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CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript: New Jersey Port Authority Scandal


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BLITZER: Sir, this is a she said versus a she said. She said, who do you believe? Do you believe the mayor of Hoboken or the lieutenant governor of your state?

PALLONE: Well, Wolf, I wasn't party to the conversations, but I do think the allegations of the mayor of Hoboken are very serious, and the U.S. Attorney needs to look into it. And I have said to you in the past, I mean, there's been so many allegations now about, you know, threats and bullying by the Christie administration. You know, it does seem that that's the culture. And I think that this whole idea of abuse of power, you know, has to be looked into, both by these legislative committees and by -- and by the U.S. Attorney's office.

You know, I believe that what happened with the T.V. commercials, that -- where the governor said, you know -- or his administration said, you know, you put me in the T.V. ads, and I'll take the higher bidder, essentially, which is what the Asbury Park Press investigated, is just another example of this abuse of power. And these are serious allegations that have to be looked into.

BLITER: Do you think that both of these women, the mayor of Hoboken, Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, should be brought in for questioning and questioned under oath with lie detectors, if you will? Is that necessary?

PALLONE: Well, both of them don't seem to have a problem in testifying or cooperating thoroughly with the authorities. So I think, you know, that is what's going to happen. They're both going to be asked and U.S. Attorney and the legislative committees will have to look into it and determine what happened. And there may be additional facts that come forward, you know, as we proceed.

BLITZER: Do you think it could have been just a simple misunderstanding in that parking lot? Maybe the lieutenant governor said to the mayor, you know, we really want you to go ahead and approve this development project that's going to be taking place in Hoboken and there wasn't a direct linkage to receiving more Superstorm Sandy funds? Do you think there may have simply been a misunderstanding between these two women as far as communicating what was going on?

PALLONE: No. I think that the mayor of Hoboken has been very clear about what she said she heard. I saw her on "Up With Steve Kornacki," you know, the morning -- Saturday morning when she -- when she said this. And she was pretty clear that there was a direct link being made by the Christie administration. I don't think there's any doubt of what she said that she heard and what her allegations are.

BLITZER: By the way, what's the status of that project, that huge development project that they were talking about?

PALLONE: Again, I don't know. I just know that -- what the mayor of Hoboken said was that, you know, it was still outstanding. But I don't know any details about it -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You were on "NEW DAY" earlier today on CNN. There was a nice interview with you there and you threw out the so-called I word impeachment. Explain precisely where you see this unfolding, this investigation of the governor?

PALLONE: Well, I want to stress that, you know, I don't believe that when you -- if, in fact, it's true that the Christie administration was linking this development project to Sandy aid, that's a serious charge. And something that I think would be illegal. And would result in, you know, impeachment or resignation.

I want to really correct this notion out there that somehow, you know, this is business as usual in New Jersey or, you know, amongst politicians in general. We don't trade, you know, approval of developments for Sandy aid. That's wrong. I mean, I worked very hard to get this money for Sandy relief.

And I'm in Union Beach. And we're here today working to try to rebuild homes that still haven't been rebuilt and a lot of people haven't gotten their checks to rebuild their home or to raise their home. So, you know, this notion that somehow, you know, you're going to link Sandy aid to development or to T.V. ads or whatever, it's just not right. And that's not the way it is and that's not the way it should be.

And, you know, if nothing else comes out of this, it prevents future politicians from making those kinds of links if they occurred.

BLITZER: If they occurred. A spokesman for the governor, Colin Reid, put out a statement saying, I'll put it up on the screen, it's very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television. I want you to react to that accusation that Democrats, and you're a Democrat, are simply piling on against this Republican governor of New Jersey. He was recently re-elected in a significant -- with a significant majority.

PALLONE: Well, remember that the mayor of Hoboken in New Jersey, we have these May nonpartisan elections. She may be a registered Democrat, but she doesn't run as a Democrat. She runs in a nonpartisan election. And, you know, she was not -- I know she didn't endorse the governor. But, you know, she has been -- she has praised him when she thought it was necessary. So, I think it would be wrong, you know, to say that those who are out there and speaking out are just, you know, partisans. And certainly, you know, the case with the mayor of Hoboken, she doesn't even run as a Democrat. So, I think it's very unfair to say that.

BLITZER: Frank Pallone, as Democratic Congressman from New Jersey, and Fort Lee is in your district, right, Congressman?

PALLONE: No, no, I'm in Union Beach. My district is along the Jersey Shore and also in the central part of the state. I don't represent Fort Lee.

BLITZER: All right. And you don't represent Hoboken either, right?


BLITZER: OK. All right. But he does represent a nice district in New Jersey along the Jersey Shore. It's a nice area, by the way, and I recommend it, especially summertime. Hey, Congressman --

PALLONE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: -- thanks very much. Thanks very much.

PALLONE: Thank you.


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