TODAY   |  January 15, 2014

Investigation begins in NJ traffic jam scandal

As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gets underway in his second term, a formal investigation is set to begin by lawmakers looking into who exactly was responsible in his administration for an orchestrated traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> let's turn to new jersey now and a new apology from governor chris christie over bridgegate. during tuesday's state of the state address he said voters deserved better. kelly o'donnell has more from the state capital in trenton. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. the bridge scandal now moves into a second week since those e-mails came out and examination into what happened moves into a new gear. tomorrow, lawmakers will form a new investigatory committee and they'll give that committee subpoena power. while the governor says that this mess should not be a distraction from the state's other business. christie 's crisis management plan.

>> we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again.

>> the words appropriate inquiries carefully chosen. a signal to lawmakers who formalize their investigations tomorrow to keep focus on the core of this controversy. who in christie 's administration ordered the traffic lanes closed and why. christie 's senior aides, some of whom may be called to testify were on hand for his address.

>> we let down the people, we're entrusted to serve. i know our citizens deserve better, much better.

>> democrats pledged to be fair and thorough.

>> we know everybody's fascinated by bridgegate. and i know that the reality is that i think we'd all like to go to the last chapter of the book and read what is the conclusion here? that's not responsible. there needs to be a methodical and systematic approach to this.

>> christie is trying to steer his own second term agenda. the governor's state of the state address spanned a range of policy ideas for nearly an hour. he covered the bridge scandal in the first two minutes. the republican assembly leader says that is enough for now.

>> well, i think to say i will cooperate with investigations, that's what the public wants to hear.

>> reporter: political advisers around chris christie say although his poll ratings have suffered some, his overall approval is close to 60%. they'll take that for now. and the governor is going to begin traveling around the state next week to talk about some of those policy ideas that he laid out in the speech and to try to get things off of a sole focus on the bridgegate scandal.