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The Christie Investigation: From Inquiry to Lynching?

Christie is the second-term governor of New Jersey. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The two key questions are obvious. What did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie know, and when did he know it?

When I first heard about the George Washington Bridge scandal, I assumed that the governor knew about the phony “traffic study” and the plan to stick it to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Like almost every political reporter and analyst in Washington, D.C., I’m incredibly cynical, making it easy for me to believe the worst about any politician.

We still don’t know whether Christie told the entire truth at his news conference last week or whether the many investigations that are now developing — about the bridge scandal but also about other decisions made by the governor during his time in office — will show poor judgment or even malfeasance.

But given the governor’s immediate reaction to the personal crisis that has engulfed him, it isn’t too soon to wonder when the accusations and media frenzy crossed the line from inquiry and investigation to political lynching.

I said I initially assumed that Christie had some knowledge of the plan to tie up traffic in Fort Lee that has caused so much outrage. But after the governor’s news conference, in which he was so definitive in his denials — and so dismissive of the charges when they aired initially, even mocking them by saying that he was the person who put the cones out on the road — I changed my mind.