Gov. Christie Apologizes Repeatedly for Bridge Scandal at Marathon News Conference

Part 1: NJ governor fires Bridget Anne Kelly over controversial closure of bridge lanes.
3:00 | 01/08/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Gov. Christie Apologizes Repeatedly for Bridge Scandal at Marathon News Conference
This is a special group. Again company -- -- -- ABC news digital special report New Jersey governor Chris Christie will address the growing bridge gate scandal. Two of his top aides accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year all. In an act of political vengeance punishing a local mayor a Democrat who did not support Christie's reelection campaign. The governor is expected to speak in Trenton as we are -- the podium there we will take it and he gets there but first I want to bring in our political director -- -- Washington DC watching all of -- now becoming. Of national attention Rick. Fort Lee mayor mark -- -- says that -- those lane closures put people put children in danger. The police chief in emergency vehicles were delayed because of the closures that someone died perhaps because of the -- what is the best now. The governor can do for himself today. This is a day of action for Chris Christie it has to be it's going to be -- of salvation. For his whole political profile look at this guy that his entire appeal is based on not being a typical politician. Being above that being beyond that being a man of action. He now has an opportunity and a challenge to deliver on that because of his own words about the scandal he is short people you -- -- -- for weeks. Assure people that he had nothing to do with -- that is he's had nothing to do with it yesterday comes. Stark evidence that that's not the case he put out a statement. -- acknowledging as much and now he has to start start act. Acting on it heads have to roll he needs to get out front of this I expect to see a lot of action and a lot of a lot of angry words and apologetic words from governor Christine. A few minutes Rick the same goes all politics is local it's available with -- fact that this is a local matter of a bridge between new York and New Jersey despite being the world's busiest bridge. Is a issue between those two states but how do you think this plays out nationally. I don't know any voter in any state who isn't worried about his commute and doesn't understand that -- visceral level what it means to see those lane closures and what it means to know that. You're not going to be able to get home to see your family or -- forbid the emergencies that you referenced so I think it's the kind of issue this is not an obscure state board -- -- a wild life issue or something going on in the Forest Service and environmental issue. This is something that affects traffic everyone can understand that you can see the pictures of the backups on the bridge it is the most heavily traffic -- -- in the country. And of course it's a governor who is himself a national figure and that's what you get in the spotlight. Is that in -- shines very harshly on you was a leader and this is a moment for Chris Christie a critical one as he develops a national profile. It was four days of delays four days of closures. And this is not the first time the governor discussed that bridge issue effect here -- is a back in December -- were waiting for that news conference to begin. I worked -- homes actually not. Undiagnosed everybody I was actually the guy out there -- -- overalls and -- -- -- -- in the but I actually was the guy working at home you really are not serious without question. What happened. Knowing that it -- just because John was news he's upset. And -- -- one. It just shows you -- really have nothing to do. Is that trade mark personality coming to light right there Rick that he is not joking now is -- Knowing he's got to eat those words a 100% because these people were impacted people -- -- constituents for an -- in Fort -- New Jersey in the news New Jersey commuters around northern New Jersey people in New York trying to get to see that they remember that and remember these words and he is now. Gonna have to account for that and he -- our hope. For his own political future that his own accounting now stands up -- that he did not know any of this information until yesterday that kind of evidence emerges that's potentially fatal. In a lot of ways I think this is a moment that's primed for Chris Christie. He has made his mark based on being that guy who steps above it says no nonsense -- -- a cut through all of it and say this is the way it's done I'm going to act. He has to act right now he has to act quickly asked act rashly and how he response to this crisis is going to define. Not just his own future maybe the future of the Republican Party -- keep in mind. This is a guy that people are looking to to lead Republicans out of the wilderness Chris Christie is the man right now there's no -- star. In Republican politics coming off that reelection victory two months ago. He's the guy. And he's having a moment now that's gonna challenge all of that because almost no matter what Christie says Democrats are coming but we've already has some folks asking -- the Justice Department to get involved immediacy is becoming a criminal investigation. Yes almost certainly we're gonna have a criminal investigation at the state and federal level -- -- idea that. A bit emergency vehicles were held -- as a result of a political decision is something that is going to be enough a lot of folks think up. For more -- let's now go to trend. I have come out here. To this office where I've been many times before. And I come back here today. To apologize. To the people of New Jersey. I apologize. To the people of Fort Lee. And I apologize to the members of the state legislature. I am embarrassed. And humiliated. By the conduct. Of some of the people. On my team. There's no doubt in my mind. That the conduct that they exhibited. Is completely unacceptable. And showed a lack of respect. For their appropriate role of government. And for the people that we're