Can Anthony Weiner survive?
That's the big question a day after the New York congressman admitted to lying about sending a lewd photo of his crotch to a Seattle college student via Twitter. In a news conference yesterday, Weiner owned up to sending the photo and admitted that he'd sent similar pictures to six different women he met online over the last three years.
Yet Weiner's biggest problem could be the continuing drip of revelations as some of the women he allegedly communicated have come forward to tell their side of the story. So far, three women have claimed online relationships with Weiner, hinting they have more pictures and hundreds of lurid texts that could prove to be even more politically embarrassing to the congressman:
•Meagan Broussard: A 26-year-old single mom from Texas, Broussard is the women who provided the photos of Weiner published yesterday on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site. She provided dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs to ABC News detailing her online relationship with Weiner, which began in April. "I didn't think it was him," she told ABC. "I thought for sure, 'Why would someone in that position be doing this?'"
Watch Broussard discuss her communications with Weiner:
•Lisa Weiss: A 40-year-old blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, Weiss told RadarOnline that she "sexted" with Weiner for nine months, beginning last August after they exchanged messages on Facebook. She claims to have more than 200 messages from Weiner and says the congressman phoned her from his private congressional line during work hours. "A few days later, I tried to call him back on that number," Weiss told Radar. "But the number wouldn't connect to his office; instead there was a recorded message that it was an outgoing U.S. Congress line only."
•Ginger Lee: A former porn star, Lee allegedly sexted with Weiner for months. She has provided emails to TMZ that allegedly show Weiner pressured her to lie about their relationship—going so far as offer "someone on team" to advise her on how to handle the media. On June 2, Weiner allegedly drafted a statement for Lee, that suggested she was merely followed the congressman on Twitter. "The key is to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it," Weiner allegedly wrote. "Have a couple of iterations of: 'This is silly . . . . And then maybe insert some y'alls in there."
Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton who married Weiner last July.Yet at least one woman at the center of the Weiner scandal has remained silent in light of the allegations:
Abedin did not appear with Weiner at his news conference yesterday. He admitted that while he had told her about his past online dealings with women that he had lied to her until yesterday about the Twitter photo he sent over Memorial Day weekend.
"My wife is a remarkable woman," Mr. Weiner said. "She's not responsible for any of this. This was visited upon her. She's getting back--getting back to work. And I apologize to her very deeply."
As the New York Times' Ashley Parker writes today, Abedin and Weiner were a classic tale of opposites attracting. She's calm, quiet and elegant, while Weiner has long been a brash tabloid fixture. Their backgrounds are equally different: She's a Michigan-born Muslim-American raised in Saudi Arabia, while Weiner is a Jewish man from Brooklyn.
They began dating in 2008, during Hillary Clinton's run for the White House. Last year, they were married in a ceremony officiated by former President Bill Clinton. According to reports, Abedin worked a full day Monday at the State Department—even as her husband tearfully admitted he'd betrayed her trust.
Meanwhile, there are some signs that Congress may be launching an inquiry into the matter--another factor that may complicate Weiner's plan to remain in office. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is close to Weiner, was the first lawmaker to publicly call for an ethics investigation yesterday, looking into whether Weiner used government resources or broke House rules in his raunchy online messaging.
"I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation," Pelosi said in a statement.
Weiner's other Democratic colleagues have largely been silent on the issue, amid growing suggestions in the media that New York lawmaker should resign from Congress. But the congressman insisted Monday he's guilty only of poor judgment and that he never cheated on his wife and never met any of the women he communicated with online. "I'm not resigning," he declared.
(Photo of Weiner: Richard Drew/AP)