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Christie's back to old self, a day after being cleared

| Friday, March 28, 2014, 9:54 p.m.
REUTERS
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reacts to a question during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey March 28, 2014. Governor Chris Christie on Friday said the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had resigned, a day after an internal investigation cleared Christie in the 'Bridgegate' scandal embroiling the potential 2016 Republican presidential contender. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

TRENTON, N.J. — The usually garrulous Republican Gov. Chris Christie avoided news conferences and interviews for more than two months until Thursday, the day a report he commissioned cleared him of any involvement in the politically motivated plot to cause huge traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge last year.

Christie submitted to interviews taped for ABC and Fox News. In the interview with Fox's Megyn Kelly, Christie said the scandal won't harm his long-term political plans.

And a vintage, defiant Christie re-emerged on Friday at a Statehouse news conference in which he cracked jokes, jousted with reporters and acknowledged the toll of the scrutiny.

“There is no question this shakes your confidence,” he said. “If it doesn't, you're arrogant.”

Christie defended the integrity of the taxpayer-funded report clearing him. It was produced by lawyers chosen by his office.

“I think the report will stand the test of time,” he said.

Christie announced the resignation of David Samson as chairman of the Port Authority, which runs the bridge.

Samson, a former New Jersey attorney general, was a Christie appointee who has not been accused of involvement in the lane closings but whose business dealings have come under scrutiny as the scandal unfolded.

Samson's law firm was representing a business that was undertaking a redevelopment project in Hoboken. The city's Democratic mayor, Dawn Zimmer, has said that members of Christie's cabinet threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy aid unless she backed the plan. Christie's administration denies that.

Samson was the subject of reports this year that found businesses he represented may have benefited from Port Authority actions.

He said in a statement that he had planned to step down from the chairman job anyway.

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