trusted to serve. Two pieces. To what I want to talk about it. First -- I believe -- All of the people. Who were affected by this conduct. The surface -- policy and that's why I'm giving to. I also. Need to apologize to them for my failure. Has the governor this state. To. Understand the true nature of this problem sooner. Than I -- But I believe I have an understanding now the true nature of the problem. And I've taken the following actions. As a result. This morning I terminated the employment. -- -- Kelly. Effective immediately. I terminated her employment because she liked him. I brought my senior staff together. And I put to all of them. One simple challenge. If there is any information. That you know. About the decision to close these lanes in Fort Lee. You have one hour. To tell either. My chief of staff Kevin no doubt. -- my chief counsel Charlie -- I told them. That an hour I was going to go out a press conference. And if don't give me other information to the contrary. That I was gonna say that no one on my staff was involved. In this matter. Over the course of the next hour. -- and Charlie interviewed each member of my senior staff. Came back and reported to me that they all reported that there was no information. -- that what we already knew. -- been testified to by senator Bologna. Regarding this. Incident. I then. Questioned. Kevin O'Dowd and Charlie -- directly since they are the only two who report directly to me. And they assured. That they had no information. That -- changed my ability be able to say that no one. Response to -- -- question. On my staff. Was involved. In this matter. That was obviously a lot. And emails that I -- for the first time. Yesterday morning. When they were broken. And I believe the Bergen record story. Proof that that was a -- There's no justification. For that behavior. There's no justification. For ever line. To a governor. Or person in authority in this government. And as a result. -- terminated. -- its employment. Immediately. This morning. Secondly. I have and will continue to started yesterday. To once again now have personal one on one discussions myself. With the remaining members of my senior staff. To determine if there's any other information that I do not know. And need to know in order to take appropriate action. -- -- completed with those interviews yet. But when I am. If there is additional information that needs to be disclosed I would do so -- If there's additional actions. That need to be taken. With my senior staff I would do so. I will tell you -- It's been written a lot over the last couple of days about what -- tight -- staff I have. And how closely everyone works together and that is true. And ever since that time I was US attorney -- -- gender. The sense in feeling among the people closest to me there were fans and we work together. And we Tilly to the truth -- support each -- we need to be supported. And we admonished each other when we need to be admonished. I am heartbroken. That someone who -- permitted to be in that circle of trust. For the last five years betrayed my trust. I would never have come out here. For five weeks ago. And made a joke. About these lane closures. If I had ever had an -- That anyone on my staff. Would have been so stupid. But to be involved. And then so deceitful. I think this just to not disclose. The information of their involvement -- me when directly asked. By their superior. And those questions were not asked by which -- once they were asked repeatedly. So. I take this action today because it's my job. I am. Responsible. For what happened. I am sad to report to the people of New Jersey that we fell short. We fell short of the expectations that we've created over the last four years. For the type of excellence in government that they should expect from this office. But I have repeatedly said to them. But why promised them the best governor's office I can give them I could never promise them a perfect governor's office. And so when I find those imperfections those mistakes. Those -- My obligation as chief executive of this state is to act. And as to Bridget Kelly. I've acted today. -- -- I was disturbed. By the tone and behavior. An attitude. Callous indifference. That was displayed in the emails. By my former campaign manager Phil stepped. And as a result. I've instructed. -- stepping in. To not place his name in nomination. For state party chairman. And he will not be considered for state party chairman. And I've instructed him to withdraw. His consultancy. With the Republican Governors Association. If I cannot trust someone's judgment. I cannot ask others to do so. And I would not place him at the head of my political operation because of the lack of judgment that was shown. In the emails that were revealed yesterday. That has also been communicated mr. -- and last night. There's no doubt. That bill. Has been. One of my closest advisors. Over the last five years. And so for that to. I am sad today to have to take this action but I also know. That I have a job to do. Finish the job that I've asked the people of New Jersey to a trust me -- and I can never allow. Personal feelings. -- long standing relationships. To get in the way of doing my job the way. It's appropriate to do. But I don't want. Any -- you to confuse. What I'm saying this morning ultimately. I AM responsible. For what happens under my watch the good and the bad. And when mistakes are made. There and I have to hold up to them. Could take the action that I believe is necessary. In order to -- -- -- -- -- -- I spent all day yesterday digging in to talking to folks and getting the bottom of things. I know there was much discussion. Yesterday. About what was I doing. -- when -- tell everybody I was blind -- yesterday morning. I was -- with my work out. Yesterday morning and got a call from -- communications director about. -- 5855. Informing me of the story that it just broken on the Bergen record web site. I was the first coming knew about this the first time I'd seen any of the documents that were revealed yesterday. And so before I came out