Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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Despite recent warnings from some of the top U.S. intelligence officials, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was not worried about Russia trying to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.

“We’ll counteract whatever they do,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. “We’ll counteract it very strongly. And we have back-up systems, and we haven’t been given credit to this but we’re working very hard on the ’18 election and the ’20 election coming up.

Those efforts include instituting a paper back-up system for votes, according to comments he made earlier in the presser.

“It’s called paper,” Trump said. “Not highly complex computers. Paper. And a lot of states are doing that. They’re going to a paper back-up. And I think that’s a great idea. We’re studying it very closely. Various agencies, including Homeland Security, are studying it very carefully.”

As he has many times before, the President also reiterated the unfounded claim that Russia’s influence operation did not have an impact on the election results and suggested that other actors may have also been involved. The U.S. intelligence community and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have not concluded that election machines or voting results were altered, but they have documented that millions of Americans were exposed to hacked Democratic documents and Russian social media accounts that sought to boost Trump’s campaign. The impact of Russia’s efforts is still not completely known.

“The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever,” Trump told the assembled reporters in the White House’s East Room. “Certainly there was meddling and probably from other countries and maybe other individuals. And I think you have to be really watching very closely. You don’t want your system of votes to be compromised in any way.”

Trump then pivoted to a discussion of his accomplishments in office, predicting that the GOP will “do very well” in the midterms.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are among the U.S. officials who have warned that Russia is already attempting to interfere in the 2018 elections. The New York Times reported this weekend that the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million intended to be used to combat foreign interference in elections.

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With the future of his national college tour mired in litigation, white nationalist Richard Spencer is increasingly isolated.

Over the weekend, Spencer’s longtime friend and legal champion Kyle Bristow abruptly announced he was quitting politics and cutting ties with his Michigan-based foundation, which branded itself as the “sword and shield” of the white nationalist alt-right. Other ideological allies have criticized Spencer to the press or gone quiet. He’s cut off from key funding sources. And the violent acts that his supporters have committed before and after his college events have given fodder to schools trying to block Spencer’s appearances on the grounds that his events endanger their communities.

Even Spencer is acknowledging that things are rocky, telling TPM in a Monday phone call: “We’re just in a transitionary stage.”

Spencer is credited with coining the term “alt-right” to describe the loosely affiliated mass of mostly young white men with white nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic views who rose to national prominence during the 2016 election.

Speaking to TPM, Spencer called Bristow’s departure a “setback,” adding: “I obviously wish he had not done it, particularly at this time, but I do understand him and I support him.”

“The opposition recognizes that I’m not going anywhere so they’re trying to harass and threaten the people around me,” Spencer said.

That conversation came hours before Spencer’s chaotic appearance at Michigan State University. Prolonged litigation with the university, which Bristow fought on Spencer’s behalf, resulted in a mediation agreement that required Spencer to schedule his speech over spring break, at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education, a farmyard barn a mile off of campus. A number of neo-Nazis and anti-fascist activists were arrested outside the venue after violent clashes with each other and with police dressed in riot gear.

Inside the building, however, the mood was sedate. Under 50 people turned out to listen to Spencer’s remarks about the need to create a white ethno-state and repatriate immigrants back to their native countries.

In the speech, Spencer acknowledged his disappointment that the alt-right has not recovered from the backlash over last August’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed. Though he described the event as “one for the history books,” he also called it “a bit of a disaster,” noting that the “blowback against us was tremendous.” 

Spencer lamented the mass expulsion of white nationalists from social media and online payment platforms in the weeks after Charlottesville. “I have a very hard time raising money online,” he said. 

His future appearances are mired in legal wrangling. Penn State University, the University of Cincinnati, and Ohio State University have all refused to host Spencer, leading Bristow to bring litigation on Spencer’s behalf in all three cases.

But over the weekend, Bristow suddenly jumped ship. He announced that he was no longer involved in those lawsuits, and was resigning as the director of the Foundation for the Marketplace of Free Ideas (FMI), a nonprofit that championed alt-right defendants. Bristow deleted his public Twitter account, which had featured a profile photo of him and Spencer smoking cigars. 

Bristow, who did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment, was very active in the seeds of what became the alt-right movement. As president of Michigan State’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom back in 2006, he tried to organize a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” and invited white nationalist Jared Taylor to give a talk on campus. (The YAF’s current chairman Grant Stobl told TPM that Bristow’s chapter was not authorized and that the group “prohibits racists”).

Though his racist views were well-documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other publications, Bristow’s abrupt resignation came after a series of articles in the Detroit Free Press about his college activism and FMI’s controversial ideas.

