Scandal

McConnell Takes Hard Line on Sex Scandals

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “has a well-documented history of showing little tolerance for sex scandals that he fears could tarnish the image of the Senate and his party,” the New York Times reports.

“He was a major force behind the effort to push out Larry E. Craig, the Idaho Republican arrested at the Minneapolis airport in 2007 in an undercover sex sting. And he was the chairman of the ethics committee when Senator Bob Packwood, the powerful Oregon Republican, resigned in 1995 under threat of expulsion after he was accused of sexual harassment.”

U.K. Sex Scandal Escalates as Cabinet Minister Named

Pressure mounted on British Prime Minister Theresa May after her defense secretary “admitted to inappropriately touching a journalist, bringing the sex scandal swirling around Westminster to the heart of her government,” Bloomberg reports.

“The escalation of allegations about sexual harassment in the British Parliament to include May’s inner circle could not have come at a worse time for the prime minister. She is seeking to navigate a path out of the European Union and struggling to claw back credibility after a catastrophic election result in June. She sat grim faced in the House of Commons on Monday as lawmakers debated extra action needed to protect staff.”

British Minister Admits Asking Assistant to Buy Sex Toys

The British Cabinet Office is to investigate whether Conservative MP Mark Garnier “broke the ministerial code after he admitted asking his former assistant to buy sex toys,” the Guardian reports.

However, Garnier insisted that referring to his assistant as “sugar tits,” as she says he did, was a reference to the popular BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey, saying: “It absolutely does not constitute harassment.”

Top Florida Democrat Resigns Over Affair

“The Florida Senate’s top Democratic leader, Jeff Clemens, resigned Friday after admitting to having an affair with a lobbyist during the last legislative session, saying that repairing his personal life was impossible while serving in the high-profile role,” the Miami Herald reports.

Said Clemens: “I have made mistakes I am ashamed of, and for the past six months I have been focused on becoming a better person. But it is clear to me that task is impossible to finish while in elected office. The process won’t allow it, and the people of Florida deserve better. All women deserve respect, and by my actions, I feel I have failed that standard. I have to do better.”

Spotting the Harassers

A well-known female media veteran emailed Mike Allen with pretty good advice in light of the revelations about Mark Halperin:

If you are anxiously looking around your media organization wondering who the harassers are or were, start with the men in power who are bullies: who screamed at subordinates, berated them, seemed to take pleasure in humiliating them — often publicly. We all know them. We have all worked with them. There is clearly a correlation between that behavior and this… I would love to send a message to the screamers that their behavior will no longer be tolerated.

Weiner Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) “has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that may have cost Hillary Clinton’s the presidency,” the AP reports.

“As his sentence was announced Monday, the former Democratic congressman from New York dropped his head into his hand and wept, then stared straight ahead. After the hearing ended and Judge Denise Cote left the bench, he sat in his seat for several minutes, continuing to cry.”

“Weiner was also fined $10,000. After his sentence is served, he must undergo internet monitoring and must have no contact with his victim. He must also enroll in a sex-offender treatment program.”

Prosecutors Want 2-Year Prison Sentence for Weiner

CNN: “In their sentencing memorandum prosecutors are seeking 21-27 months imprisonment for Wiener, the former US congressman and estranged husband of Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Huma Abedin… Weiner, 53, pleaded guilty this May in New York’s Federal District Court to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.”

Prosecutors back up their request by stating: “Weiner, a grown man, a father, and a former lawmaker, willfully and knowingly asked a 15-year old girl to display her body and engage in sexually explicit conduct for him online.”

Weiner Asks for Leniency In Sexting Case

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), “whose career and personal life were wrecked in a series of sexting scandals, blamed a ‘deep sickness’ combined with the ‘profit-seeking curiosity’ of his 15-year-old victim for his legal troubles, as he asked a judge for leniency when he’s sentenced later this month,” Bloomberg reports.

The New York Times quoted Weiner saying, “My continued acting out over years crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage.”  He added that his young son “will forever have to answer questions about the public and private failings of his father.”

Worse than Whitewater?

David Brooks: “In retrospect Whitewater seems overblown. And yet it has to be confessed that, at least so far, the Whitewater scandal was far more substantive than the Russia-collusion scandal now gripping Washington.”

“There may be a giant revelation still to come. But as the Trump-Russia story has evolved, it is striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred — that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians. Everything seems to be leaking out of this administration, but so far the leaks about actual collusion are meager.”

Also important: “The politics of scandal drives a wedge through society. Political elites get swept up in the scandals. Most voters don’t really care.”

Hastert Faces New Sex Abuse Accusations

Less than three months before former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-IL) scheduled release from prison, “a new accuser has come forward with allegations saying he was sodomized by Hastert decades ago,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“The lawsuit comes nearly two years after an explosive indictment into secret hush-money payments brought down Hastert, a local coaching legend who became one of the country’s most powerful politicians. Federal prosecutors said the former U.S. House speaker touched at least five male students when he was a Yorkville High School coach from 1965 to 1981.”

McCain Walks Back Watergate Comparison

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) walked back earlier comments that the controversy surrounding investigations into potential collusion between associates of President Trump and the Russian government had reached “Watergate size and scale,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said McCain: “Now the question is, how is it handled? Is it handled the way Watergate was where it’s drip, drip, drip, every day more, or do we handle it like the—like Ronald Reagan handled Iran Contra? It was a scandal. He fired people. He went on national television and said, we made mistakes, we did wrong and we’re not going to do it again and the American people let him move forward.”

Weiner Will Plead Guilty In Sexting Scandal

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), whose “sexting” scandals ended his political career and embroiled him in a tumultuous FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton before the election, is to appear in a federal courtroom to enter a guilty plea, the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Weiner will plead guilty to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan… Mr. Weiner surrendered to the F.B.I. early Friday morning.”

“A likely result of the plea is that Mr. Weiner would end up as a registered sex offender… The charge carries a potential sentence of between zero and 10 years in prison, meaning Mr. Weiner could avoid prison. The ultimate sentence would be determined by a judge.”

Even The Biggest Scandals Can’t Kill Party Loyalty

FiveThirtyEight: “We went back and looked at key congressional votes during three relatively recent periods in which a president was accused of wrongdoing: Watergate (Richard Nixon), Iran-contra (Ronald Reagan) and the Monica Lewinsky scandal (Bill Clinton). Two trends stick out. First, partisanship still matters. And in a big way. Second, when defections do come, they’re more likely to come from the centrist wing of a party.”

“These were three of the biggest scandals in modern American history, and party loyalty stayed strong almost through the end of each.”