More Trouble For Christie: New York Times: "The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, central to the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, said on Friday that 'evidence exists' the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening. In a letter released by his lawyer, the former official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as 'the Christie administration’s order' and said 'evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference' three weeks ago. ... The letter does not specify what the evidence was."
Refresher: Wildstein was the official who responded "Got it" in a reply to an email from Christie's since-ousted deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, who had told Wildstein that it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." He and Christie were also reportedly at the same place at the same time—for a public event at the World Trade Center—during the third day of the closures, and well after the traffic jams had triggered outrage among local officials. That report appeared to contradict Christie's contention during his press conference that he had not encountered Wildstein "in a long time." He added then: "You know, I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I've had with David since he worked at the Port Authority."
Home-State Paper Talks Resignation: Star Ledger editorial board: "Forget about the White House in 2016. The question now is whether Gov. Chris Christie can survive as governor. ... Wildstein claims there is documentary proof that the governor has been lying. If this proves to be true, then the governor must resign or be impeached. Because it will show that everything he said at his famous two-hour press conference was a lie. And not just a typical political lie—this was like a Broadway show of lies, and would leave Christie so drained of credibility that he could not possibly govern effectively. He would owe it to the people of New Jersey to step aside. And if he should refuse, then the Legislature should open impeachment hearings."
Super Bowl Scare: NBC News: "Initial testing of seven suspicious letters or packages sent to hotels and other locations near the site of Sunday’s Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J., found they were not hazardous, according to the FBI and a law enforcement source. Additional testing was being performed, but preliminary results on the letters found in New York and New Jersey indicated that the security scare was a hoax, the law enforcement official told NBCNewYork. A tweet from the FBI's New York office also indicated that 'substances in suspicious letters ... were deemed non hazardous.' Earlier, federal officials told NBC News that one letter examined at an unidentified location was found to contain only baking soda."
Keystone XL's Giant Step Forward: Reuters: "Pressure for President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline increased on Friday after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change, irking environmentalists and delighting proponents of the project. The agency made no recommendation in its report on whether Obama should grant or deny an application by TransCanada Corp to build the $5.4 billion line, which would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to U.S. refineries. But the State Department said that blocking Keystone—or any pipeline—would do little to slow the expansion of Canada's vast oil sands, maintaining the central finding of a preliminary study issued last year. The 11-volume report's publication opened a new and potentially final stage of an approval process that has dragged for more than five years, taking on enormous symbolic political significance and looming over Obama's environmental and economic legacy."
Bloomberg's New Gig: Associated Press: "Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was appointed Friday to be the U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change, a position that will give the billionaire businessman and philanthropist an international stage to press for action to combat global warming. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose Bloomberg, who made combating climate change a major focus of his 12 years as mayor and was very outspoken on how cities should be run to cope with ever increasing populations without harming the environment. U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Bloomberg will assist the U.N. chief in his consultations with mayors and other key parties "to raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his longer-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change."
Update From Ukraine: Wall Street Journal: "Dmytro Bulatov, an antigovernment activist who disappeared one week ago, turned up bloodied, bruised and missing part of an ear in a village on the outskirts of the capital late Thursday. Protesters reacted with relief, shock and anger at the sight of the 35-year-old garage owner, whose face was cut and caked in blood. He said he'd been tortured: his ear severed, his cheek slashed and his hands nailed to a door as he was beaten. Mr. Bulatov was one of the most visible figures in mass protests against President Viktor Yanukovych's rule in the past two months, leading convoys of vehicles to demonstrate outside top officials' residences. Mr. Bulatov said it was this activism that led to his ordeal. Authorities deny involvement in the abduction, and say they are investigating."
That's all for today. See you back here Monday. Enjoy the big game. (Slatest prediction: Broncos 24, Seahawks 14; MVP: Peyton, even if/when he doesn't put up big numbers.) Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.
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