spoke to all. I wanted to do the best I could to try to get the bottom months -- -- so that when it came out I can answer questions. As best I can. And take appropriate action if action was necessary. There's no doubt from reading those emails yesterday. In my mind that action was necessary. And then I wanted to make sure that I spoke to those people who -- me. To make sure there's any other information they were aware of that I had it before acted. -- continue this process but couldn't get it all done yesterday. Minister said if there's more information -- cover I'll act accordingly in terms of releasing it to the public and taking whatever action may be necessary if -- is. For any other issues. And also will react to any information -- coming from any place else. Given that there's no IG investigation -- legislative investigation. Later today. I'm going to be going to Fort -- Ask to meet with the mayor. To apologize to him personally face to face. And also to apologize to the people of Fort Lee in their town. I think they need to see. Me do that person and I intend to do that later on today. People of those communities for four days were impacted in -- completely callous and in different way. And on the go and apologize for that. Let me conclude with this. This is not the tone that upset over the last four years in this building that the environment of work so hard to achieve. We saw just a few months ago. NFC over the course the last four years. Republicans and Democrats working together. Not without argument governments never without argument. But ultimately coming to resolution on so many different issues in a bipartisan way and running a campaign that was in fact a bipartisan campaign. -- so I am extraordinarily. Disappointed by this but this is the exception. It is not the rule. Of what's happened over the last four years in this administration. I considered it over the last four years to be my job to be the governor of every new Jersey Republican Democrat independent. Or unaffiliated. And I work with -- elected officials. On both sides of the aisle. Once that I agree with -- once that I disagree. The political overtones. That work exhibited in those documents released yesterday in the conduct for those people is not acceptable. People I think all -- state understand. That human beings are not perfect. And mistakes are made and I believe what they expect -- me as the chief executive. Of this state. Is when that information comes into my possession. That I considerate. And then acted swiftly as possible to immediately. What ever. Deal occurred. That's worked on today. Actions have consequences. Living up to that right now and I'll say one less thing to so we're really clear. I had no knowledge. Or involvement. In this issue. In its planning -- its execution. And I am stunned. By the abject. Stupidity. That was shown here. Regardless. Of what the facts ultimately. Went public. This was handled in a callous and in different way. And is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years and not the way it will conduct itself over the next four. I will do everything within my power to assure the people of New Jersey that. And I thank them for your willingness. To consider my apology. On behalf of this government in the end I 65000. People working for me every day. And I cannot. Know what each one of them is doing and every minute. But that doesn't matter. I'm ultimately responsible for what they do and that's why -- took this action this. The. What other -- -- -- -- Yeah well I and I apologize for -- -- and David because. I was being that the police. White folks around me that there was no basis to this. And so you know and and let's be let's be fair there have been times when there could investigations around here that have led to nothing they've had no basis. But I was wrong. And so now having been proven wrong of course will work cooperatively with the investigations. And you know I'm going through examination as I mentioned to you right now that's what I'm doing. I'll -- -- an examination and talking to the individual people on the work for me. Not only to discover there's any other information that we need to fine but also to ask them how did this happen. How did you know how how did this you know occur to us I think. Illicit. Assistant before we. I've had a tight knit group of people who -- trust. Implicit. I had no reason to believe they were telling the truth. It is heartbreaking to me that I wasn't told the truth. On the very loyal -- And I expect loyalty in return. And lying to me is not an exit -- exhibition will have to. And so you know under the look at this person was my responsibility didn't. And so what steps we'll take after that if you are concrete steps beyond what I've done today. There will certainly announced -- talk about. If you know if not then you ought to say listen I think we've gotten to the bottom of this and we're gonna move forward with the new team you know have a new team coming in as well. While trying to integrate now also in the next two weeks -- will be a lot of action going on here. -- No I'm -- -- this. Kelly politics ain't been back. OK and everybody in the country who engages in politics knows that on the other hand. That's very very different. They're saying that you know so multiple. I have very heated. Discussions and arguments. With people in my own party and on the other side of the aisle. I feel passionately about issues and I don't hide my emotions from people. I am not a focus group tested blow -- Kennedy. -- -- Now that has always made so people as you know on easy. Some people like that style so people don't. And I've always said I think you ask me questions -- election are you willing to change your style. In order to appeal to a broader audience and I think that's -- no. Because I am who I am but I am not a bully and when I will tell you is that the folks who have worked with -- over a long period of time. Would I believe tell you that I'm tough. But I've shown over the last four years in the -- that we've -- here. Then I'm willing to compromise. And