Jeff Smith at Politico says pay no attention to what's going on at the surface of the scandal story because down below things are not going so well for Christie:
Federal prosecutors have convened a grand jury to look into the Bridgegate allegations, but that investigation opens Christie up to all kinds of ancillary investigations - in short, everything he has done as governor will come under scrutiny.
That scrutiny is bound to turn something up, particularly relating to Christie's relationship to former Port Authority chairman David Samson, who has conflict of interest problems all over the place, most famously in the Hoboken Sandy aid extortion story that has Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer telling prosecutors Christie's lieutenant governor threatened to withhold aid from Hoboken unless she greenlighted a real estate development deal with connections to a firm Samson runs.
Zimmer and the others telling their stories to federal prosecutors are not talking smack for the hell of it - they open themselves up to criminal charges for that sort of thing, so whatever stories they're telling, they're mostl likely on the up-and-up. Even more troubling for Christie, Zimmer's story can perhaps be corroborated by three or four other people she told about it at the time, including the Hoboken city lawyer who just had his attorney-client privilege waived so he can talk to prosecutors.
Christie crony David Wildstein just got immunity to talk to prosecutors about what he knows, including the allegation that surfaced that Wildstein told Christie of the bridge closures on September 11, 2013, well before Christie claims to have known about the incident.
Smith says Wildstein probably doesn't have any evidence fatal to Christie - otherwise he wouldn't have had his lawyer publicly fishing around for immunity for Wildstein - but he's got enough to do damage, as does the other Christie crony, Bridget Anne Kelly, who got trashed in Chris Christie's internal Bridgegate scandal investigation and report released a little while back:
There is a little known federal statute called “misprision of a felony” (18 U.S.C. § 4), which could be used against Christie if Wildstein can prove that he told Christie of the bridge closing contemporaneously. The statute, used against people who fail to report knowledge of a felony to the appropriate authorities, is generally only applied against those in a special position of authority. Kelly’s recent response to the Mastro report, in which her attorney wrote that she could arbitrate a he-said/she-said dispute regarding Christie’s contemporaneous knowledge of the bridge closing, strongly implied that Kelly’s involvement in the affair came at the behest of superiors as she sought to “pursue the goals of the Office.” With the Mastro report and the governor himself having now thoroughly trashed Wildstein and Kelly in a pre-emptive attempt to erode their credibility, they have precious little to lose by telling all.
But the biggest problem Christie may face is what Samson does:
The available evidence suggests that Samson is in real danger of an indictment, and Christie and his lawyers’ desperate effort to shield him from any blowback indicate that they are acutely interested in keeping him quiet. Christie implied in announcing Samson’s resignation that the 74 year-old may simply have wanted to relax, but assuming that prison is not the ideal retirement community, Christie must be concerned about Samson’s exposure—and potentially his own. And based on my knowledge of federal investigations, if Samson is indicted, the only way he’ll likely be able to avoid prison is by revealing knowledge of wrongdoing by Christie – knowledge that, as the governor’s longtime mentor and close ally, he may be uniquely situated to possess. As Christie knows better than anyone, the feds don’t hand out immunity like pediatricians hand out lollipops. And neither judges nor parole boards appear to resist elderly incarceration; indeed, seniors are the fastest growing generational cohort in federal prisons. So if Samson is indicted and wants to die a free man, he probably has to give up something meaningful – i.e., Christie.
Chris Christie can make believe on the surface like nothing's wrong all he wants - underneath it all, he's got serious exposure to a whole host of potential indictments.
Wildstein's talking, Kelly's got reason to talk now after Christie's internal report did a hammer job on her, Samson's got reason to talk if he doesn't want to die in prison - and they all may have some interesting things to say about Governor Chris Christie.
And that's leaving Sheriff Andy Cuomo himself out of this, who Christie allegedly called over the Bridgegate mess himself to try and get Cuomo's PA representative to stop causing trouble for Christie.
Hard to know what Cuomo knows - and what he did with that knowledge - but that's certainly a potential problem for Christie as well.
It appears that Christie and Cuomo conspired together to raise Port Authority bridge and tunnel tolls and PATH fares in order to steal the money for their own projects in their respective states, so Cuomo probably has good reason to protect Christie in order to protect himself.
We'll have to see how this all plays out - I'm not ready to say Christie's toast yet, but I would say this is a helluva lot of fun to watch play out.
I bet Mary Pat isn't laughing so much these days.