The Bridgegate Verdict’s Preview of the Trump Administration
Interesting take from David Graham in the Atlantic:
Late Friday morning, a jury in New Jersey returned a verdict in the case against former Chris Christie aides Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly in “Bridgegate,” the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge. Jurors decided that Baroni and Kelly had conspired to create gridlock on the span between New Jersey and New York, finding them guilty on all nine counts. Two other aides to Christie, who is the Republican governor of New Jersey, had previously pleaded guilty.
That creates a sticky situation for Christie—and, in turn for Donald Trump. Christie was one of Trump’s earliest backers within the GOP establishment, and although he was passed over for the role of vice-presidential nominee, he is leading the transition team that will create a presidential administration if Trump wins on Tuesday.
Information about how the transition teams are in charge of “filling roughly 4,000 politically appointed positions in the executive branch” here.
This is particularly awkward because it comes as Trump is working to tar Clinton with her ties to disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner, and with anonymous reports (disputed by other anonymous reports) of looming indictments in an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Now, there are actual convictions close to the Trump campaign.
In a statement Friday, Christie said he was “saddened” by the case, but he suggested the aides were lying and reiterated that he had no knowledge of the closures and did not authorize them.
Note that Trump himself doesn’t buy this, stating that Christie “totally knew about it.”
… one thing that seems to have brought Christie and Trump together is their pugilistic attitude toward the world and their enemies. Christie has always reveled in counterpunching and vengeance, which is one reason the Bridgegate story was so damaging to him: Even before the four guilty verdicts, the idea that he had acted for revenge fit with what the public already knew about him. Trump, too, has a love of revenge. “Get even with people,” he told a crowd in Australia in 2011. “If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it.”
If you liked the way the Christie administration approached such problems, you’re probably going to love a Trump administration. After all, the same guy’s in charge of the hiring process.