Calls grow among Missouri Republicans for Greitens to resign
Posted April 12, 2018 9:26 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Two top Missouri Republicans are calling for the resignation of their state's GOP governor, Eric Greitens, following the release of a graphic report that includes allegations that Greitens engaged in non-consensual sexual activity and violence against a woman with whom he had an affair.
A Missouri state House committee, which is majority Republican, released the graphic report Wednesday. It includes sworn testimony from the woman, whose name has not been publicly released, that the governor threatened to release a photograph he took of her bound and blindfolded if she disclosed their encounter. He also allegedly slapped her and coerced her into performing oral sex.
"The transcripts paint the picture of a vulnerable woman and a man who preyed on that vulnerability. I am disgusted, disheartened, and I believe Governor Greitens is unfit to lead our state," Rep. Ann Wagner, who is one of two GOP congresswomen from Missouri, wrote on Twitter.
The state's other GOP congresswoman, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, wrote in a Facebook post that Greitens' alleged behavior was "disgusting" and "not behavior befit for a leader in Missouri or anywhere else for that matter," though she stopped short of calling for Greitens to step down. Her office directed requests for further comment Thursday to her campaign, which did not immediately return a CNN message.
But Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is the leading GOP candidate challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill in her bid for re-election this year, said Wednesday that the report contains "impeachable" evidence and called for the governor's resignation. He also has opened an investigation into the Greitens campaign's use of a nonprofit donor list, an issue also being probed by the House committee and the St. Louis circuit attorney.
"The House Investigative Committee's Report contains shocking, substantial, and corroborated evidence of wrongdoing by Governor Greitens," Hawley said in a statement. "The conduct the report details is certainly impeachable, in my judgment, and the House is well within its rights to proceed on that front. But the people of Missouri should not be put through that ordeal. Governor Greitens should resign immediately."
McCaskill has also called for the Missouri governor to step down.
"I have read the official report from the Republican led Missouri House investigation, including the sworn testimony. It is clearly time to put the interests of the people of Missouri first. The governor should resign," McCaskill tweeted.
The office of Missouri's other senator, Republican Roy Blunt, said in a statement that the allegations are "very concerning" but it didn't address the possibility of Greitens resigning, saying "both the legislative and legal processes that are underway are appropriate and should continue moving forward."
CNN has reached out to the other members of Missouri's congressional delegation for comment on whether they believe Greitens should step down. Several Missouri Republican state lawmakers have also called for him to resign.
Greitens admitted to the extramarital affair back in January, but vehemently denied he blackmailed the woman.
After the report's release Wednesday, Greitens said in a statement that "this was an entirely consensual relationship, and any allegation of violence or sexual assault is false."