Morning rush hour in the George Washington Bridge.
PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI/REDUX FOR MSNBC

Christie ‘Bridgegate’ panel votes to enforce subpoenas

Updated

The joint legislative committee probing the September traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge, which is threatening to derail New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political career, met Monday afternoon to review the subpoenaed documents they have acquired so far.

Many of the documents have not been handed over, as several of the 20 people and organizations – with links to the governor–have been given an extension or are invoking their Fifth Amendment rights and refusing to produce the material.

NBC reported that NJ legislature’s “Super Committee” investigating the George Washington Bridge closings in Fort Lee has voted to enforce subpoenas for documents from former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, threatening  to hold her in contempt if she does not comply. 

The  Committee voted to take the same steps against former campaign manager Bill Stepien. An total of 18 subpoenas were approved according to NBC’s Michael Isikoff, including one sent to the New Jersey state police regarding Christie’s helicopter usage and one for records from Port Authority deputy director Bill Baroni’s assistant.

PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, 2/10/14, 7:45 PM ET

Could Christie’s cohorts be held in contempt?

Rev. Sharpton discusses the latest in the New Jersey bridge lane closure scandal as the investigating committee digs into their subpoenas.

The Republican governor sticking to his story, denying any “prior knowledge” of the lane closures that spurred three days of severe traffic backups on one of the busiest bridges in the country. However, uncovered emails suggest that the lane closures were orchestrated as part of an alleged plot by members of Christie’s inner circle, possibly in an act of political retribution targeted at a Democratic mayor.

Christie’s approval ratings have taken a big hit since his administration became embroiled in controversy. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found more Americans view the Republican – a potential 2016 presidential candidate –negatively than positively, by a 29% to 22% margin. It’s a big reversal from October, when 33% viewed him positively versus 17% who viewed him negatively.

Members of the Newark Star-Ledger’s editorial board went as far to say over the weekend that they regret endorsing Christie in last year’s gubernatorial election, admitting “we blew this one.” 

The left, meanwhile, is pouncing on Christie’s troubles. The Democratic National Committee released a one-minute video playing off Facebook’s new “look back” clips, highlighting the governor’s embarrassing and potentially damning last month.

Christie is forging ahead. He’ll be in Chicago on Tuesday on behalf of the Republican Governor’s Association, which he chairs. He’ll speak at the Economic Club of Chicago, attend a fundraising dinner, and hold private meetings with donors. Christie will also hold his first town hall since the scandal in Middletown, N.J., on Thursday.

Christie faces a slew of other accusations, including that he misused Hurricane Sandy recovery funds and that his office pressured Democratic Mayor of Hoboken Dawn Zimmer to green light a development project in her city. A lawyer for Christie asked Hoboken officials if they could meet with Zimmer or give him documents regarding the mayor’s claim. The request was denied, according to Bloomberg with Zimmer’s lawyer Gerald Krovatin questioning the appropriateness of the request.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/10/14, 11:19 PM ET

Facts sought on Christie helicopter ride

Rachel Maddow reviews the latest developments in the New Jersey bridge traffic investigation including a round of 18 new subpoenas.

Chris Christie

Christie 'Bridgegate' panel votes to enforce subpoenas

Updated