“This is a definite blow to the progress of the alt-right especially as it attempts to recruit young members on college campuses,” SPLC senior investigative reporter Ryan Lenz told TPM of Bristow’s departure from the movement.

Reached by phone Monday, attorney Jason L. Van Dyke, who was listed as FMI’s Director of Legal Advocacy, told TPM he had in fact resigned from the group last October “because frankly I did not approve of its involvement with Richard Spencer.”*

Van Dyke has in the past represented groups with ties to white supremacists and has tweeted death threats and racist epithets online.

The SPLC’s Lenz told TPM that “we’ll see in the coming weeks if FMI is a paper tiger or if the infrastructure to protect white nationalist speakers in this country that Bristow has established will hold up.”

For now, a replacement has stepped in. Ohio-based James Kolenich, who according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, believes that the white race must save itself from Jews, immigrants, and minorities, has taken over for Bristow in two of the school suits, which are currently in discovery.**

In an email to TPM, Kolenich mentioned three times that he only took up the cases for the fee and said that he did not know Spencer or Bristow.

“I have never spoken to or otherwise communicated with Richard Spencer,” Kolenich added. “Mr. Spencer is not, and never has been, a client if [sic] my law practice.”

Spencer, for his part, did not even seem aware that Kolenich was now advocating on his behalf.

“This new lawyer, I’ve never spoken with him so once this is over and I’m able to catch my breath I’ll certainly talk to him and see if we want to begin a relationship,” Spencer told TPM on Monday.

Spencer leaves Michigan with at least one supporter facing felony charges and no scheduled events on the horizon.

* This sentence has been corrected from an earlier version which described Van Dyke as a white nationalist. 

** This sentence has been corrected to make clear that Kolenich has taken over for Bristow in two of the lawsuits against universities that refused to host Spencer, not all three. 


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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is apparently homing in on two questions central to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election: What was the exact nature of President Trump’s business dealings in Russia prior to the 2016 election, and what did Trump know about the DNC hacking during the campaign?

In recent witness interviews, Mueller’s team has reportedly asked what compromising information Russia may have on the President, and why he abandoned plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The special counsel also has questions about the financing of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant there.

Another line of inquiry focuses on whether Trump knew that the DNC and top Democratic operatives’ emails had been hacked before the emails were made public — and whether he was involved in their release. Mueller is reportedly assembling a case against the Russians responsible for the hacking and dissemination of those messages.

The President responded to reports about the ongoing investigation in several tweet storms, seemingly inspired by Fox News segments. He denounced the “WITCH HUNT” against him and attacked his attorney general, calling Jeff Sessions’ “disgraceful” for tasking the DOJ Inspector General with looking into possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse rather than initiating an independent investigation.

Sessions offered what may have been his strongest self-defense to date, insisting GOP complaints about FISA warrants obtained for members of the Trump campaign were being “fully and fairly acted upon.” He pledged to continue to carry out his duties “according to the law and Constitution.”

Another White House official is creating fresh headaches for Trump. The day before she announced her imminent departure, Communications Director and longtime aide Hope Hicks, who has already been interviewed by Mueller’s team, admitted to the House Intelligence Committee that she sometimes told “white lies” on the President’s behalf.

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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is investigating the veterans charity that scandal-plagued Gov. Eric Greitens founded eleven years ago.

“The Attorney General’s Office has an open inquiry into the charitable activities of The Mission Continues, pursuant to the AGO’s enforcement responsibilities under the consumer protection and charitable registration and reporting laws,” Loree Anne Paradise, Hawley’s deputy chief of staff, told TPM in a statement.

The news adds to the pressure on Greitens, who last week was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a nonconsensual partly nude photo of a woman with whom he carried out a 2015 affair. Greitens has denied allegations that he threatened to release the photo if the woman went public. His attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case, which was brought by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat.

Greitens, a Republican, left the charity, The Mission Continues, in 2014. But questions about his enduring ties to it date back to his 2016 election campaign. In October of that year, weeks before voters went to the polls, the Associated Press revealed an overlap between people who donated to his campaign and to the charity.

At the the time, Greitens, who was in a tight race, denied using the donor list for The Mission Continues to raise money for his campaign. Doing so would be a violation of federal campaign finance laws, which bar non-profits from engaging in political activity on behalf of a particular candidate, and require campaigns to report the use of this sort of list as an in-kind contribution.

Missouri Democrats filed a complaint with the state ethics commission, and, last April, the governor agreed to a settlement in which his campaign retroactively disclosed that it did receive the donor list, and paid a $100 fine.

