New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie held a press conference to address allegations that his appointees orchestrated a dangerous traffic jam for political revenge. Christie maintained that he was deceived by a member of his “circle of trust” and noted that he had fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, who was implicated in the scandal. He insisted that he had not known that Kelly ordered the traffic problems until the news broke on Wednesday. But many commentators have wondered if this whole episode—whether Christie was in the know or not—has bolstered the view that Christie is a bully. Christie took issue with this characterization at the press conference. He asserted, “I am who I am. But I am not a bully…The tone that we’ve set here [is] that I’m willing to compromise.” But those who have been the targets of Christie’s wrath disagree. And here are 8 videos of Christie yelling, belittling people, and name-calling—and most of the clips are promoted by Christie himself on his popular YouTube page: MORE

NEWSWEEK: The full legal ramifications of the Bridgegate scandal took center stage Thursday when former Port Authority official David Wildstein, a Christie ally at the center of the scandal, refused to answer questions before a state Assembly committee hearing by pleading the Fifth.” If the Attorneys general for New Jersey, New York and the United States were all to agree to clothe Mr. Wildstein with an immunity, I think you might find yourselves in a far different position with respect to information he can provide,” Wildstein’s attorney, Alan Zegas, told the committee. It may be bad politics to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but it was the smart thing to do. “Any lawyer who was worth his or her salt would have advised him to do that,” said Stephen A. Saltzburg, a criminal law professor at the George Washington University Law School. “Which tells you there is definitely concern here about a criminal investigation.” MORE

NEWSWORKS: There’s even a whiff of sex, owing to the involvement of the blonde, steely-eyed Kelly, who until Thursday was Christie’s deputy chief of staff and, according to documents, was the one who gave the order to create the traffic nightmare in Fort Lee. And everybody knows you can’t have a blockbuster political scandal without at least one intriguing woman involved. I’m sure you’ve read by now that Kelly is a Catholic-schooled mother of four who dumped her golf pro husband a few years back. Of course you did, because most stories on Kelly have included those facts, presented in a some lame attempt to shock: Gasp! Can it be possible this cute blonde soccer mom could really be a ruthless political hack? Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out whether any of the men involved in the story are married or have kids. That doesn’t seem to make it into any of the stories. It’s all very 20th century, and utterly sexist. MORE

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Legislature today released thousands of pages of subpoenaed documents provided to a state Assembly committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal. The documents — all given to the panel by an attorney for David Wildstein, a former top official of the Port of New Jersey and New Jersey — include the e-mails that emerged on Wednesday revealing a top aide to Gov. Chris Christie was directly tied to the traffic-clogging closure of local access lanes leading to the bridge in Fort Lee. MORE

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