willing to work with others and the campaign showed with all of the folks looking for the other side of the aisle to support us. That we were willing to have relationships with those folks. It would have never happened that way so I don't believe that Kelly and I don't leave the body of work in the last four years displays that now. In this instance. The language used in the conduct displayed in those emails is unacceptable. To me. And I will not tolerated. But the best I can do. -- when I see stuff like that. Ended and I know that will satisfy everybody but I'm not the business of satisfying -- -- -- -- in the business of trying to satisfy the people who elected -- governor. Michael. Michael. -- -- -- senior staff. -- -- There was no book deals that you -- -- -- campaign manager -- the wonderful tools that you can order. Yeah but Michael their role in the campaign was not the day to day operation of the campaign but politicians the chairman of the campaign and he was essentially involved. Farmers that was bill's main task. Mike to hang with the general consultant he dealt with TV ads and -- so that they -- they upper reaches of the campaign. And yes I've spoken to -- them there were two of my discussions yesterday. Guns and anti answered. -- -- work that way. -- Well listen -- -- and it I'm Smart enough now. After this experience. Not to go out there and certify that unequivocally. The fact I don't have any evidence before me as we speak. That it went beyond this since it what but I can't tell you. -- I know that for sure I think every aspect of everything is now. I have to be much more circumspect about that. Prior to yesterday. I believe that a viable someone in the guy who I worked with and trusted and ask. But I would give an honest -- Maybe that was -- But that's what I believe so now I'm going and digging in and asking more questions but I can't make a warranty on that -- I don't believe so. But I can't make a warranty and and I won't. Because what I did -- for weeks ago I want to be wrong. If you follow. -- -- Absolutely not know and and and I knew nothing about this and until it's sort of your word in the papers about the -- but even -- I was told this was a traffic study. Senator Bradley testified there was a traffic study -- still may have been a traffic study. That now has political overtones to -- -- well I don't know the answer that -- I think we're gonna find out. But I don't know because senator -- percent of all types of information. That -- to the legislature. Statistics and maps and otherwise that seem to evidence attractive. So why -- I believe that anybody would not be telling the truth about I think I think at the time but I'm not finished yet -- But the but the fact is. That. And Barnstable nine. You know it's clear now that in the minds of some people. There -- political overtones -- political. -- -- on this. And that's unacceptable. So -- those tracks -- not I don't know it appeared that there was one based on what I saw in the testimony. But regardless of weather was -- wasn't. Kirkuk also political overtones that -- evidence in that in those emails and other messages. That -- never ever brought to my attention until yesterday. Consider. Yeah. Well listen. I am. There's this there's this -- you know kind of reputation out there of BP the micro manager on the -- Mean I think if you talk to my staff with they would tell you -- that I delegate enormous authority to my staff. An enormous authority in my cabinet. And I tell them break come to me with the policy decisions that need to be made with some high level personnel decisions that need to be made. But I do not -- that kind of work -- -- first second. I'm there's no way that anybody would think. That I know about everything that's going on not only in every agency of government. At all times but also every independent party. That New Jersey has on its own -- by state both with New York Pennsylvania and with -- So. What I can tell you is if people find -- hard to believe I don't know what else to say except to tell them. That I had no knowledge of this of the planning the execution of anything about it. And then I first found out about it after it was over -- and even then. What I was told was that it was traffic -- And there was no evidence to the contrary. Until yesterday. It was brought to my attention. For anybody else's attention and so I understand why people would ask that question and I understand your question completely. What I also -- to -- the people is that even with all that being said it's still my responsibility. I didn't know about it but it's my responsibility is on the governor. So I'm taking that responsibility and taking actions appropriate would -- shooting the responsibility. In -- courtroom looking information is today -- The -- it many times. When I was US attorney I hate it when politicians stood behind a podium. And said. This is what he was turning should or shouldn't do in a market engagement kind of conduct. Panel. And you. Well listen again. What we see this clearly. That's the tone of those emails. But but the thing that the other part of this it just shocks me is as I sit -- -- many times before. Mayor -- which was never on my radar screen. He was never mentioned to me as somebody whose endorsement we are pursuing and in fact I think he's about CNN that's -- that his -- are being asked for some tools. So the part of this is. I never saw this as political retribution because I -- -- -- did anything to us. Now we pursued lots of endorsements during the campaign from Democrats. And we didn't receive most of them. Received about sixty at the end of the day we pursued hundreds. And so. I never I don't have any recollection. Of it anytime anybody in the campaign effort. Asking me to meet with mayor -- lit hall in which was the typical course that was used. What we were attempting to 22. Get an endorsement that staff would work with the elected official first and then when they thought. Use in the vernacular the -- was on the city. They would call me to make a phone call or have a meeting -- breakfast