TODAY   |  March 28, 2014

Gov. Christie: Scandal ‘will make me a better leader’

An investigation commissioned by N.J. Governor Chris Christie cleared him of wrongdoing in the “Bridgegate” scandal. He spoke out after the findings were announced. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>> now to politics and the so-called bridgegate scandal facing chris christie . and an investigation commissioned by the new jersey governor has now cleared him of wrong doing. and christie spoke out after the findings were announced. kelly o'donnell in trenton. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, carson. governor christie says he's still thinking about running for president despite the damage to his poll numbers and reputation because of the bridge traffic scandal. and this new report is being slammed by democrats as one-sided. even a whitewash. and it finds christie was not involved. first came the media event . where a team of lawyers hired by governor christie 's office unveiled the findings of a taxpayer funded review that concludes christie did not know about a political plot to shut down traffic lanes.

>> this is a vindication of governor christie in that we found what he'd been saying all along was true.

>> then, the governor went on tv. his trademark self-confidence on display when asked about voters in iowa.

>> i think they love me in iowa, too, diane. i've been there a lot.

>> in an interview with abc news, christie said the bridge scandal will have no bearing on whether he runs for president.

>> what's happened in the past ten weeks, i think, ultimately will make me a better leader.

>> reporter: christie claims nothing he did could've inspired former aide bridget ann kelly or david wildstein to think causing a traffic jam would win christie 's favor.

>> i obviously didn't make it clear enough to these folks that this kind of stuff was unacceptable.

>> the 360-page report blamed wildstein and kelly for the closures, but also made public personal details. that kelly and stepien briefly had a personal relationship . neither was married. stepien's lawyer blasted the report for including that, quote, gratuitous detail as a regrettable distraction from the findings that stepien was not involved in shutting down the traffic lanes.

>> reporter: while democrats are criticizing the report, the lawyers involved say their work will ultimately be judged by the outcome of other investigations being done by state lawmakers here and federal authorities, u.s. prosecutors. but after reviewing 250,000 pages of documents, interviewing 70 individuals, the lawyer's review could not explain why the lanes were closed. no political motive was uncovered. carson, savannah?