Francis Wilkinson gives a great rundown, Christie’s Bridge Report Is an Embarrassment. The report is even more sordid than the actions imply. It focuses on an alleged affair that Bridget Kelly had with Chris Christie’s campaign manager Bill Stepien. Apparently, they broke up and Kelly went on tilt, closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge for reasons that the report does not explain. Why exactly David Wildstein would go along with this is unclear. But then the whole report seems to be unclear.
The strategy of the investigation seems to have been to simply take Chris Christie’s word for everything. Wilkinson says the best line in the report is, “Governor Christie’s account of these events rings true.” And that does seem to be how the writers of the report see their job: to push the governor’s narrative. Check out this passage which is pure Christie apologetics:
In other words: (1) Wildstein never told that to the governor; and (2) even if he did Christie couldn’t have known what it was all about. But the report doesn’t just exonerate the governor. It also exonerates those around him that have not already been caught:
That’s the report in a nutshell. It can be simply summed up: everything we already know is the whole truth; there is nothing more to it. They found no evidence that would implicate Stepien and Baroni. But then, they found no evidence about anything other than the fact that Kelly and Stepien had had an affair. Really the report is little more than a hit job on Bridget Kelly.
What’s terrible is that this is not a report paid for by Chris Christie to help him in his defense. This is a report paid for the taxpayers of New Jersey. Its intent is clearly not to shed light on the bridge scandal. It is simply to give Christie cover. It is to provide a plausible narrative for him going forward. But that’s Christie, ain’t it? That’s long been the hit on him: he abuses the office for his own personal gain. That’s what the bridge scandal is about. That’s what the “Stronger Than the Storm” ad was about. And that’s the case here where Christie uses the people’s money to further his presidential aspirations.
And it may all be for naught—too little, too soon. The New York Times just reported that, Port Authority Chairman Resigns, Christie Announces. That’s David Samson, Christie’s chief ally, and the guy Christie has repeatedly claimed was absolutely positively not involved in the scandal. I do hope Christie goes down in a big way, just like Hank Quinlan in Touch of Evil.