He says the House leadership didn’t know about the sexually explicit instant messages ABC published Friday.

But someone out there did. Someone gave them to ABC. He’s asked the DOJ to find out who that was — and how long they knew about it and said nothing. Can’t wait.

FYI, the clip has been edited slightly and includes some brief comments at the end by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), the head of the Congressional page program.

Update: Ace thinks Hastert requesting a DOJ investigation is evidence that he’s telling the truth. After all, why double down on a bad bet? Answer, maybe: because he had no choice politically.

Update: Mary K makes an excellent point:

Figuring out where the IMs came from, who had them, and who held them until five weeks before an election will largely be an exercise for conservative bloggers and will be largely ignored by everyone else. I guess there’s always the chance that a DOJ investigation could bring some interesting things to light, but that will likely be way too late to change the original “Hastert knew” storyline. I mean, how fast does the DOJ move on something like this?

Update: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who’s a member of the House page board, says she wasn’t told last year about the e-mails from Foley to a former page requesting a picture of him and that she would have been alarmed if she’d seen them. That could suggest a cover up, i.e., the GOP leadership was playing it so close to the vest that even their own people didn’t know. Or it could suggest no cover up, i.e., Shimkus thought something as innocuous as a picture request wasn’t worth the attention of the whole board and simply decided to have a word with Foley about it.

FYI, Florida state assemblyman Joe Negron will serve out the rest of Foley’s term.