and I would then meet with that we elected official and see if I can bring over the line. I don't remember ever meeting mayor -- glitch in that certainly an -- in that context. I don't ever actually met him at some point and -- -- Burton county put I -- -- -- -- until -- saw his picture. -- less than -- television. I would've been able to pick him out of -- lineup. -- so part of this is. The reason that the retribution. I didn't never came into my head is -- I've never even knew. That we are pursuing his endorsement. And no whatever came to me to get media try to -- the endorsement in any way trying to restore the series separate media. -- Well sure horse of course of course. Job. You. They -- that lets these. -- -- -- -- Yes if you from here so. Well listen -- obviously. -- I said earlier time I'm heartbroken about it and I'm incredibly disappointed. I don't think I've gotten angry stage yet -- Armstrong get there. But I'm -- -- And what does it make me ask about me it makes me ask about me what. Did my duty. -- To have these folks think it was OK don't lie to me. And there's a lot of soul searching that goes around this you know when your leader in organization. And I had this happen -- before. Where I've had folks not tell me the truth about something -- it's not been governor. Put it in previous leadership positions. You always wonder about what you could do differently and believe me John I'm -- -- sleep the last two nights. And I've been doing a lot of soul searching. I'm sick over us. I have worked. For the last. Twelve years in public life. Developing a reputation. For honesty and directness and blunt talk. I'm one that I think is well deserved. You know what's up like this happens it's appropriate for you question yourself and certainly him. -- and I am soul searching -- but what I also want the people of New Jersey to know is that this is the exception not the rule. And they've seen over the last four years with the way -- worked when I'm done. So I don't want to fall into the trap. Of saying well this one incident happened their work the what is it defines the whole the does not. Just like one employee whose life. Doesn't determine. The character of all the other employees around she. And so I don't want to -- react to that in that we -- -- -- if you're asking me over the last 48 hours. -- last 36 hours I've done some soul searching you gotta have. -- -- -- -- We'll listen only noticed I don't know prime with the first answer -- -- you umpteenth question but what also say is this it. Mayor -- -- we have a lot of disagreements with lots of people with me with the senate president and others. There's going to be back and forth is gonna be meetings canceled there could be public disagreements. But the fact the matter is we continue to work with Jersey City. Over the course -- since he's been mayor. -- in the last year I think we've approved about a 190 million dollars and -- financing for. For projects in Jersey City the DP deputy commissioner which is meeting yesterday. With mayor -- and his staff on -- -- issues to try to buy out properties that were affected by sandy. So we continue to work with -- I don't know about specific meetings -- what's going up but certainly. You know I -- look into all of those things but the fact is. That. What -- -- -- -- is when we agree with them from a policy perspective will work with them. What we disagree with that will express those disagreements. At sometimes that'll mean friction he's suing the Port Authority at the moment. OK so there's lots of back and forth to throw that happens in these things I'd look into all this stuff but in the end. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But I also spoke at a swearing in at his invitation. So. Political relationships. In this state go up and down as you know. Sometimes strange fellow fellow sometimes expect it and they move. So I'm sure there's been movement in those relationships overtime -- -- Not anything that I can explain -- the specific question. Every room. Sure. I -- dissident it if yours most of you uncle are citizens of -- So unique. I noted art I know we don't need to point them out but I but yes of course it does and in the fact that they came accurate -- something that was untrue. Mean unwittingly. For a -- of it was untrue I think what you won't see about me over the last four years -- my dealings with you. Is that if you with you directly. And I see exactly what I think. In and I think over time I had developed a reputation for telling all the truth as I see. Good to be disagreements. But the truth is I -- it. It's a death I mean what I could press -- of course I would because. Most if not met many if not most of you are -- from the state. And you rely upon the state government to be honest and trustworthy as well and he in this instance. Mike government fell short. And I take responsibility for that while -- Yeah. I have. I've not had any conversation particularly since the email came out. And so she was not given the opportunity to explain to me -- -- because it was so obvious that she had. And I'm quite frankly not into the explanation. I am on the assumption of certain part of the question. I think Gerald Sampson put out a stated yesterday. That he had no knowledge of this I interviewed him yesterday he's one of my interviews. I convinced that he has absolutely no knowledge of this that this was. -- security at the operational level. And never brought the attention of the board of commissioners on field. Chairman -- -- -- -- -- -- executive director for movies email. To the board of commissioners and so I sat and met for two hours -- -- mr. Sampson. John Simpson and again I'm confident. That he had no knowledge of this based upon our conversations. And his review of his information itself. I think you as he said yesterday he's angered by this and upset about it and I know that he's gonna lead. Cooperate with the -- investigation that's ongoing. And lead -- discussion at the Port Authority about what can be done in the future to stop such conduct. