As even more pictures emerge of Anthony Weiner in various states of undress and more of his colleagues demand his resignation, Weiner prepares to come to Capitol Hill today as the House comes back into session. Or does he? The New York Daily News reports that Weiner may finally be thinking that he will have to quit his job after three long weeks of embarrassing and angering his colleagues (via Instapundit):
Rep. Anthony Weiner finally began considering Sunday the possibility that he may have to resign, as yet another cache of embarrassing photos appeared.
A source close to the congressman told the Daily News that he had been adamant about keeping his seat – even amid daily new revelations of his reckless sexting.
But the unrelenting media coverage, the demands from his party’s leaders that he step down and the appearance of more humiliating photos made Weiner realize he may not be able to bull his way through the crisis after all, the source said.
Weiner is still telling people that his wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, wants him to remain in Congress. If so, she’s the only Democrat in Washington who does. Even his mentor Chuck Schumer hasn’t explicitly declared himself in support of Weiner’s continuing presence in Congress, declaring only that he’s “heartbroken” over Weiner’s scandal.
If or when Weiner returns today, he’ll find the Capitol a very lonely place. That’s not just because other members of the House Democratic Caucus are going to avoid him like the plague. According to Big Government, party leadership has begun to assign his staff elsewhere:
According to our source, staff from Democrat leadership assembled Rep. Weiner’s staff and offered to assist them finding positions in other offices. Finding positions for everyone in Weiner’s DC office could take a week or two. …
“They also made it clear that they didn’t think Rep. Weiner would be back in Congress.”
Well, they hope he won’t be back in Congress. Politico analyzes the headaches Weiner could create if he survives the all-out effort to shame him out of Congress:
It was striking to some Democrats that Pelosi called on Weiner to resign, because he had supported her in leadership elections. Now Weiner, who’s always been a bit of a loose cannon, may feel free to make trouble for Democratic leaders if he stays in office.
“She fired the shot. And if he doesn’t resign, she fired and missed,” said a Democratic lawmaker. “He’s not the kind of guy you want out there doing [stuff]” to retaliate. …
House Democrats could punish Weiner by stripping him of his committee assignments or expelling him from the caucus, but that would set a precedent for passing judgment without trial that could make many lawmakers uncomfortable.
Still, that possibility, along with each member’s personal political considerations and the needs of the party, are sure to be weighed in formal and informal discussions of the matter when the House returns this week.
Weiner won’t be able to toss too many grenades himself, not after the revelations of the past three weeks. The headaches will come from his presence and how the caucus endures it. If they cast him out, then some of the progressives may challenge current leadership on accusations of double standards. If they keep him around, leaders like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz will have to defend that on television shows all the way to the next election. The most likely step, stripping Weiner of all his committee assignments, wasn’t taken when federal agents found $90,000 in William Jefferson’s freezer.
The upside for Democrats? Taking nude pictures of yourself in the House gym just might be an ethics violation:
Sex-crazed Rep. Anthony Weiner’s newest slew of beefcake shots, taken in the House gym and sent to at least one woman, give ethics investigators bombshell evidence of official misconduct, insiders told The Post.
“That’s what the House ethics committee will look at,” former House historian Ray Smock said about the 11 steamy self-portraits that made the rounds on the Web yesterday.
“Earlier, he said he was using his private cellphone camera. In this case, he may have been using his private camera, but he was doing it in a very, very public place — the House gym,” Smock said about the taxpayer-funded facility.
That means Weiner may be in violation of the House Code of Official Conduct’s so-called “golden rule,” requiring that members “behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House,” he said.
A Capitol Hill insider charged that the new, semi-nude photos snapped inside the federal facility were “photographic evidence” that Weiner brought dishonor to the institution and used it to carry on his salacious online affairs.
Gee, you think? The Ethics Committee may have had some difficulty tying Weiner’s Twitter actions to a specific violation of House ethics, but these pictures make it an easy call. Except, of course, that it will take weeks at best to produce charges on which the House could vote — and expulsion is still less than likely. Besides, if Democrats press forward with an ethics violation from Weiner, people will want to know why the House hasn’t yet acted on Maxine Waters, who stands accused of intervening with federal funds to protect a bank in which her husband had a considerable interest.
The drama will be fascinating, assuming Weiner shows up this week.