And it validates what I said all along: Getting the endorsements was always more important than the real estate deal. The important plan was to package and sell Christie as the bipartisan savior for the presidential race, and the financial shenanigans were just business as usual.
Mr. Christie has said that he had not been aware of his office’s involvement in the maneuver, and nothing has directly tied to him to it. But a close look at his operation and how intimately he was involved in it, described in interviews with dozens of people — Republican and Democrat, including current and former Christie administration officials, elected leaders and legislative aides — gives credence to the puzzlement expressed by some Republicans and many Democrats in the state, who question how a detail-obsessed governor could have been unaware of the closings or the effort over months to cover up the political motive.
Christie is going to have a very hard time now, because the Times piece emphasizes that Christie was always closely involved in decision making. Here are the parts that jumped out at me:
Mr. Christie himself tended to the smallest of details. He personally oversaw appointments to the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, legislative leaders said, and when he wanted to discuss something with lawmakers, he texted them himself. (He told one top legislator that he had learned from his experience as United States attorney not to email; texts were harder to trace.)
The State House team met briefly every morning, perhaps for 20 minutes, for a quick overview of the day’s issues and what was being reported, with the governor joining in person or on the phone. Since his days as the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey, many people said, he preferred to use his cellphone or to meet, rather than to communicate by email or conference call.
The New York Times doesn't take on a presidential contender like this unless they're pretty confident he's going down. Christie's in trouble. Big trouble.