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Gov. Christie Cleared by Internal Bridgegate Probe

An internal review carried out by attorneys picked by Gov. Christie has reportedly concluded the Governor played no role in instigating lane closures on the George Washington Bridge which became a damaging political scandal known as Bridgegate.

The New York Times reports that attorneys from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a law firm with ties to the Christie administration, conducted 70 interviews and had unfettered access to internal communications. However, Bridget Kelly, the Governor’s former Deputy Chief of Staff who sent an email suggesting “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” was not interviewed. Neither were two other individuals at the center of the controversy.

Despite the likelihood that critics will reject his conclusions, attorney Randy Mastro described his review as “comprehensive and exhaustive.” Mastro tells the Times there would be no point in “sugarcoating” the results [the Times‘ word not Mastro’s] because both the State Legislature and the United States Attorney are carrying out their own investigations.

Predictably, Democrats in New Jersey are already said to be eager to capitalize on (or criticize) the report. The Times quotes Senator Loretta Weinberg saying the yet-to-be-revealed report is “too little, too late.”

The Times also seems to have a fairly high standard for what the report should accomplish:

It is not known whether the investigation resolved the crucial issue ofwhether Mr. Christie created or condoned a culture that fosteredpolitical intimidation.

Either Christie knew about the lane closures or he did not. If he did not, as this story suggests this report will conclude, then there is no way he could have condoned the activity in question. On what basis then would the report conclude Christie had created a culture of political intimidation? The Times doesn’t say. They seem to be holding out hope for some kind of corruption meta-story, one that will transcend the facts which, for the moment, appear to be failing Christie’s critics.

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