House Democratic leaders will huddle Thursday to discuss the ongoing sex scandal involving Rep. Anthony Weiner and what, if anything, they can do to bring the matter to a close.
For Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, that means one thing: the resignation of the New York Democrat as soon as possible.
According to Democratic aides familiar with the situation, Pelosi and her top lieutenants will discuss the issue and other topics at a scheduled closed-door leadership meeting Thursday afternoon.
Despite rumors swirling on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that Democrats would remove Weiner from his position on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Democratic aides said that was not on the agenda for the meeting and noted that such an action would require a vote by the entire Caucus.
“The meeting is not specifically on committee assignment. It is a general meeting on Weiner and other topics,” a senior Democratic aide said Wednesday evening.
The aide acknowledged that the leaders could discuss the possibility of removing Weiner from the committee as part of the broader question of what to do next. The last time Pelosi sought to involuntarily remove a Member from a committee was in 2006, when then-Rep. William Jefferson was stripped of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee after $90,000 was found in his freezer. Prosecutors alleged it was bribe money, and he was ultimately convicted of 11 corruption-related felonies.
Weiner had said he wanted to wait for his wife, Huma Abedin, to return from a trip to Africa with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Abedin returned to the United States on Wednesday, and some Democrats had hoped he would announce his resignation in the afternoon.
But Weiner’s camp remained silent through Wednesday evening, even as the scandal continued to dog Democrats and make a national spectacle. Ginger Lee, a former porn star who is now a “featured dancer” on the national strip club circuit, said during a news conference Wednesday that Weiner had asked her to lie about their online communications.
“I refused to lie, so I went into hiding,” she told reporters in New York.
“I think that Anthony Weiner should resign because he lied to the public and the press for more than a week. ... If he lied about this, I can’t have much faith in him about much else,” she added.
Lee’s attorney, infamous scandal attorney Gloria Allred, also used the news conference to read sexually explicit messages that Weiner allegedly sent to Lee.
Additionally, a graphic action figure of Weiner drew so much attention that it crashed the website of the manufacturer, HeroBuilders.com.