Bridgegate indictments coming in

So how fucked are Christie’s White House chances now? This is in Elections because that’s why it matters to anyone, btw.

His guy at the Port Authority is pleading guilty. And that isn’t the end of it, not by any means.

Christie never had a chance anyway. He might be electable on his politics, but he’s just too generally sleazy to bear the spotlight of a presidential campaign.

No… not Port Authority Wildstein!

And Ol’ Chris’s Ol’ State Government.

An indictment of Christie would bone him even as Governor. Or one would hope.

Seriously, the simultaneous announcement of Wildstein’s guilty plea makes it look like he plea-bargained the charges in exchange for ratting out Christie. The US Attorney’s tightlips act makes it look like they’re still talking with Christie about his *own *plea bargain, possible making this announcement to put pressure on him.

  1. No matter what Christie would not stand a chance of becoming the GOP nominee.

  2. That said, your speculations aside, the linked article quotes Fishman

Sure does not read to me like they have anything on Christie. Christie is better off now than he was last week as this is now mostly in the rear view mirror. He’s still not a viable contender though.

Port Authority Wildstein’s attorney is still claiming (16 months after the original allegations) that Christie knew about the lane closures.

Not sure this is going to be completely being him at this point. I, for one, would love to see him end his reign in NJ in disgrace.

Sure, nothing says you’re ready to lead like being blissfully unaware of what your inner circle was doing while you were governor.

With respect to the GOP nomination, Christie was toast months ago, he was still toast last week, and he’s still still toast now.

And this just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Better than last week when the possibility was that there was indeed credible evidence that it was on his orders; better than last week when it was an open issue. Still worse than before it broke and as RTF notes, being less charred toast is still toast.

Well, there are two people besides Wildstein (Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly) who got indicted, and they were in higher-up positions and if anything closer to Christie than Wildstein was. So I’d have a hard time saying this is in Christie’s rearview mirror. They’ll have some time to see how good the case against each of them is, and think about whether they want to testify against Christie for a reduced sentence.

I suppose it’s always possible that the three of them conspired without any word from Christie, knowing that he would want them to do something like that. And then Christie, hearing about the Fort Lee traffic disaster on the news, didn’t bother calling Wildstein or Baroni at the Port Authority, knowing they did this for him and knowing why. After all, if he called them, he’d either have to OK what they were doing, which would remove his deniability, or tell them to cease and desist, which would mean less payback.

That’s the best case for Christie: that he will be unindictable, but everyone will know that if he wasn’t directly involved, then it had to go down like that. In the words of Dylan, “In Jersey anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught.”

You mean controlling, sleazy, and devious doesn’t make him an ideal GOP candidate? Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Nah, 'cause Scott Walker does it better, and (at least so far) is in less trouble with the law. :slight_smile:

There are unindicted co-conspirators, and the investigation continues. At least that last part will make **doorhinge **happy.

In Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, there’s a scene where Antony and his buddies meet with their archenemy Pompey to negotiate a truce. During the meeting, one of Pompey’s soldiers takes him aside and asks (and I’m drastically paraphrasing), “Hey, boss, you want us to kill these guys while we’ve got them here?” Pompey replies, “Shit! Why didn’t you just kill them without asking me first? Now that you’ve asked, I have to say no!”

I think that’s probably what happened with Bridgegate: Christie created a culture in which his underlings carried out political vengeance without having to be told what to do. At most, he might have said things like, “Anyone who fucks with us will pay,” without spelling out any details. Wildstein, Kelly, and Baroni knew that their job was to punish Christie’s enemies forcefully and protect his deniability by not discussing any of their shenanigans with him.

Christie is crowing that he’s been “cleared” because he knows his deniability is intact and there is no paper (or email) trail leading back to him. However, I think it’s very likely that he’ll be named as an unindicted co-conspirator, particularly if Kelly and Baroni implicate him to save themselves.

At that same press conference, Fishman was specifically asked if Christie had been cleared.

So Christie claims that he’s been cleared, but when Fishman is asked about it, he ducks the question by pretending he doesn’t know what “clear” means. I don’t think this is over for Christie.

The whole thing is so bizarre, that I’m not sure its obvious it had to go down like anything. It doesn’t make sense to go after a Dem mayor for not endorsing a GOP candidate, it really doesn’t make sense to do it in an election where the GOP candidate would win in a walk and even if it did make sense to try and get revenge, screwing up traffic doesn’t seem like a particularly meaningful way to do it. It’ll inconvenience the mayor’s constituents for a few days, but he can just point out that its the Port Authorities doing.

So I don’t think saying it “makes sense” that Christie would’ve known is a convincing argument, since the whole thing doesn’t really make sense.

That said, I agree it kills his Prez chances, since even if he was totally clean, it makes his Governorship look likely to be a pinata of amateurish scandals, just waiting for the National Press and other Candidates op-research to start wacking at it. Given the number of other viable candidates looking for the GOP nomination, I can’t imagine GOP primary voters would want to take the risk of finding out what else will fall out.

A recent PPP pollof Iowa voters shows that Christie is underwater in favorable/unfavorable 29/47 among Republicans.

Whether this is due to bridgegate or something else is immaterial. This guy is forked.

Maybe I wasn’t clear, but what I was saying was that Christie would have known about the massive Fort Lee traffic jams, because they were all over the news at the time.

At that point, if he were the sort of governor who really didn’t want his staff to pull shit like this, he would have been calling Baroni, at least, and yelling at him to fix it.

But clearly being the sort of governor who did want his staff to pull shit like this, he couldn’t make that call. Because he would have either had to tell Baroni to stop it, or give him an attaboy. The latter makes him part of the conspiracy, and the former undermines his own intent.

And everyone knows that that had to be the case, because presumably he didn’t make the call.

As far as its making sense goes, it makes as much sense as Nixon’s henchmen going after George Steinbrenner for refusing to publicly sign up as a member of Democrats for Nixon in 1972.

Besides, it looks like the Fort Lee mayor wasn’t the only Democratic mayor that Team Christie went after just because he wouldn’t endorse Christie.

And from what I’ve read, Baroni, Wildstein, and Kelly weren’t just impersonal hires, but people Christie knew and socialized with outside of work. He may have been insulated from indictment, but he knew he was hiring a bunch of petty thugs, and the people of New Jersey have surely figured out by now that he knew what sort of people he was hiring.

After his current term is finished, so is his political career in New Jersey.

I think this will make zero difference if he enters the promaries.

What will kill him there is a recent record of being in favor of vaccinations, as well as pictures of him shaking hands with the President.