Still, Hawley, a Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate, had previously declined to investigate the charity. But last week’s indictment over the alleged blackmail has shifted the political winds in Missouri, gravely weakening Greitens’ political standing.

Several of Greitens’ current and former staffers have reportedly been subpoeneaed to testify before the grand jury, including at least one who was involved in the Mission Continues controversy. And the GOP-controlled Missouri House is conducting its own probe of the blackmail allegations.

New information about links between the charity and Greitens’ campaign also has emerged recently.

On Monday, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a Greitens employee had emailed the donor list to campaign aides in January 2015, nearly two months earlier than the campaign had previously said. A number of people, including a New York Times reporter and Missouri high school student, came forward this week to say they began receiving emails from Greitens’ campaign years after donating to his charitable foundation, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And on Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Greitens used an email for the charity to arrange political meetings in January 2015, while he still sat on The Mission Continues’ board.

News of Hawley’s investigation came the same day that the AG announced he had found no wrongdoing in a separate investigation into the use of a secret self-deleting messaging application by Greitens and his staffers.

The governor campaigned on a platform of transparency.

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I have a piece up today looking at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to put off holding special elections for two state legislative seats. Most observers don’t think it’s a coincidence that Walker is procrastinating. Democrats have flipped 39 special election seats since Trump was inaugurated, and some are anticipating a “blue wave” this November.

However, as I mention in the piece, Walker isn’t the only GOP official looking to meddle with special elections, which are usually held in the event of deaths or resignations from state office. “Governors on both sides of the aisle optimizing timing for their own purposes is nothing new,” Carolyn Fiddler, who tracks state politics for the Daily Kos, told me. “But refusing to schedule them at all is new, and changing state law to prevent future special elections from happening to fill U.S. Senate seats is new.”

The latter is happening in Alabama, where the GOP-controlled House voted to do away with special elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats. The bill, which now goes to the state senate, would allow the governor to appoint an interim pick instead, who could end up serving for as long as two years.

This legislation, of course, follows a special election in Alabama in which the Republican establishment was badly stung. The soon-to-be-revealed-as-an-alleged-predator Roy Moore won the primary, clearing the way for a Democrat to win one of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seats for the first time in the 21st century. “I call it the anti-Doug Jones bill,” state Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat representing Birmingham, told the AP.

In Michigan, meanwhile, Gov. Rick Snyder is delaying a special election until the time of the Nov. 2018 midterms, leaving most of Detroit without a representative for some 11 months. Florida’s Rick Scott and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker won’t hold any more special elections for open seats in their states’ legislatures prior to the November race. These lawmakers say special elections are a costly waste of time and effort.

The last few years have seen steady stream of radical departures from political precedent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holding up hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland until after the election is one example. The ongoing efforts by Republicans to disenfranchise minority voters through voter ID laws and gerrymandering is another. This latest effort to ignore special elections, Democrats say, also qualifies: It effectively strips voters of their right to be represented by representatives of their own choosing.

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Is procrastinating special elections a new, anti-democratic trend? Read a reporter’s notebook post (Prime access) on this article »

In late December, two Republican lawmakers stepped down from the Wisconsin legislature to join Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.

Their seats, in Assembly District 42 and Senate District 1, have sat empty ever since — and are likely to stay that way until January of 2019.

In a remarkable break from precedent, Walker announced at the time that he would not hold special elections in those districts, leaving 229,904 Wisconsinites without representation for almost a year.

Walker’s office has said it’s not worth the cost or effort to hold the votes, since regular congressional races will take place in November. But Democrats and their allies say Walker is just scared to lose.

“This is about them not wanting to be embarrassed by losing races in districts they have traditionally won,” Wisconsin Democratic strategist Sachin Chheda told TPM. “Everybody knows it, and I think it’s embarrassing that they’d make a decision on that basis rather than the small ‘d’ democratic tenets of giving people the right to choose their own representative.”

Walker isn’t alone. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is likewise waiting until the November election to replace departed congressman John Conyers, forcing the Detroit district’s mostly minority residents to go 11 months without representation in Congress. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott won’t hold any special elections for two open Florida seats. And after Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning Senate victory in December, the GOP-controlled Alabama House approved a bill that would scrap special elections for the state’s U.S. Senate seats, allowing the governor to appoint an interim replacement instead. That bill is currently before a Senate committee.

The trend comes amid a political climate that looks increasingly favorable to Democrats, thanks to President Trump’s enduring unpopularity. Democrat Patty Schactner in January trounced a well-known local Republican in a rural Wisconsin district—a win that Walker himself called a “wake up call.” And since Trump took office, Democrats have flipped some 39 seats, including two victories in Connecticut and New Hampshire this week.

