Missouri Governor Says Fight Not Over, Even in Surrender - NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Missouri Governor Says Fight Not Over, Even in Surrender

Gov. Eric Greitens' resignation comes just two weeks after a speech in which he recalled his grueling SEAL training and asserted he would never stop fighting



    Missouri Governor Says Fight Not Over, Even in Surrender
    Jeff Roberson/AP, File
    In this Thursday, May 17, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to a small group of supporters in Jefferson City, Mo. Greitens, who announced his resignation earlier this week, has declared that "this is not the end of our fight."

    Even in surrender, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is going out fighting.

    When he steps down Friday, the former Navy SEAL officer will be conceding political defeat amid allegations of sexual misconduct and campaign violations while still defiantly asserting that he's done nothing worthy of being forced out of office.

    He's even hinted at a possible political comeback, declaring during his resignation announcement Tuesday that "this is not the end of our fight." But political analysts say the man who had aspirations of becoming president could find a political revival challenging, especially in a #MeToo environment where he would be vulnerable to attack for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair in 2015.

    Greitens' resignation comes just two weeks after a speech in which he recalled his grueling SEAL training and asserted he would never stop fighting. But his departure was days in the making, as Greitens wrestled with mounting legal bills and the emotional pressures of defending against possible impeachment and a criminal trial.

    Trump Staffers Brace for Mueller Report

    [NATL] Trump Staffers Brace for Mueller Report

    Some former and current White House staffers who cooperated with Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and President Donald Trump are worried that they may be exposed in his report that's set to be released Thursday. 

    (Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

    On Wednesday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dismissed a felony charge accusing Greitens of tampering with computer data for providing his political fundraiser with the donor list of a veterans' charity he founded. The dropped charge was the result of a deal proposed Saturday by Greitens' defense attorneys offering his resignation in exchange, said Gardner spokeswoman Susan Ryan.

    The governor on Saturday also called Republican consultant Jeff Roe, who headed Greitens' aggressive public relations campaign, to inform Roe that he had decided to resign. Greitens' legal bills had grown to a couple of million dollars, and his campaign staffers also were facing legal bills because of subpoenas from a House investigation.

    Though Greitens had believed he could beat both a criminal charge and impeachment, "he couldn't see the end without an immense financial and personal price to pay," Roe told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    Even though he's quitting amid scandal, some Greitens voters said they still like him. Retiree Wilma Nelson said she would be open to voting for Greitens again if he sought to re-enter politics.

    "I can't fault him for giving up. So much money, so much stress, such strain on his young family. You can't deal with such hate," said Nelson, of Platte City.

    Political science professor Jeremy Walling, of Southeast Missouri State University, said Greitens' pledge to keep fighting seemed to be "some face-saving."

    AG Barr: ‘I Think Spying Did Occur’ on 2016 Trump Campaign

    [NATL] AG Barr: ‘I Think Spying Did Occur’ on 2016 Trump Campaign

    Attorney General William Barr was asked why he has a team looking into why the FBI opened an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He said he thought that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign. “The question was whether it was adequately predicated,” he said.

    (Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

    Walling said several factors would make a political revival tougher for Greitens than for other scandal-plagued politicians. He said Greitens lacks deep support among Missouri's Republican power brokers, and his acknowledged extramarital affair included claims of sexual misconduct. The allegations also extended to political fundraising violations.

    "I think a comeback is going to be kind of difficult for this guy," Walling said.

    Gardner, the St. Louis prosecutor, said her decision to drop the data-tampering charge against Greitens was no indication that she believed he was innocent.

    "I remain confident we have the evidence required to pursue charges against Mr. Greitens, but sometimes pursuing charges is not the right thing to do for our city or our state," said Gardner, a Democrat.

    Had the governor been convicted, Gardner said, it was unlikely that he would be sentenced to prison, given the type of charge he faced and the fact that he would be a first-time offender.

    Jim Martin, an attorney for Greitens, acknowledged reaching out to Gardner to resolve the issue.

    White Nationalism, Fueled by Social Media, on Global Rise

    [NATL] White Nationalism, Fueled by Social Media, Rising on Global Scale

    Hate speech and vitriol were under the microscope on Capitol Hill Tuesday, at the center of a House Judiciary hearing on white nationalism and the internet. Analysts say white nationalism is on the rise across the country and around the world.

    (Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

    A St. Louis judge approved the agreement, which has seven stipulations, two of which are sealed and unavailable to the public. One of the open stipulations states that Greitens has agreed to release Gardner and everyone in her office from civil liability.

    Former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Wolff said the agreement between Greitens' attorneys and Gardner's office is highly unusual because it protects Gardner and her staff from being sued for their actions and because Greitens did not have to plead guilty to any lesser charge.

    "Here's a guy who gets to get out of a felony charge just by agreeing to quit his job," Wolff said. "Most people don't get this deal."

    Jean Paul Bradshaw II, a former U.S. attorney for western Missouri, said the agreement to drop the case represents a "fair resolution" because Greitens' resignation accomplished "the greatest public benefit" possible.

    The governor also was indicted on an invasion-of-privacy charge in February in St. Louis for allegedly taking the photo of the woman who had been his hairdresser during their affair in 2015, before he was elected. That charge was dropped earlier this month, but a special prosecutor is considering whether to refile it.

    Martin said he expected the remaining charge to be resolved soon, but he offered no details.

    Attorney General Says Mueller Report Ready for Release ‘Within a Week’

    [NATL] Attorney General Says Mueller Report Ready for Release ‘Within a Week’

    Attorney General William Barr took questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report during his appearance in front of the House appropriations subcommittee. Barr would not answer whether the White House had seen or been briefed on the Mueller report.

    (Published Tuesday, April 9, 2019)

    "I think what folks need to know is it's now time to leave the governor alone and let him and his family heal," Martin said.

    Though Greitens had apparently decided to resign days earlier, he began the week as though he would continue his fight. On Monday, he spoke with attorney Catherine Hanaway about her legal defense of Greitens' campaign, which already had turned over thousands of documents to a House investigatory committee.

    On Tuesday morning, a Cole County judge ordered the campaign and a pro-Greitens group called A New Missouri to comply with a House subpoena seeking more records about potential coordination between the nonprofit organization, Greitens and his campaign. The judge said the names of any donors to A New Missouri could be redacted.

    House Speaker Todd Richardson said Wednesday that he didn't know whether the House still has the power or desire to enforce the subpoena now that Greitens is resigning.

    Hanaway described the judicial ruling as "pretty innocuous," adding that she did not think the order "had any effect on the decision" to resign.

    Roe said Greitens had been prepared for a two-stage fight. He was first focused on the invasion-of-privacy charge, which was dropped during jury selection. Greitens had hoped to be acquitted, which Roe said would have allowed him to mount a full defense against the potential House impeachment proceedings. But the specter of those charges being refiled hampered what Greitens could say and do on both fronts, Roe said.

    Trump Purges Homeland Security Dept. After Nielsen Ouster

    [NATL] Trump Purges Homeland Security Leadership Following Nielsen Ouster

    Frustrated by the situation at the southern border, President Trump is purging leadership at the Department of Homeland Security to make his immigration agenda easier to enact, while the leadership void in his administration continues to grow. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 9, 2019)

    Roe also said it appeared likely that the House would vote to impeach Greitens, a step that would have prolonged his fight for several more months until a trial could be held on whether to remove him from office.

    "The human and financial toll was too great," Roe said. "And it was going to go on for too long."

    Associated Press writers Blake Nelson and John Hanna contributed to this report.