News Wrap: Rep. Anthony Weiner Reverses Course, Resigns
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Congressman Anthony Weiner gave up his fight to hang on to office today. He announced he is resigning in the wake of an online sex scandal.
The seven-term New York Democrat made his decision public at a senior center in Brooklyn.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.: I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do, to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it. Unfortunately, the distraction that I have created has made that impossible.
So, today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Weiner had been considering a run for New York City mayor in 2013, but he said today his focus is now on his personal life. He spoke for less than five minutes and was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers.
MAN: Throw him out! He’s not with us.
MAN: Throw him out.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER: To repeat, most importantly — most importantly so that I can continue to heal from the damage that I have caused.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The resignation marked the end of a three-week scandal over revelations that Weiner engaged in online liaisons with several women.
It started after he mistakenly posted a lewd photo on a Twitter feed to the general public. He had intended it to be a private message sent directly to a woman in Seattle. The congressman initially claimed his account had been hacked. But the questions grew, and other women came forward, saying they had received similar images from him.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER: I haven’t told the truth and I have done things that I deeply regret.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Last week, Weiner admitted sending the photos. He said he wouldn’t resign. Instead, he took a leave of absence and checked into a treatment facility.
Still, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats stepped up the pressure. And, on Monday, President Obama told NBC News:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If it was me, I would resign.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Weiner finally did so today, one day after his wife, Huma Abedin, returned from a trip to Africa with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
At the U.S. Capitol today, a media flurry swirled outside Weiner’s congressional office, but there was no sign of life inside, as staffers had turned off the lights and locked the doors.
President Obama drew more fire from Congress today for claiming he doesn’t need approval for the U.S. mission in Libya. A White House report on Wednesday argued U.S. forces are in a supporting role, and are not engaged in hostilities.
House Speaker John Boehner shot back today that the president’s claim doesn’t pass the straight-face test. He said Congress might consider cutting off funds for the Libyan operation.
In Syria, the government massed more forces around two northern towns, as part of the intensifying crackdown on dissenters. Tanks and troops surrounded Khan Shaykhun and Maaret al-Numan. Human rights activists reported hundreds of men and boys over the age of 16 were being detained.
Meanwhile, some 9,000 Syrians were waiting in refugee camps just inside Turkey. Many people who fled the violence said they do not trust their government’s assurances that it is safe to return home.
More than 200 militants from Afghanistan attacked a village inside northeastern Pakistan today, killing five people and kidnapping 20 others. It was the second such cross-border raid in recent weeks. Separately, Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kayani was reported to be struggling to save his job. The general has come under pressure from his colleagues since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Vancouver, Canada, began cleaning up today and trying to explain the rioting that erupted after their ice hockey team, the Canucks, lost the Stanley Cup last night. Violence erupted when the Boston Bruins won game seven of the title series. Crowds set fires, looted stores and fought with police in downtown streets. Nearly 100 people were arrested and almost 150 others were sent to the hospital. The city’s mayor blamed organized hoodlums.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.