Well, looks like Bridgegate is moving so fast that we're leaping right over the initial crime or crimes and headed right into the far more lucrative, prosecutorially speaking, milieu of "The Cover-Up". Once the newspapers start using that term, you can practically hear the dum-de-dum-dum-DUMMMMM music of Dragnet playing in the background.
That term, "cover-up", is the conclusion that most seem to be drawing as the big take-away from the second Document Dump. For your reading pleasure the following stories are just a sampling from The New York Times, The Washington Post and Slate.
That's just a sample. To quote Fox News - If you want to find out more - just Google it!
In the interest of brevity, I won't do the extensive excerpts and analysis, because it is all relatively simple to understand, once you get the gist of it which I will briefly summarize below and then provide the single obvious question that should be asked on every Sunday show, but which probably won't be.
Okay, what all those stories boil down to is that emails were flying fast and furiously between the Port Authority people, mostly Baroni and Wildstein, and the Christie political staff AFTER the lane closures and chaos. If the lane closures themselves were a crime, then these after the fact emails would constitute the bulk of what the journalists are now labeling "the cover-up".
To repeat an observation I have made previously - when have so many people anywhere at any time been so fascinated by a traffic study? If this was a "traffic study" why were the Port Authority people involving, updating and looking for guidance from both the political and the administrative flanks of the Christie people?
The Christie Port Authority guys are running around and demanding "no public discourse" while they internally blame and point fingers concerning leaks. A Port Authority spokesperson emails at one point that he will not be saying anything specifically instructed to do so. There are updates about what has or hasn't been said to the Mayor of Ft.Lee from both the PA folks AND the Christie admin people. Christie's Deputy COS AND his brand new Chief of Staff are in the loop.
We already knew that Baroni was soliciting reviews for his "traffic study" presentation to the transportation panel from other Christie people, most notably the Chief Legal counsel (if this is the "Charlie" being referred to) who seem to be all breathlessly watching. I would venture that Christie himself watched - remember how he said admiringly, "he had props!" in his news conference?
Isn't amazing when you think of all the time and interest and discussion and back and forth of ALL THESE PEOPLE in doing damage control over a traffic study?
Thanks for reading so far. Here is the question I would like to see asked-
When has the Christie administration ever shown a comparable interest in another traffic study either before, after, or during it's implementation?
If there are others, then there would be cause to look to see if traffic inconvenience is a weapon that has been deployed before
If the answer is NEVER, well then, draw your own conclusions.
(This is something that I wrote as a comment which I think belongs in the diary itself)
I'm listening to Meet The Press and just realized that Christie's press conference on Dec. 2nd, IF HE KNEW there was administration involvement, which we now know there was - is PART OF THE COVER-UP. They played the clip of his "I placed the cones" moment.
Now read this:
Sarcasm on Dec. 2: At an unrelated news conference, I asked Gov. Christie about the controversy involving the closing of local lanes to the George Washington Bridge. The Fort Lee mayor had suggested it was done as political retribution. Christie's reaction, which brought laughs from his assembled staff, was dismissive: "I worked the cones, actually. Unbeknownst to everybody I was actually the guy out there, in overalls and a hat. You cannot be serious with that question, Matt!"Now I see this as Christie being too clever by half and playing an inside joke for the amusement of his staff. This clip could be the illustration for "hubris".
This could be a smoking gun and like the purloined letter it's been hiding in plain sight.
If this was some furtive secret operation where everyone tried to keep their leader out of the loop would either he or they have behaved in this way? Would his staff have laughed in open enjoyment at his mockery if they were trying to keep him out of it? Seems to me, If I were a staff member involved in some secret conspiracy, I would have been shifting uncomfortably and keeping my head down when the whole topic arose.
He and some members of his staff were loving it at this moment and they were thumbing their noses at both the public and the journalists. Simply incredible in light of all we know now - how many of those people laughing have already been exposed as being in the loop?
I would just like to be clear that in no way do I mean to imply nor do I believe that everyone at the Port Authority or everyone on Christie's staff had knowlege of or involvement in what has come to be known as "Bridgegate" or any cover-up or conspiracy thereafter. There are lots of people in both categories that had no option but do their jobs as requested by their superiors and whose only involvement is peripheral and simply due to the nature of their employment. My sympathies are with them for being dragged into this mess.