Six New Jersey residents have filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Chris Christie, the state of New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others over traffic jams in September…

The plaintiffs want it certified as a class action.

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CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said there was a lot still to unravel regarding communications between the parties and how the decision to disrupt traffic was made.

“That question will be very important for Paul Fishman,” Toobin said of the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey…

Fishman’s office is working with the FBI’s public corruption unit to see if any federal laws were broken, a law enforcement source told CNN.

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Chris Christie is a favorite among deep-pocketed Wall Street donors for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. But the New Jersey governor’s involvement in a major scandal over lane closures on the world’s busiest bridge could threaten to cool some of that support

The concern, as one donor who’s supported Christie put it, is that the actions by the Christie aides “is environmental. He created an environment where that could happen.”…

One senior financial services industry executive said support is not yet wavering for Christie but could if the scandal is not cleaned up fast.

“Everyone is looking at how he handles it,” said this person, who declined to be identified by name in order to speak candidly about Christie. “They are not as concerned about the scandal itself, assuming he didn’t actually know anything about it, but about the management of it. Can he tidy it up neatly and decisively. If he can, great. If not you will see people waver.”

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Here’s the problem with that tack (with the acknowledgment that given Christie’s ambition, it’s the only approach he could possibly take): If ANYTHING comes out that suggests that he had any sort of involvement in ANY way with the closures of the lanes, he is done for. He left no wiggle room for himself. None. He also insisted that this episode was anomalous in his administration — repeatedly rejecting the idea that he was a bully or fostered a bullying atmosphere within his senior staff…

This is in the early stages, not the late ones, and Christie’s strong denials on Fort Lee and broader dismissal of the idea of a bullying culture mean that if incidents come to light that contradict those denials, they are even more problematic to Christie and his future than they would have been a week ago.

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By admitting that he didn’t know anything about it, the governor admits to allowing a rogue political operation to operate underneath him. Given how cavalier these aides were about this infraction and how small the political stakes, it’s hard to imagine that in bigger instances at least some other gambits weren’t tried. If you are caught firing your six-shooter willy-nilly around the house at fruit flies, there’s a pretty good chance you’re behaving recklessly because you’ve become habituated to the recklessness and it isn’t your first time. This offered another moment in which Christie’s story seemed ripe for puncturing. He seemed confused at how on earth anything like this could be possible. That would be a hard posture for any politician to maintain, especially one with Christie’s reputation for political fortitude.

As this story unfolds, we’ll see if this was an isolated incident that grew in a culture that was otherwise hostile to such low behavior or whether this was a part of a broader pattern. At the very least, this will complicate Christie’s efforts to sell himself in the future as a hands-on manager.

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Democrats predictably condemned the New Jersey governor after a bombshell report Wednesday tied one of his top staffers to a burgeoning scandal that’s already been dubbed “Bridge-gate.” More notable was the dearth of Republicans who rose to Christie’s defense — and, privately, the schadenfreude expressed by some of them that a man who’s never been shy about taking shots at others was suddenly on the receiving end…

“All these people who feel like he’s bullied and he’s put them in a horse-collar hold … will feel free to say, ‘See, I told you so,’” said one Republican who has worked with Christie.

That sense of glee from detractors “is going to be worse than they anticipate,” said the Republican, adding that local critics but also detractors in some of the early presidential states might now feel emboldened to take shots at a man who 24 hours ago was seen by many as the most likely GOP standard-bearer in 2016.

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Republican media strategist Rick Wilson, who worked on Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign, argued that Christie “goes out of his way to be a dick to other Republicans” — and will reap the payback if his fortunes start to head south.

“You’re going to see conservatives returning the favor he gave them over the last year. There’s no love lost between Chris Christie and conservatives. I don’t expect them to be in love with him, and he doesn’t want their love,” said Wilson. “But if you want to win a GOP primary, you better find a way to get there.”…

Added one GOP strategist: “He has gotten way, way ahead of his supply lines in terms of national exposure. His straight talk reputation now runs the risk of slipping into a bad place where voters grow tired of his style and this kind of drama.”

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I’m ambivalent on his run for the Presidency. But I don’t see him getting that far for the very reasons underlying this issue — he and his staff operate as divas.

I have had Congressmen, Governors, and the staffers of Congressmen and Governors tell me horror stories about dealing with Christie’s people. All of them seem to dread it…

This was always going to be Christie’s problem. People want a winner. And they want an a**hole. But they want the person to be their a**hole, not an a**hole who tries to make everyone else his whipping boy.

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It’s a grotesque Jersey version of the ugly truth that underlies all electoral politics: The primary goal is to win re-election. There’s a reason that the same people who work on political campaigns then work for important jobs in government—it’s largely the same job, with the same boss, and the same goal…

Think of these kinds of careers, and of the callous disregard these people can have for voters and insufficiently loyal politicians (Stepien’s reaction to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s public complaints about the traffic jam was “The mayor is an idiot”), the next time you hear someone describe politics as public service. When you give politicians power—such as the authority to appoint leaders to bi-state public bodies that control basically all the infrastructure in and around New York City and New Jersey—you are handing over tools that they and the many plausible deniers that work for them can and will use to get the boss man re-elected. It is disgusting, and it is predictable. If you want less corruption, give politicians less power.

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Speaker of the House John Boehner said he believes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is still a serious contender for 2016 in spite of the scandal surrounding the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year…

Asked if Christie could still be a top contender if he were to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Boehner said he believes Christie could.

“I think so,” he said. “I think so.”

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