Christie’s Political Future Subject of Fierce Debate

by Eliana Johnson

Karl Rove, the National Journal’s Ron Fournier, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel, and the Washington Post’s Chuck Lane debated the extent to which the report released this week on the Bridgegate scandal by the law firm Gibson Dunn will put the matter to rest and rehabilitate Christie as a 2016 presidential contender.

The four were unanimous that the scandal will continue to plague Christie as a legislative panel and the U.S. attorney in New Jersey continue their probes. They disagreed sharply, however, on the credibility of the report, which exonerated Christie, and which the governor has sought to use as a means to put an end to the media frenzy over the scandal.

Fournier called the report a “whitewash.” “We saw what happened with the IRS scandal,” he said. “When you have your person investigate yourself nobody believes it, it’s not credible. This was basically his attorney declaring his innocence, and the public trial is about to begin. And the public trial is going to be ugly.” Christie commissioned the Gibson Dunn report and, as a result, many have presumed its findings were biased in the governor’s favor.

Strassel and Rove argued that the report is far more credible than Fournier suggested. “It’s a very well-respected law firm,” Strassel said, and the report was conducted by a team of former prosecutors who would not whitewash their findings. “You are now talking about so many reputations at stake here,” she said.

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