Already the Biggest Political Scandal In Decades

First Read: “Whether or not Mueller ever finds a smoking gun that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, this is already the biggest political scandal in decades. And we are just more than a year into Trump’s presidency and nine months into Mueller’s probe.”

“And this does not include other moving parts of the Russia inquiry, including that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, Donald Trump Jr.’s direct messages with WikiLeaks, Trump constantly invoking the WikiLeaks revelations during the final month of the 2016 race, and Jared Kushner’s inability to obtain a permanent security clearance.”

Garrett Graff: “In Watergate, 69 people ended up being charged and 48 pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial. Mueller has already brought charges against 19.”

Grand Jury Investigating Missouri Governor’s Affair

“The man whose then-wife had an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) has been subpoenaed to testify before a St. Louis grand jury,” the AP reports.

“Greitens, a Republican, admitted on Jan. 10 to a monthslong affair with his St. Louis hairdresser in 2015, before he was governor. The woman’s ex-husband secretly recorded a conversation with her in which she claimed that Greitens took a compromising photo as potential blackmail if she spoke about the relationship. Greitens has repeatedly denied threatening to blackmail the woman. He has not answered directly when asked if he took a photo.”

Greitens Says He Won’t Resign

In his first interview since acknowledging an extramarital affair, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) told the Associated Press that there was “no blackmail” and “no threat of violence” by him in what he described as a months-long “consensual relationship” with his former hairdresser.

Greitens added that he has no plans to resign from office as a result of the affair: “I’m staying. I’m staying.”

“Grietens did not directly say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked if he had bound and blindfolded and taken a photo of the woman. But he firmly denied that he had attempted to coerce the woman.”

Greitens Stays In Hiding

Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) “has called off a statewide tour to promote a tax cut plan as he continues to face fallout from bombshell allegations that he threatened a former mistress with blackmail,” CNN reports.

“Greitens appears poised to remain out of the public eye this week, however, as the controversy continues to swirl.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the governor’s aides “would not reveal his whereabouts.”

Greitens Fights to Preserve His Political Career

“Five Republican lawmakers told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they received calls from the governor since the news of the affair broke Wednesday.”

“The phone calls underscore the lengths to which [Missouri Gov. Eric] Greitens, a Republican, is going to preserve his political career. In the past, Greitens has derided members of the Legislature, at one point comparing them to third-graders and calling them into Jefferson City for two special sessions last summer, which he called ‘summer school.’”

“Now, he is seeking their support as well as trying to shore up support among his donors.”

Abedin and Weiner Withdraw Their Divorce

“Huma Abedin and convicted perv Anthony Weiner agreed Wednesday to finalize their divorce out of court, seeking to protect their 6-year-old son from an embarrassing public separation,” the New York Daily News reports.

From a statement by Abedin’s attorney: “In order to reduce any impact of these proceedings on their child, the parties have decided to reach a settlement swiftly and privately.”

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.”