After the Bridgegate scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seemed to believe he could skate by, or at least buy some time, by releasing a taxpayer-funded “internal inquiry” that cleared him entirely of any wrongdoing whatsoever. And while media and public’s response to the report was never as accepting as Christie and his allies no doubt had hoped, there was a time — about a week or so — when Christie’s “report” functioned as the last say on the Bridgegate scandal. But if new reports about former Christie ally and high school acquaintance David Wildstein are correct, Christie’s lawyers won’t be having the last word after all.
Here’s the latest Bridgegate and Chris Christie news:
- Confirming earlier reports from Monday, CNN finds that Wildstein, the recipient of Bridget Kelly’s infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email and key orchestrator of the whole debacle, is talking with federal prosecutors. CNN reports that Wildstein has already spoken previously with the feds, who are trying to determine to what degree Bridgegate was motivated by goals of political payback. Wildstein has reportedly not been offered immunity to tell all — yet.
- Olivia Nuzzi of the Daily Beast has another, longer report on the Wildstein news. Nuzzi spoke with Jeff Smith, a current professor at the New School and former Missouri state politician who spent a year in prison for campaign finance violations, in order to get a better sense of what Wildstein’s talking to investigators means for Christie. “Anyone who’s around [Christie] may be wearing a wire. I’m sure he thought of that months ago, because that’s what he did for a living [as the U.S. Attorney] for six years,” Smith told Nuzzi. “He should be worried about everybody … There’s a lot of people around Christie who are probably privy to various things which may be problematic.”
- Speaking of Smith, he has a piece in Politico Magazine along the same lines, using his experience to shed light on what Christie is now facing. While it would be a mistake to attribute the headline of the piece to Smith (they’re usually written by editors), it nevertheless pithily captures the gist of Smith’s essay: “Chris Christie is toast.”
- And in news of smaller consequence, after being a key source of dagger quotes for the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza in his new, sweeping look at Chris Christie’s “political style,” former New Jersey GOP governor and supposed Christie mentor Tom Kean Sr. rather half-heartedly tells NJ.com that he and Christie are A-OK. “I got pretty mad at him about what he tried to do to my son,” Kean said, referring to Christie’s failed attempt to have Tom Kean Jr. ousted as Senate Minority Leader, “but he and my son are getting along well fine now.”