Private messages between Governor’s Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock.
The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor — who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election — and they chronicle how he tried to reach Port Authority officials in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the world’s busiest bridge.
The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures.
I think I've related this anecdote before, but on that January night 16 years ago when the Monica Lewinsky scandal dropped, the front page of the Daily News showed President Clinton with the headline, "Can He Survive?" That may have been reckless given how little we knew on Day One, but our gut instinct that this could be a career killer was close to accurate. Clinton did survive, just by the skin of his teeth.
So now, can Chris Christie survive? I'm kind of doubtful -- with the same kind of gut instinct that we felt in 1998.. This Christie news today is the worst that could happen, bringing the scandal into the executive office (a la Nixon and Watergate) and making his earlier mocking of the story now sounds like Clinton not having sexual relations with that woman. The White House is over. He and his aides better hope they're not serving 2017 in the Big House..