Missouri's GOP Gov. Eric Greitens is facing the very real prospect of impeachment after a scandal involving sexual abuse and blackmail of a mistress surfaced in January.
It got worse when it quickly became apparent that Greitens wanted state legislators to protect his private texts from investigators, and when that failed police found ample evidence to indict the governor on felony charges in February as state lawmakers launched their own impeachment probe.
Now, six weeks after Greitens's indictment, Missouri state lawmakers have released the findings and testimony of their probe, and it is devastating to say the least. The description of what Greitens allegedly did is graphic, fair warning.
When she tried to leave, sobbing after a non-consensual sexual encounter, she says the man who would be governor physically stopped her.
What happened next, she testified under oath to a Missouri House committee investigating allegations of misconduct against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, is spelled out in graphic detail in a 25-page report and transcripts of testimony that the lawmakers released Wednesday.
It’s the first time the public has heard sworn testimony from the woman at the center of allegations of misconduct against the governor.
The woman told lawmakers that in March 2015, as she tried to leave the basement of his St. Louis home, Greitens grabbed her in a "bear hug" and laid her on the floor. Then he started fondling her, pulled out his penis and coerced her into oral sex while she wept “uncontrollably.”
The woman told the committee that Greitens had led her down to the basement, taped her hands to pull-up rings, blindfolded her, spit water into her mouth, ripped open her shirt, pulled down her pants and took a photo without her consent.
He threatened to make the photos public if she ever told anyone about their encounter, and called her "a little whore," the woman told lawmakers.
After her hands were freed, she said she felt she had no other choice but to perform oral sex if she was going to get out of the basement.
The woman and Greitens had several sexual encounters over the next few months in 2015, she testified. Some were consensual. Others were not.
On at least three occasions he hit her.
The explosive allegations were among the findings of the bipartisan investigative committee of the Missouri House that has been looking into allegations of wrongdoing against the Republican governor. The committee also interviewed two of the woman’s friends who say she told them a similar story at the time, as well as the woman’s ex-husband.
The committee – five Republicans and two Democrats – concluded that the woman's testimony is credible.
The calls for Greitens to resign were coming from Missouri Democrats before. Now they are coming from Missouri Republicans as impeachment is now moving forward.
Republican legislative leaders — including House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard — announced the report was enough to warrant a special session to consider disciplinary actions, including impeachment.
Attorney General Josh Hawley later issued a statement saying Greitens' alleged conduct detailed in the report "is certainly impeachable," and he called on the governor to resign.
Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said the testimony in the report "is beyond disturbing. He later added: "The power given to the Missouri General Assembly to take disciplinary action or remove elected officials from office is one of the most serious and consequential powers the Constitution grants the legislature. We will not take that responsibility lightly. We will not act rashly, but we will not shrink from it."
The full report is online here at the KC Star, and it is utterly astonishing. Greitens is done, the only question is how he chooses to go out, with whatever minuscule shreds of personal dignity he can muster, or like a petulant child in the age of Trump's petulant childishness.
Again, when your own party has a near 75% super-majority in both chambers of the state legislature and a three-fourths vote is needed to call a special session, and the legislature basically has the votes to do that should it be necessary (the current session goes through May 18) with the only issue being the timing of when impeachment and/or your resignation takes place, then you're basically a walking political corpse.
We'll see what happens, but there's a very good chance that Greitens doesn't survive the month as governor, let alone the week.