JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Following the indictment of Republican Governor Eric Greitens, several Missouri lawmakers – from both political parties – have started to call for the Governor’s resignation or removal from office.
But the Missouri Republican Party, it seems, disagrees with the notion, issuing a statement Friday morning and pointing to the prosecution as the issue, calling the indictment a “political hit job.”
“Kim Gardner has received more than $200,000 from George Soros groups,” Missouri GOP Executive Director Sam Cooper said. “Missourians should see this for what it is, a political hit job. This law has never been prosecuted in this way and it is safe to say if Eric Greitens wasn’t governor, it wouldn’t have been this time either. We have a progressive anti-law enforcement Democrat wanting to single-handedly oust a law-and-order governor. We look forward to a bipartisan committee of legislators elected by people across Missouri to find out what’s really going on – ensuring St. Louis liberals aren’t controlling the future of our state.”
It’s a sentiment shared by the Governor’s legal defense team, who called the charges “unfounded and baseless.”
“For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent,” Ed Dowd, Jr. of the Governor’s legal team said. “This whole investigation is completely unusual. This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators – we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts. We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”
But the reactions and statements among Republican elected officials seem to vary. Members of the Senate leadership team have released statements saying they would “reserve comments until all of the facts have been revealed,” and see what the House finds in their investigation.
That sentiment seems to be echoed by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who tweeted Friday, saying “A felony indictment by a grand jury is a serious matter. There is no place for party or partisanship. The criminal justice system must be allowed to work. I am confident the House’s investigation will be thorough and swift, and will proceed without regard to party.”
A felony indictment by a grand jury is a serious matter. There is no place for party or partisanship. The criminal justice system must be allowed to work. I am confident the House’s investigation will be thorough and swift, and will proceed without regard to party.
— AG Josh Hawley (@AGJoshHawley) February 23, 2018
Hawley’s statement is marked contrast from that of the Missouri GOP, which is an interesting note as Hawley is considered the top recruit in the Missouri GOP’s attempt to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill from the U.S. Senate.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.