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Chris Christie: George Washington Bridge lane closures weren’t done for my sake

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) defended on Thursday the report commissioned by his administration that cleared him of any wrongdoing associated with lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, while denying that he inspired his former staffers to order them to take place.

“I don’t believe it was for me,” Christie told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. “I don’t believe it was for me.”

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The interview aired hours after the report by the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher blamed the September 2013 incidents on former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appointee David Wildstein.

The report also accused them of harboring an unidentified “ulterior motive” and “animosity” toward Fort Lee, New Jersey Mayor Mark Sokolich (D), but rejected the theory that the closures were ordered as retaliation against Sokolich for not endorsing Christie during his successful 2012 re-election campaign.

“These people have their own professional and personal reputations,” Christie said of the firm. “Six of them were former federal prosecutors. They’re not going to whitewash anything for me and put their reputations at stake.”

Though neither Wildstein nor Kelly were interviewed for the report, the firm did determine that Wildstein mentioned the Fort Lee closures during a 9/11 memorial event taking place during the September 2013 lane closures, a conversation that Christie told Sawyer he did not recall, since he talked to “hundreds” of people that day.

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“I’ll tell you this. I’ll tell you what he didn’t say,” Christie said. “He didn’t say, ‘Hey, by the way governor, I’m closing down some lanes of the George Washington Bridge to stick it to the mayor. Is that OK?’ That, I’d remember.”

Christie also referred to the closures as “inexplicably stupid” on several occasions, and denied the argument that he or his governing style contributed to creating an abrasive culture around his administration.

“I don’t believe that I did,” he said. “But I’m certainly disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to pick up these traits in these people.”

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Watch Sawyer’s interview with Christie, as aired on ABC on Thursday, below.


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Bernie Sanders says Democrats who ‘don’t have the guts’ to battle on healthcare ‘should be ashamed’

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During a portion of Tuesday night's Democratic debate focused on healthcare, Sen. Bernie Sanders interjected to castigate some of his 2020 primary rivals -- namely former vice president Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—for again repeating right-wing talking points against Medicare for All and defending the primacy of the for-profit insurance industry.

"I get a little bit tired, I must say, of people defending a system which is dysfunctional, which is cruel," Sanders said, as he cast glances at Biden and Buttigieg. "Eighty-seven million uninsured, thirty-thousand people dying every single year, five-hundred thousand going bankrupt—for what reason?—they came down with cancer."

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