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Top Democrat says votes are there for impeachment session

(Missourinet) Missouri House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, thinks legislators have enough votes to call a special session about potential disciplinary action against Governor Eric Greitens. But, her caucus does not want to delay the process, which could include impeachment, unless it’s necessary.

“I think if we get to May 17 and let’s say the committee has not completed its process, then I think we would sign on to a special session call. Democrats are not saying that they don’t agree that we should have a special session call, what we are saying is it’s a little premature for us to do this right now. Let’s see what we can get accomplished through the remaining five weeks of session,” McCann Beatty says.

Republican leadership in both chambers wants to call a special session, which would require 75% of legislators supporting the move. House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, says there are other priorities to get accomplished during the regular session. He goes on to say a House committee investigating the governor has told him that it’s not in a position to make recommendations prior to the end of the session.

The committee has released an investigative report about Greitens’ former mistress accusing him of physical aggression, sexual manipulation and blackmail.

Another reason McCann Beatty does not want to wait to begin the penalty phase is because she says there’s a “real possibility” the governor could use leverage against legislators who want their bills signed into law.

“I think the governor is in a very desperate situation right now and I think that he will pull any stops,” McCann Beatty tells Missourinet. More than that, we’re in an election season. Does that mean he’s going to start calling contributors and having them putting pressure on legislators?”

Greitens, a Republican, has waived his right to face the committee and says he will answer the panel’s questions after his criminal trial finishes. During a press conference with reporters, Greitens says the investigation underway by the panel is a “political witch hunt” and says its report is “one-sided tabloid trash gossip.”

The committee’s invitation for the governor to be questioned by it remains open. McCann Beatty is not buying the governor will testify.

“Before the gag order, he didn’t talk to the press much about it either. He really hasn’t given anyone any reason to believe that this is any different than what we’ve seen from these transcripts,” she says.

McCann Beatty says the governor has painted himself as the victim, but the full transcripts of the woman involved say otherwise. She’s not convinced Greitens can weather the political storm he’s up against and thinks citizens will demand that he resigns.

“I think you’re starting to see that now with higher-level Republican officials asking him to resign. We’re seeing even elected officials outside of the state of Missouri asking him to resign,” she says. “We have a governor that has thrown Missouri into a spotlight that we never wanted to be in.”

A judge could decide this week whether to dismiss the governor’s criminal case based on prosecutors allegedly withholding a videotaped interview of the mistress. His court trial is scheduled to begin May 14.

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