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Fascinating. It's. Okay. Now I Sharif and I -- because I know who I am. I'm not that person and that's -- it's easy for people to be characterized in public life. Based upon their personality and I'm very direct on personnel. And I understand why some people within characterize them especially people who don't like you -- fully but it's not that. And I know that -- myself and and no haven't asked that question to him a more focused on. -- the truth was told me Melissa. -- -- I just did. Well I just did. -- seven I'm sorry -- and I would have never made that killed if if I knew the facts that purport to -- today so. Because I thought it was absurd and I thought it. That we had nothing to do with it. That's -- and obviously. -- obviously the emails evidence -- kind of callous indifference. To the result of. And and that's what I apologize for night and I do apologize for Hussein. I certainly don't intend to apologize. You know to the mayor today I'm gonna try to -- -- meeting with him this afternoon. Where Terry. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I read that I didn't I read that that way. And all. And that was. A reference to a traffic study that can't believe I know nothing about. And I recognized the -- to something about. The -- supported or endorsed it. I have to I -- because I don't know anything about it. I have to believe that was like the governor's office generically that reference to his hype hype as I stand here today I don't know any about traffic -- in Springfield. Oh god no absolutely not now. No this is not noticeably operate -- we built relationships over four years. With folks trying to be helpful to every town that we could be helpful with appropriate. -- the that I consider. Brussels -- about it. -- -- -- -- And also all the -- formally. Raise millions. Yeah. -- that was mistake. I mean the soul searching is complete on that part of it it was a mistake higher. Obviously. It was a mistake it was this -- the fact it's. That mistakes were made and are responsible. For those mistakes. And I obviously try every chance I can't. To hire the very best people and I think the history of this administration shows that we have hired outstanding people. With great ethical standards -- on their jobs extraordinarily well. In and government of 65000. People there are going to be times when mistakes are made. Mistakes were made and I were mediated those mistakes today by the actions that I've taken and so. You know I'm in a constant state. All of trying to figure out. What's -- -- the best people for individual jobs who will make me proud to put them there and so that's always been going on that's nothing new now. But you know there are times when people that you put those decisions make mistakes they disappoint you. You lose their you you lose your confidence in them where they live you. And when when you find that out the test of leadership is what do you do. I found this out at 8:50 yesterday morning. By 9 o'clock this morning Bridget Kelly was fired. By 7 o'clock yesterday evening. -- stepping in was asked to leave my organization. That's pretty swift action. Four -- work and that's exactly the way out continue to conduct myself if there's any other information surrounding this that comes up. Or anything different effect comes up over the course the next -- years. -- can. I can differentiate film. Between people who are certainly well and they haven't. And of course there's always going to be some after something like this where you can -- There's going to be some crisis in confidence. Okay there always will be. I mean anybody tells you differently is not telling -- the truth. -- city does this happen to you and you're not can second guess yourself from all -- then your opinions are stupid. Of course. -- second guess myself and got through my head on some of the stuff. And in the future. I'll try to be even more careful but here's what I know about human beings -- -- hired a lot of them in my time as US attorney. As governor. And -- and it's her hiring attorney in private practice will offer. Sometimes despite the best background checks beside me you know despite the best -- views despite your best instincts sometimes. People are mistake higher sometimes. They start off this good hire and because of circumstances that happen in their life they change. You can't prevent everything but the test of leadership is. When you find it out what do you do. And I'm saddened to have to do this. It's difficult personally to do. -- -- -- -- And I've taken an oath and I can execute much Josh. -- I'm sorry. -- -- A few things first off -- to my knowledge and I think the mayor said this last night. I have no knowledge of him being asked for an endorsement. He may have been we certainly was never asked by me. But he I think -- last night on television that he doesn't look caller we're being asked for endorsement that's why this made sense to be Josh because. Why would you execute a vendetta against somebody who you need to get a chance to say no to. The side -- you shouldn't do that at all. But then if you never asked them for endorsement -- demanded that he give what I did none -- -- made any sense to me it's not the first point. I don't I don't it again. I don't know where this was a traffic study. That then morph into a political vendetta. Or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study mean I've seen. In for a legislature statistics and other things about the traffic study so I know there's information there I don't know what it is. -- so we'll find out over time big. But that's really in the minds of the people who were doing it. And that's what I based my decisions on at the time was the testimony that people gave Grassley. You know and listen I don't know exactly what to reference and but I think that you're talking about. Do do do. Way memo that was leaked is that what -- talking about now. And CNN. Worthwhile. -- story. Here's what -- Outside. Yet it was something yeah I ask. General -- about -- I think. It -- yet it's something that effect on the productive