In Wisconsin, Walker’s opponents see the governor’s move as the latest salvo in a sweeping assault on voting rights that began when he took office in 2011.

“There’s the [gerrymandered] maps, there’s these elections, there’s voter suppression, there’s the changing of campaign finance laws,” said Chheda.

This week, the National Redistricting Foundation (NDF), which is led by former attorney general Eric Holder, sued to require Walker to hold the special elections. The lawsuit cites a state statute that requires the governor to fill vacated seats “as promptly as possible.”

The foundation is an arm of the organization Holder created to give Democrats more control of the redistricting process in key state governments after 2020.

Per Wisconsin law, the governor must call a special election for any seat that becomes vacant “before the 2nd Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held.”

Walker’s office has interpreted this to mean no election is necessary, since the two open seats were vacated in 2017 rather than the 2018 election year. And it says holding a special election would be impractical and costly.

“Voters are already going to the polls this year to elect new representatives in these districts,” Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg said in a statement. “This D.C.-based special interest group wants to force Wisconsin taxpayers to waste money.”

“The Legislature will be adjourned for 2018 before these seats could be filled in special elections, and staff in these offices are working for constituents until new leaders are elected,” Hasenberg added.

But Democrats note that Walker chose to call a special election for another seat vacated in late 2017: the Senate District 10 race that Democrat Schachtner won easily in January, but which had been reliably red.

“It is evident that Gov. Walker is picking and choosing elections to his liking,” Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling told TPM in an email.

The governors’ opponents face an uphill battle in getting the special election on the calendar. Every week that passes strengthens the GOP’s argument that there isn’t time to organize one. And, if the NDF’s case makes its way to the state Supreme Court, it will be heard by a body that has a 5-2 conservative advantage.

But Republicans and Democrats agree that Holder’s involvement raises the visibility of the issue ahead of the midterms, where Walker himself is up for reelection.

“Having this conversation happen about the fact that Scott Walker is afraid to hold elections when he’s on the ballot in nine months is not the worst story to have out there,” said Scot Ross of the progressive group One Wisconsin Now.

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday unleashed a new attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying it’s “disgraceful” that Sessions hasn’t launched an independent investigation into the handling of surveillance orders obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse,” the president asked in a tweet. “Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is a former career DOJ attorney.

The dual criticism represents Trump’s latest offensive in an ongoing onslaught on the independence of the Justice Department. In past administrations, it’s been seen as highly improper for the president to dictate who DOJ investigates or how it does so.

Sessions announced Tuesday that Horowitz will be tasked with probing the alleged abuses committed by top FBI and DOJ officials in obtaining surveillance warrants against former campaign aide Carter Page. Those alleged abuses were outlined in a memo compiled by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a Trump ally. National security experts and Democrats have dismissed Nunes’ conclusions, saying the memo lacks critical context and misstates evidence about why multiple judges decided to extend the warrant for Page.

As Trump noted in his tweet, Horowitz is currently probing the handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server — a pet issue for the president that Democrats, too, want answers about.

Trump’s comments about the probe may have been prompted by his TV-watching habits. Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group, has been tracking the correlation between what airs on Fox News and Trump’s morning tweets.

As the group’s senior fellow Matt Gertz noted, Fox’s “America’s Newsroom” aired a segment at the top of the 9 am hour on the IG probe, suggesting it may take a significant amount of time to complete. Trump’s tweet came just over thirty minutes later.

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The Oath Keepers militia group on Monday issued an official “call to action” asking their members to serve as voluntary armed guards at U.S. schools, in order to intervene in the event of a mass shooting.

But the group doesn’t seem to think much of some of the students they say they want to protect.

During a meandering Monday night webinar held by the far-right, anti-government group, the gun writer David Codrea referred to Emma González and David Hogg, survivors of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida as “the enemy.”

González and Hogg have been at the forefront of a student activist movement urging Congress to pass gun control legislation.

Codrea, a writer for the Oath Keepers and War on Guns blogs, also said that Gonzalez’s father is a “refugee from Castro’s Cuba,” and lamented that the National Rifle’s Association 595,000 Twitter followers paled in comparison to the one million that follow “this young Communist girl.”

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who hosted the webinar, suggested that law enforcement may have deliberately ignored multiple tips about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, in order to allow a massacre that could pave the way for gun control.

