Chris Christie update: Bridgegate gets a grand jury

Christie keeps trying to move forward, but a grand jury and a big New Yorker profile won't make it easy

Published April 7, 2014 1:15PM (EDT)

Chris Christie                        (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Chris Christie (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Chris Christie has been trapped in a major professional crisis throughout 2014 thus far, with all of his attempts to put Bridgegate behind him failing as new details leak and as major developments occur. The news on Friday of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's having convened a grand jury to examine charges and hear testimony counts as perhaps the most important new moment in Christie's Bridgegate saga since "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" became an instant catchphrase. And while the news for Christie on the legal front is bad, the media continues to paint a picture of a governorship defined by cynical glad handing and intimidation.

Here's the latest for Christie:

  • Bloomberg confirmed over the weekend that Christie press secretary Michael Drewniak was recently summoned to speak before the grand jury. What he said or was asked about is not yet known (although his lawyer did confirm that the spokesman himself is not currently under investigation).
  • We're not seeing this confirmed anywhere else, but Scott Raab of Esquire is reporting that Christie's former proxy within the Port Authority, David Wildstein, is cooperating with U.S. Attorney Fishman. Wildstein was the recipient of the "time for some traffic..." email, is a longtime Christie ally, and has previously indicated through his lawyer that he has damaging information about Christie's involvement in the traffic jam scheme. If Raab is correct, Christie partisans may have a big problem on their hands.
  • Christie is hoping to reorient attention back to his work as New Jersey's governor, however, with another town hall planned for Wednesday of this week. The plan is to take questions about and discuss Christie's new budget; but so far most town hall attendees have wanted to express their displeasure with the rate of the post-Sandy recovery.
  • The New Republic has a fresh interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is kind of the Democratic equivalent of Christie — loud, brash, bullying, macho, aggressive and so on. Emanuel is a former political operator himself, having done much to orchestrate the Democratic Party's takeover of the House in 2006. During his TNR interview, Emanuel spends a few moments discussing Christie's White House future. He's not optimistic: "It may take more than an immediate time frame for him to recover," Emanuel said of Christie, "and he doesn’t have more than that."
  • Finally, the New Yorker has a big, meaty profile of Christie's administration by Ryan Lizza. It's a big, sweeping piece so it's a bit hard to boil down to a few words, but suffice it to say Lizza does not leave the reader feeling any more confident that a President Christie would run the White House more benignly than he does Trenton.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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