ones I had assistant general assessment that yesterday he city is actually knowing he wants he's referred to. And that the only communication that he had at that time. What's his concern that he expressed a fellow commissioners about internal Port Authority documents being leaked. And then to -- that's just not appropriate. For folks to be leaking internal documents. But he has no recollection from when he told me yesterday of any conversation like that with -- Steve work room -- at all that references. What is the gist of what you send him. He. Not that I costs were certain that I'm aware of we're not out of the norm would be let's remember -- to. This is a bi state agency with significant tension. All the time -- there's no tension between Governor Cuomo and we get along quite well and when issues rise to our level we've always been able to resolve. What there is tension and always has been -- new York and New Jersey on the allocation of resources. At the Port Authority. And so let me be clear dirt -- some battles over their don't want to have happened did every administration. Over the course of my memory. But. You can't. Connect that so that's kind of ongoing nature -- the tension. Of that agency and I think of -- by state agencies although I think at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey because the resources are greater -- -- -- answer greater it's even more. I'm so no nothing that I know of that specific threats -- but I do. Want to make clear to people that you know this is -- there is tension goes on between the employees of these agencies. Not every one of those issues of tension thank goodness our race to my level governor Cuomo's office. But the good news for the people of new York New Jersey is that when those issues -- raised. In the last three years to my level governor Paul subtle we have always between the two of -- amicably resolved it. And been able to move on and sometimes that's the roles governors have to play in -- agency. OK let me answer that -- -- -- I don't know what makes a legitimate traffic -- It's not my area of expertise. And so. I wouldn't have a nose for. Just what. I don't know what the expletive -- constantly. I've been told that sometimes -- going live sometimes done by computer model like we're back in the professionals who testified for the Port Authority. But. You'd have to go to them to ask them with a legitimate traffic than his I probably would no traffic thirty for a trip to. -- within. Its second hit hard pressed his -- Not true not true I've denied that story before work with an old story and Governor -- has -- on its. -- -- I don't listen I have no idea. What but clearly you know there's a difference of opinion. Between senator Brody and have warned about the existence of the traffic study and your -- and to be evidence that senator -- only showed. -- statistics and maps and other things about traffic and now this could go back and lots of what really constitutes a traffic -- and they may be. Arguing about some specifics. And you want that I'm not familiar. But I certainly would not accuse. Pat -- of -- himself I don't. I'm just telling you what I unfold. And what we saw before the legislature -- you know I certainly -- -- Passport perjured himself in the right. I'll still. Listen I -- guess what I -- after reading -- yesterday I don't know. But while I'm telling you it's. That that's what I've been told he seemed to display evidence -- I'm. But that's now because of the tone and tenor of these emails. And -- text messages that's now you know all this stuff is something that I'm not want him. Because I don't know -- -- this back and forth it went on between all. Senator Breaux is a very respected guy he served in this building for long time I don't. When he you know made his testimony I would have no reason to believe that he wasn't telling the truth but obviously. From -- these emails -- through there was other stuff going on and I hadn't been informed. I never called him personally know -- -- position continue to be that there was a traffic stop. And he had a disagreement with half way to the so you know they had a disagreement that was pretty clear night in the pilgrims who changed his mind. His -- we've already expressed those concerns in earlier written documents that he would. You know or that he's someone -- put out the press -- What. Yesterday. I had no conversation of some things. It's. -- -- -- listen I had I had earlier conversations with -- -- in. We're as likes expressed -- at the time to build told me he knew absolutely nothing about this. So. You know and and certainly the emails yesterday. In emails involving closer role after well after the fact. So. But that's not the basis upon which I made my decision on bill. -- my decision on bill. Was made based on the fact of the tone the tenor and the conduct that was -- news emails. -- lost confidence in his judgment. And that's why meet the decision -- -- just passed the bill. -- here. I've no IQ with that this is -- admission process would be look like at this point. As -- said many times before. And I know that everybody. In the political media and in the political chattering class. Wants to start the 2016. Race and universities can't help themselves but two polls that are meaningless. Three years away from election and you guys can help put him on the air -- talk about them. Mike jobs to be governor futures. And I have I'll say what I've said before claiming enormously flattered that folks would. Talk about me. In my party. As someone who they think. Could be a candidate for president. But I am absolutely in no -- near beginning that consideration process I -- you've been sworn in for my second term yet. I've got work to do here and that's my focus my focus is on the people of New Jersey and that -- at the -- -- so all those considerations are. You know the kinda. Hysteria that goes around this because everybody's. In that world -- preoccupied with back job. I am not preoccupied with that jobs are preoccupied with this one -- -- you can tell. When you do. So it's not like I got