Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hard Ball's Chris Matthews smells the blood of NJ Governor Chris Christie in waters under the GW Bridge

The always excitable MSNBC political show host Chris Matthews is again smelling blood in the waters under the George Washington Bridge now that federal prosecutor Paul Fishman has delivered indictments in his investigation of the infamous September 2013 Bridgegate scandal.

On Friday, government witness David Wildstein, who had been appointed to a top post at the NY/NJ Port Authority by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, pled guilty in federal court to arranging the massive traffic jam by closing approach lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee, NJ.  Wildstein admitted that the action was political punishment for the city mayor's decision not to endorse Christie for re-election.

In addition to Wildstein, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has indicted former Christie Administration insider Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, a former NJ state senator and Christie appointee to the port authority. Both pled not guilty yesterday and then held separate news conferences. Matthews pounced on a comment from Kelly to question the governor's assertion that he had nothing to do with the operation.

Last night's Hard Ball broadcast led with a Bridgegate segment featuring video clips from Baroni, Kelly and Christie, followed by a quick-paced exchange among Matthews and three guests. Steve Kornacki, whose has mastered the art of rapid responses for shows like this, gets in the most lines--not easy to do with Matthews pulsating in overdrive. Former federal prosecutor Paul Butler offered a few cogent observations before being relegated to the role of  bystander,while John Reitmeyer (Bergen Record/NJ Spotlight) got so little time that he must have wondered why he bothered to put on a tie.

The Baroni/Kelly trials could start as early as July which may force MSNBC and FOX political sharpshooters to modify their summer vacation plans. Except for indicted parties--or one who could face future indictment--it should be great fun.    

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