I assume you've all heard about this by now:
A series of newly obtained emails and text messages shows that Gov. Chris Christie's office was closely involved with lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, and that officials closed the lanes as retribution against the Democratic mayor whose town was gridlocked as a result.
(snip) In the documents, obtained by The New York Times and other news outlets Wednesday, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff in Mr. Christie's office, gave a signal to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close the lanes about two weeks before the closings occurred.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," she emailed David Wildstein, Mr. Christie's close friend from high school, and one of his appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge. Mr. Christie and some officials at Port Authority have said the closings were done as part of a traffic study, but they caused havoc for days, backing up traffic for hours.
As the governor himself told us all a week ago, his staff shared with him "everything we know" about the bridge closing affair.
Christie has placed himself inside a trap. He has said that his office and his campaign had nothing to do with the bridge closing. He has said he knows everything that his staff did relating to the closing. Now we know that a high-ranking staffer clearly was involved in the closing. In other words, Chris Christie has been caught in a lie. And this is not just any lie, it is a lie about abuse of power, an abuse of power that (unlike one involving, say, an adulterous affair with an intern) had a direct, harmful effect on the daily lives of average citizens.
Chris Christie is running in a large field for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. There are many, many other choices that Republican voters have. In addition, there is a significant bloc (Tea Partiers/right-wingers) who see him as a grave threat to their goal of moving their party rightward. This bloc will be relentless in exposing any weakness of a candidate they oppose. Christie has just handed them everything they could have asked for.
It's one thing to be a bully who yells at people Republicans don't like anyway (teachers, liberals). It's another to be a bully who puts people lives at risk. And it's another to be someone who lies about it. People don't like being lied to, especially not to their face. Republicans will never nominate Chris Christie. That's the real result of today's news.
Follow Ian Reifowitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ianreifowitz