some spare time spent yes. Could you rolling your eyes and looking very you know disgruntled that I hadn't called on -- well I don't Brian longer than you so. I think keeps I think it. -- -- -- I'm sad that's the predominant emotion I feel right now -- sadness. Sadness that I was betrayed by member my staff. Sadness that I had people who -- trusted with important jobs who acted. Completely inappropriately. Sad that that's let the people of New Jersey. To have less confidence. In the people that selected. The emotion I've been displaying in privately sat. And as I said earlier I think in the answer to your question you know I know what the stages of grief -- exact order I -- anger gets there at some point. I'm sure -- have that too but the fact is right now on -- And here. Well let me just clear something up -- about my childhood friend David -- It is true that I met -- In 1977. In high school he's a year old. David and I we're -- friends in high school. We were not even acquaintances and high school I mean I had a high school -- -- A three year high school that had 18100 students. In a three year high school in the late seventies early 1980. I knew Dave -- he was I met David on the Tom -- for governor campaign in 1977. He was a youth volunteer its -- side. Really after that time I completely lost touch with -- we didn't travel the same circles and high school. You know I was the class president -- athlete I don't know what David was doing during that period of time. And then we we re acquainted years later. In I think 2000. -- he was helping Bob franks. With his senate campaign against John course and so we went 23 years. Without seeing each. In the years we did see each other. We passed in the hallways. On so I -- clear that up it it it doesn't make a difference except that. I think some of the stories we -- written in puke like an emotional relationship and closeness between -- -- David but doesn't exist. I know David. And you know I knew that bill -- wanted to hire David -- the Port Authority. And I gave my permission for him to do with that was -- higher. Yes Richard I gave my permission for the hard -- but let's be clear about the -- -- okay. And how the white feel about David down. Listen what I read yesterday makes me angry. That's the one bit of and -- felt that language. And that callous indifference in those emails from David. Yesterday. Aren't just over the top and outrageous. It should never ever. Have been written -- under. By somebody with a position of responsibility like that and and those that Lucent and so that's -- I feel about it and -- the opportunity that further expel them a relationship yet job. -- -- -- -- John I I I said I haven't spoken to them since I discovered emails. But I spoke to them before him. And -- clearly did not tell me the truth. And bill you know what he told me at the time is not contradicted by the emails. But the emails in the color and character -- Has led have led me to conclude that I don't have confidence in his judgment any longer. And that's why ask him to move on. And he -- it's so you know at this point on their legislative hearings are common all the rest and I don't wanna get myself in the middle. Chairman was -- -- sit pretty clearly yesterday that he intends to ask. Particularly until stepping to testify and I don't my gut sense of things that wouldn't be appropriate for me to get in the middle of that because then. You'll be all kinds of other allegations about those conversations -- -- smarter thing you can do is after those two folks -- made determinations. Regarding their future. Two to move on from there and talk to other folks were still mindful. -- yeah. Here. Better. I believe. I believe that I've spoken to everyone. Who was mentioned in the emails except for Charlie McKenna. Who is the way -- a -- and we -- And I am confident based upon my conversations with them that they had no prior knowledge -- involvement in. This situation. You -- -- that's your characterization not mind when -- -- nobody on my staff. Who had any knowledge. Of this issue. Until after the the issue was already done. I'm in the back yes. It's awful. Now I've also seen conflicting reports about what the cause of death was we -- put it doesn't matter. It's -- here. -- and they get. Listen all I can do is apologize for the content the people who worked for me I can't do anything else I can't reverse time. If I could believe me I would. But I'm just gonna apologize I think -- we can do and interest is really nothing else you can do. It is. Yeah. Although we clearly are going to count. -- second term I think. We suspect the town halls during the campaign because of our concern that folks may raise the issue of in the midst of the campaign. Blurring the line between what would be a town hall event will be -- campaign event. -- -- during the campaign we made the determination we were gonna do town homes. As the campaign heated -- to weigh that concern. And you -- I certainly had no plans to do during the transition trying to get through transition but we certainly intend to town hall meetings and second term. And and try to do you hopefully as many as we did in the first term -- -- to a town hall setting processing and and the fact is stated. You know I think. I don't believe I lost the trust of the people matures. I think the people New -- -- looking to see when mistakes are made how their leader is gonna react. And I cannot believe that when they seem to take the accept that day but he'll say mistakes were made. Governor had nothing to do that but he's taking responsibility for. And he's made the decisions that need to be made this promise -- -- continue to make those decisions. If necessary --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":21478158,"title":"Gov. Christie Apologizes Repeatedly for Bridge Scandal at Marathon News Conference","duration":"3:00","description":"Part 1: NJ governor fires Bridget Anne Kelly over controversial closure of bridge lanes.","url":"/Politics/video/chris-christie-bridge-scandal-21478158","section":"Politics","mediaType":"Default"}