Weiner Wrap: Besieged Lawmaker Finally Submits Letter of Resignation

Jun 20, 2011 4:18pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

Today, more than three weeks after Weinergate began, Rep. Anthony Weiner formally transmitted his letter of resignation to the New York Secretary of State, ending the embattled Democrat’s seventh term in the House of Representatives and concluding the final chapter of the latest congressional sex scandal to rock Capitol Hill.

“I hereby resign as the Member of the House of Representatives for New York’s Ninth Congressional District effective at midnight, Tuesday, June 21, 2011,” Weiner wrote Monday. “It has been an honor to serve the people of Queens and Brooklyn.”

It all began to unravel late Friday, May 27 when Weiner carelessly posted a lewd photo of himself on his official Twitter page that he had intended to send as a direct message to a female user in Seattle.

Weiner quickly realized his blunder and deleted the photo.

“Tivo shot, FB hacked, is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal,” Weiner tweeted, beginning a barrage of lies that his account was hacked in his quest to cover up what quickly became dubbed Weinergate.

But in the age of the internet, nothing seems to be truly deleted. The media caught wind of the flap and the chase began.

May 31, just a few days after he inadvertently tweeted the photo, Weiner stepped outside his Capitol Hill office to face a scrum of reporters that had assembled eager for an on-camera explanation.

“This was a prank that I've now been talking about for a couple of days. I'm not going to allow it to decide what I talk about for the next week or the next two weeks,” Weiner began to explain. “If I were giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone in the back threw a pie or yelled an insult, I would not spend the next two hours of my speech responding to that pie or that insult. I would return the things that I want to talk about to the audience that I want to talk to, and that is what I intend to do this week.”

But the questions persisted and Weiner quickly lost control of the media availability.

“You do the questions, I do the answers, and this jack-ass interrupts me?” Weiner unloaded. “How about that as the rule of the game?”

The scandal suddenly had its “TV moment” and the interest in the story only intensified.  The press continued to camp outside his office, wondering what the loquacious lawmaker just might say next.

Later that evening, Weiner went to the House floor and joined 96 of his Democratic colleagues in casting a “Yea” vote to implement the President’s request to increase the statutory limit on the public debt.

Weiner left the floor and was surrounded by a handful of reporters peppering him with more questions about Weinergate. As he stepped onto a Members-only elevator, I attempted to invite him for an interview on Good Morning America for the next day’s broadcast. Weiner began to answer, but the elevator doors closed and cut him off.

I ran to another elevator, hoping to catch up with Weiner as he returned to his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. By the time I finally reached him, it was barely enough to watch him walk past some tourists into his office.

I went inside and was greeted by a staff assistant. I explained that Weiner’s attempt to answer to my invitation was abbreviated when the elevator doors closed and asked whether I might be able to speak with him to get his response.

Moments later, Weiner emerged from his personal office sans tie and jacket. He explained to me that he was finished talking to cameras for the day when the television caught his attention.

The TV was tuned to CNN, which was broadcasting a lengthy clip of Weiner melting down before the press earlier in the day.

After watching for a minute or two, Weiner spun around and blurted to me, “They sure are giving me a lot of oxygen,” before he whipped around to catch the final highlight.

“You do the questions, I do the answers, and this jackass interrupts me,” Weiner watched himself say in the video clip.

Weiner turned around and gave me a look of unease before muting the television. Without the camera crew there to record his answers, I did not have much more to ask him beyond my initial invitation to be a guest on GMA the next day.

Weiner told me he would only come onto GMA if he could read the sports for six minutes, “the way I want to do the sports,” he emphasized. I explained to him that GMA did not regularly broadcast sports highlights and then asked him if he was doing any other television the next morning.

“The Today Show,” Weiner fibbed sarcastically. “They have higher ratings.”

The next day, June 1, the New York Democrat conducted a set of untruthful interviews with each network, including one with ABC News’ senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl.

“I did not send that tweet. My system was hacked. I was pranked. It's a fairly common one. People make fun of my name all the time. With the name Weiner you get that,” Weiner lied to Karl. “It was a hoax. It was someone sending a picture of a wiener on Weiner's account. These are the jokes I have been getting since I was 5 years old. It is someone trying to cause mischief, someone trying to cause a distraction.”

The next Monday, June 6, I went to New York for a meeting while the House was out of session. After the meeting was over, at about 2:45 p.m., I stepped out of the ABC News headquarters to buy lunch. I had wandered a few blocks south down Broadway when I looked down to check my Blackberry.

An email from Friends of Weiner had arrived announcing that Weiner would address members of the media at 4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel at 811 7th Avenue, at 53rd Street. I looked up to check my current location and realized I was only about six blocks away. I decided to head directly there.

I arrived in the ballroom about 45 minutes before the news conference was scheduled to begin. Half a dozen cameramen were setting up in the back and I took a front row seat just right of the podium.

Over the next 30 minutes, the press continued to stream in, with more than 25 video cameras setting up to capture the drama and every seat filled in the small ballroom.

Moments before Weiner was expected to arrive, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart crashed the event and conducted an impromptu news conference with the mob that had gathered to hear Weiner.

“It is news,” Breitbart lamented from Weiner’s podium. “I'm here for some vindication.”

The flashbulbs popped as Weiner finally emerged.

“Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked. I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story, to stick to that story, which was a usually regrettable mistake,” Weiner said. “To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma, and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters, and staff.”

But Weiner was not done confessing the truth yet.

“In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email, and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online. I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years,” he admitted.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly called for an ethics investigation. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Penn., became the first House Democrat to call on Weiner to resign. Others quickly followed suit before the president and Pelosi ultimately called on him to resign from office as well.

His office soon announced he was seeking treatment for an undisclosed ailment at an undisclosed facility, but Weiner maintained he would stay in office.

Then even more lewd photos came out of Weiner, including pictures snapped in the Members-only House gym.

When the House returned to session, more and more House Democrats pressured Weiner to resign.

After consulting with his pregnant wife Huma Abedin, who is a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and had been working with her boss in Africa, Weiner began telling friends Thursday morning that he had finally decided to resign.

“I'm here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused. I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife Huma,” Weiner told reporters last week. “I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do — to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it. Unfortunately, the distraction that I have created has made that impossible. So today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.”

Although Weiner announced his intent to resign Thursday, a letter of resignation was not sent to New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales and Governor Andrew Cuomo until Monday.

A similar letter of notification was sent to Boehner and Pelosi. The House returns to legislative business on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., when an announcement regarding Weiner’s resignation is expected to be read on the House floor.

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