Conservative media showman Andrew Brietbart took the microphone this afternoon at a press conference scheduled for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). TPM's Eric Lach is on scene for the presser and sent these dispatches:
"He was on the side when a few reporters noticed him. Then suddenly swarmed. So then he strolls up to the podium," Lach reports. "I don't know if he got permission or what. Now just ended after someone in back yells "thank you" and he says thank you and gets off stage. "
Breitbart told reporters he feels "vindicated" after the initial attacks on his reporting of the Weiner incident. He said the photos he published today are from a tip they got before the infamous Weiner tweet that eventually led to today's press conference.
It became clear that Breitbart was doing pre-victory laps when a visibly shaken Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner took the podium 15 minutes later...
"Last Friday night i tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle," he said, fighting back tears. "Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake."
He added: "To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent this. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, friends, supporters and staff."
As for his own future, Weiner pledged to remain in Congress, saying he had not broken any law to his knowledge. "I am not resigning," Weiner said, telling reporters he would try to convince his constituents this was a "personal failing" and did not alter his record.
Weiner said that he traded inappropriate messages and emails with six women over the last three years, including some exchanges after his marriage last year to Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton. Abedin was not present at the press conference. Weiner said he thought the women he exchanged messages with were all of legal age, but he conceded he had no way to know for sure.
"I don't know the exact ages of the women," he said. "And I don't know if you do, I'm going to respect their privacy. But they were all adults -- at least, to the best of my knowledge, they were all adults, and they were engaging in these conversations consensually."
Needless to say, this disaster of a presser only cements what I said earlier: that whoever is advising Weiner on this issue needs to be fired and never work again. The press pounced on Weiner and the Congressman came clean to the fact he lied to pretty much everyone involved. Having said that, A) if lying is the new standard for resigning your seat in Congress, Capitol Hill is going to be a lonely place and B) Weiner actually apologized to Breitbart. When's Breitbart going to do the same for his lies about ACORN and Shirley Sherrod?
Oh, and nothing has changed about why this attack on Weiner came in the first place.
[UPDATE] And now we know what happened over the weekend when Weiner was told by the Dem leadership to get his ass in order: Nancy Pelosi is immediately calling for an ethics investigation into the Congressman's conduct this week.