Chris Christie Attacks New York Times Again As Subpoenas Fly
January was a rough month for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and February isn’t shaping up to be much better. For the second time in a matter of days, an internal email from Christie’s office has leaked, and for the second time, it paints the governor and his staff in a petty, vindictive light. On the same day, his former deputy chief of staff, who ordered the lane closures in Fort Lee last year that caused the infamous week-long traffic jam, refused to hand over documents to the New Jersey legislature to aid in their investigation. Oh, and in a radio interview, Christie confirmed that his office has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney in its investigation over the lane closures. Like we said, a rough week.
On Friday, former Port Authority official and Christie appointee David Wildstein alleged that “evidence exists” that Christie was lying when he claimed, in early January, that he didn’t know about the lane closures until after they were reported in the press. Christie responded with a two-page email to allies attacking Wildstein’s character and credibility; this was roundly criticized, largely because it was Christie himself who appointed Wildstein to the PA. In fact, Christie has known Wildstein since high school, and created the position at the PA specifically so he could appoint Wildstein to it, so talk about how Wildstein has been a sketchy character since high school rang somewhat hollow.
Today, Christie set his eyes on a new target: The New York Times, which reported on Wildstein’s original allegations. Like the last email, this one was petulant and, frankly, demeaning to the office of the Governor. It focused on the largely-irrelevant side story of how the New York Times reported the story to begin with,* and didn’t address any of the substance of the allegations against Christie.
Also on Monday, former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Ann Kelly invoked her Fifth Amendment rights — that’s the right to avoid self-incrimination — so that she wouldn’t have to give the New Jersey state legislature documents relating to the lane closures. She’s the second former Christie ally to use the Fifth Amendment in response to a legislative subpoena — the first was Wildstein.
Christie rounded out the day with an radio interview, wherein he admitted that his office has been issued a subpoena by the U.S. Attorney.
It’s still possible that Christie emerges from this unscathed, but that possibility is shrinking by the day: According to BuzzFeed, even Christie’s fellow Republicans think there’s “probably a 60 percent chance the other shoe will drop” in the scandal.
In unrelated-but-actually-related news, Mike Huckabee is having a good day.
*The original Times piece stated that Wildstein possessed evidence that Christie had lied; it was later amended to read that “evidence exists” that Christie lied, but the Times didn’t post a notice of correction.