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.
In a statement Thursday, Greitens denied the allegations in the report and called it “incomplete.”
“The House report contained explosive, hurtful allegations of coercion, violence, and assault,” his statement said. “They are false.”
Rep. Ann Wagner, who is one of two GOP congresswomen from Missouri, tweeted after the release of the report: “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.”
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.”
Greitens’ statement on Thursday said the allegations in the report “can be refuted with facts. Despite the Circuit Attorney’s attempts to keep it from the people of Missouri, we have video evidence that contains some of those facts.”
Greitens’ statement claimed Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner had videotaped an interview with the woman in which the woman’s statements on the allegations of coercion were “inconsistent” with what she told the House. He also denied slapping the woman.
“The report that was put out last night did not contain this evidence, and the allegations in that report will refuted by facts, including this video, depositions, discovery, and other evidence that will be subjected to the rigors of a courtroom analysis,” Greitens’ statement said. “In 32 days, a court of law and a jury of my peers will let every person in Missouri know the truth and prove my innocence.”
Greitens moved to dismiss prosecution on the basis of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, but the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office filed a separate memorandum responding to his motion and requesting to deny it.
“The real issue in this case is the guilt or innocence of the defendant,” the memorandum said. “The Circuit Attorney firmly believes in the justice of that charge and firmly believes that the trial should go forward. However, justice will not be served if the allegations against the Circuit Attorney become the focus of the case, instead of the defendant’s illegal and reprehensible conduct toward the victim.”
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.
Three Republican state senators appealed to President Donald Trump to ask Greitens to step down.
“… As a Navy SEAL, (Greitens’) training has taught him to always obey his Commander-in-Chief. While he has it wired into his personality never to shy from battle, he may listen to you,” Missouri state Sens. Rob Schaaf, Doug Libla and Gary Romine wrote in a letter Thursday to Trump.
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.”
CNN’s Rebecca Berg, Sophie Tatum and Rebecca Berg contributed to this report.