- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has so far refused to heed the growing clamor for his resignation over explosive sexual-assault allegations, but Missouri Republicans are hoping he’ll listen to President Trump.

In a letter Thursday, three GOP state senators urged the president to intervene following the release Wednesday of a bombshell legislative report in which a woman accused the Republican governor of physical and sexual abuse during their 2015 extramarital affair.

“It appears that Governor Greitens will refuse to resign no matter what damage his refusal is causing,” said the letter posted by GOP state Sen. Rob Schaaf.

“There is a crisis here in Missouri, and it is just possible, even likely, that if you do so, it might save Missouri from months of pain and shame dealing with all this,” said the letter. “There is no possible way, given the credible evidence uncovered by the House committee, that his continued service as Governor will be accepted as legitimate.”

Mr. Greitens has admitted to having a consensual affair but has denied any wrongdoing stemming from the liaison with a woman identified as a hair stylist.

He was indicted in February on a felony count of invasion of privacy after he allegedly threatened to release a photo of the woman while she was partially clad, restrained and blindfolded during an encounter in his basement.

He described himself Wednesday as the victim of a “political witch hunt,” but Republicans and Democrats alike said Thursday that they had heard enough.

“The governor has lost the moral authority and the ability to lead the state going forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe in a statement. “The governor should resign immediately for the good of the state, but more importantly, for the good of his family.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, tweeted that she couldn’t understand how a man could “put his wife and children through this kind of pain.”

House Speaker Todd Richardson told reporters Wednesday that he and House leaders plan to call a special session to consider whether to impeach the governor. The regular state legislative session adjourns May 18.

Attorney General Josh Hawley, who’s running for the Republican nomination to challenge Ms. McCaskill in November, said the conduct described in the report 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,” Mr. Hawley said in a statement. “Governor Greitens should resign immediately.”

Mr. Greitens has responded to the impeachment threat by hiring Washington attorney Ross Garber to defend the governor’s office against the threat of impeachment the cost of $320 an hour, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“Step down, Gov. Greitens, or prepare to be impeached,” said the Kansas City Star editorial board.

David Humphreys, a major Greitens donor during the 2016 gubernatorial campaign, added his voice Thursday to those calling for the governor to step down, saying he was “deeply disappointed” by the report’s claims.

The House special committee was formed Feb. 27 to investigate allegations levied against Mr. Greitens by the woman, who said he warned her not to discuss their March 2015 encounter or he would post the photos and “then everyone will know what a little whore you are.”

She also said she felt “coerced, maybe” to perform oral sex because “I felt as though that would allow me to leave,” according to the report.

Members of the committee—five Republicans and two Democrats—said they found her to be an “overall credible witness.”

In subsequent encounters, she said Mr. Greitens “slapped me across my face” for sleeping with her husband. Another time, he “smacked me and grabbed me and shoved me down on the ground, and I instantly just started bawling,” she said.

In a statement, Mr. Greitens said theirs was an “entirely consensual relationship, and any allegation of violence or sexual assault is false.”

Mr. Greitens, 44, has predicted that he will be acquitted at his trial scheduled to begin May 14 in St. Louis.

A former Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar, he was elected in November 2016 after running as a conservative outsider. He switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2015.

In their letter, the GOP state senators told Mr. Trump that the governor was taught in the military “always to obey his Commander-in-Chief.”

“While he has it wired into his personality never to shy away from battle, he may listen to you, the one person who might be able to get this soldier to stand down,” said the letter.

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