One of the key players in the scandal surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused him on Friday of lying about his role, while another said he would refuse to testify before a state legislative committee investigating the episode.The Wildstein letter is both more and less than it appears. Legal fog, but political bombshell. Andy Borowitz:
The moves by two of Christie’s longtime political associates could further damage the embattled Republican as he tries to restore his image amid aggressive investigations from Democratic lawmakers and a federal prosecutor.
CHRISTIE ASKS FOR PUBLIC’S PATIENCE WHILE HE COMES UP WITH NEW STORYAmy Davidson:
“We’ve been tossing around everything from my not remembering events correctly to my having a bad reaction to medication,” he said. “We even floated the idea of my being under too much pressure and having to ‘blow off steam.’ As I said, we don’t have a winner yet. But I want to reassure the people of New Jersey that I am working very hard on this.”
Friday afternoon, Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, got called a liar by someone he had called a nothing.More politics and policy below the fold.
“If it is true and he doesn’t have a credible explanation, it would go directly to the ’trust’ issue, a critical vote-determinative attribute,” said Mary Matalin, a former adviser to President George W. Bush’s campaigns and administration. “Having said that, he is a superior politician and 2016 is a long way off.”Josh Kraushaar:
Stick a Fork in Chris ChristieStar-Ledger:
Christie's approval ratings were already taking a nosedive even before Friday afternoon's revelations hit. His personal favorability in both national and New Jersey polls dropped underwater, and increasing numbers of voters have expressed skepticism that Christie knew nothing about what was happening under him. His main selling point for any presidential campaign was electability—that he was popular with independents and some Democrats—and that is no longer operative, even if he can recover from this scandal.
In a strongly worded letter, the lawyer for Gov. Chris Christie's former campaign manager is objecting to a subpoena sent to his client by a state legislative committee investigating the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge.Jonathan Chait:
The letter, which cites the constitutional rights of the campaign manager, Bill Stepien, against both self-incrimination and wrongful search and seizure, was sent to the committee’s special counsel, Reid Schar, today.
The 19-page letter urges that the joint Senate and Assembly committee withdraw the subpoena for documents issued to Stepien, and appears to make clear that he will not produce documents by the Monday deadline.
The combative maneuver by Stepien is the first objection and initial refusal to comply with documents being requested via subpoena in the widening scandal.
A federal criminal investigation into the lane closings is simultaneously being driven by the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman.
The wording change prompted a familiar Chinese fire drill of reporters, after having rushed to proclaim Christie’s political demise, to mock the Times and caution that Christie may survive this yet. And he might! Sometimes people who appear very guilty turn out to be innocent. (See: Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.) But usually, people who appear very guilty turn out to be guilty. And Christie appears very guilty.