“It was a conspiracy to intentionally leave our children exposed to mass murder,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes and other speakers also talked about the group’s effort to station armed Oath Keepers volunteers, who are military and police veterans, at schools across the U.S., “whether they want us to or not,” as Rhodes put it at the start of the webinar.

Rhodes spoke to TPM about that idea Monday.

Another speaker on the webinar, Matt Bracken, said that sending armed guards to schools, “if handled right, could be very good PR” for the group. Bracken is the author of several books promoting gun rights, including “Enemies: Foreign and Domestic,” “Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista” and “Foreign Enemies and Traitors.”

So far, only Indiana member Marc Cowan appears to have taken up the call to arms, stationing himself since Friday on the perimeter of Fort Wayne’s North Side High School’s campus with an AR-15 and handgun.

The Fort Wayne school district said they don’t think the presence of armed volunteers like Cowan makes their students any safer.

The online session, which went on for almost two hours, was marred by technological glitches. Bracken’s video stream was the only one visible. Codrea chose to remain off camera because he’d been stricken by pneumonia, and as a result, he said, had been in a robe all day.

The conversation focused less on operational details for members, and more on denunciations of what Codrea called the “Leni Riefenstahls” in the media, bent on manipulating the national conversation on guns.

“When are citizens going to enforce our constitution?” one participant asked in a chat on the sidebar.

“We should be all the time, that is up to all of us!” replied the Oath Keepers’ moderator.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued a bipartisan request to White House Counsel Don McGahn and FBI Director Chris Wray for more information on how the Trump administration is handling the process for requesting security clearances.

The letter from Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) comes after reports that some 100 White House staffers, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, were working on interim clearances as of November 2017.

“If true, this raises significant concerns that ineligible individuals, who hold positions of public trust, may have access to sensitive or classified information,” the letter reads.

The senators request information, by March 13, on the total number of those working on interim clearances, what sensitive or classified information they have access to, and the exact circumstances surrounding the clearance for fired White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, among other topics.

The Porter debacle prompted renewed scrutiny of the current White House’s processes. Porter was permitted to operate under an interim clearance while the FBI probed well-documented allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. White House officials including McGahn and Chief of Staff John Kelly were reportedly both aware of the allegations against Porter, and that they were holding up his full clearance.

The situation raised concerns that Porter could have had access to classified information without a full security clearance, potentially endangering national security.

Kelly has since proposed denying or revoking top clearances for any aide whose background check has been pending since last June or earlier. President Trump said it was up to Kelly to decide if Kushner, who fits that description, would have his interim clearance waived or revoked.

The House Oversight Committee is separately conducting an investigation into how Porter managed to keep working under a clearance despite the abuse allegations.

Read the Judiciary Committee’s full letter below:

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The same day the Missouri House launched an investigation into indicted Gov. Eric Greitens (R), St. Louis prosecutors suggested that he may face additional charges.

The seven-person House panel formally convened on Monday is composed of five Republicans and two Democrats and will look only at the allegations in the indictment filed by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy Thursday for taking a photograph of a partly nude woman he was sleeping with and threatening to leak it if she went public about their extramarital relationship. The alleged incident occurred before he was elected governor.

“Our focus is going to be on the underlying facts of the indictment and the circumstances surrounding them,” Rep. Jay Barnes (R), chair of the committee, said in a press conference, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

But in an undocketed court hearing the same afternoon, lawyers for the city and for the governor got into a contentious exchange over the hearing date and the possibility that Greitens may face additional charges unrelated to the alleged March 2015 blackmail incident.

As the Post Dispatch reported, Gardner and her first assistant, Robert Steele, said that their investigation was ongoing and could touch on matters unrelated to the invasion of privacy charge. They did not specify what those could be, but said prosecutors were forced to indict Greitens last week because the three-year statute of limitations was due to run out.

Greitens’ attorneys countered that prosecutors were trying to drag out the embarrassing public investigation and that they want a quick jury trial to begin by the end of April at the latest, per the newspaper.

Greitens’ team previously filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying the statute applied to peeping toms rather than adults engaging in a consensual sexual encounter. In an audio recording secretly made by her then-husband, the woman said she did not consent to being photographed nude by Greitens.

The governor seems intent on ignoring the political storm as the House and city probes continue. Greitens released a statement last week calling the indictment a “misguided political decision” initiated by a “reckless liberal prosecutor.” On Monday, he visited with families whose houses were destroyed in a tornado over the weekend.

At the Missouri Capitol, over a dozen Republicans have called for Greitens to step down in the wake of his indictment, saying the investigations were a huge distraction from their legislative work. Others say they want to reserve judgment until the probes are complete.

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