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A Nude Photo, Abuse Allegations, and Calls for Impeachment: What to Know About the Scandal Engulfing Missouri Governor Eric Greitens

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is facing calls for impeachment.

On Wednesday, the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight in the Missouri House of Representatives released a 24-page report, detailing a series of allegations against the governor, including sexual and physical abuse.

Greitens had previously admitted to engaging in a 2015 extramarital affair with his hair stylist, but the woman leveled several accusations of abuse against him during the investigation, including coerced oral sex, non-consensual spanking, kissing, and touching. She claims that he threatened to release a nude photo of her if she came forward about the encounter.

The report did not make any recommendations, but the committee will eventually be responsible for deciding whether to file articles of impeachment against Greitens. The governor is separately scheduled to go on trial in St. Louis next month on felony charges related to the alleged photo of the hair stylist and subsequent threat of blackmail.

Greitens has denied allegations of assault, claiming the relationship was consensual. He has called the report “tabloid trash” and “gossip.”

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Greitens, a 44-year-old former Navy SEAL, was considered a political up-and-comer. Michael Thomas—Getty Images
Michael Thomas—Getty Images

Greitens, who entered office in January 2017, was largely expected to be a rising political star. A 44-year-old former Navy SEAL with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, he was the second-youngest governor in the country. He’s also a Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. in refugee studies, and had fashioned himself a family man during his gubernatorial campaign. He took office in January 2017.

The decision to publish the report on Wednesday has broader political implications in Missouri. That the Republican-controlled legislature and the committee—comprised of seven members, five of whom are Republicans—would undermine the governor, a member of their own party, indicates a fracture within the state GOP. Republicans in the state appear to be distancing themselves from the governor for fear that the scandal could taint them during the midterm elections in November.

Democrats and Republicans alike have called for Greitens’s impeachment or resignation. Josh Hawley, the state attorney general and Republican who is challenging Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in November, reportedly called for Greitens’ resignation. McCaskill also called for him to step down.

Greitens has shown no indication that he will resign and called the investigation a “political witch hunt.”