John Minchillo, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner faces a cool reception from even some of his closest allies in Congress as he clings to a once-promising political career.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership voiced their disappointment in Weiner and pointedly urged the House ethics committee to launch an investigation to determine if the outspoken New York Democrat broke House rules. Their calls came shortly after the married Weiner's profuse public apology for "inappropriate" online exchanges with six women.
Pelosi pronounced herself "deeply disappointed and saddened."
The second-ranking House Democrat, Maryland's Steny Hoyer, called for Weiner to make full disclosure.
The cool but so-far not fatal reception from his House colleagues contrasted sharply with the fate that befell fellow New York Rep. Christopher Lee, who sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist. Within a matter of hours of the photo being disclosed, the Republican met with House Speaker John Boehner and resigned.
House Republicans have stated there would be zero tolerance for misbehavior by members in their ranks. And even if Weiner did nothing illegal, House ethics rules state that members must comport themselves in a manner befitting their office, enough to trigger an investigation into Weiner's online social life.
And House Democrats weren't exactly circling around him in support.
One of Weiner's New York colleagues, Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said it would rest with the voters of Weiner's district, which covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens, to determine the seven-term congressman's fate.
"Congressman Anthony Weiner engaged in a deep personal failure and inappropriate behavior that embarrassed himself, his family and the House," Israel said. "Ultimately, Anthony and his constituents will make a judgment about his future."
New York's senior senator, Chuck Schumer, said in a statement that he was "deeply pained and saddened by today's news. By fully explaining himself, apologizing to all he hurt and taking full responsibility for his wrongful actions, Anthony did the right thing. He remains a talented and committed public servant, and I pray he and his family can get through these difficult times."
Weiner on Monday admitted sending a lewd photo of his underwear-clad crotch to a young woman over Twitter and then lying repeatedly to protect himself.
The extraordinary confession at a packed Manhattan news conference was a remarkable turn of events for the brash Weiner, who conceded to a "hugely regrettable" lapse in judgment.
Weiner insisted he had done nothing wrong and said he would fully cooperate with a House inquiry.
Weiner said he used his home computer and personal Blackberry, not government computers, in his exchanges with the women. But that may not protect him from House rules that say a member "shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House."
On numerous occasions, the House ethics committee has cited that general rule in finding that a lawmaker violated standards of conduct.
Weiner also acknowledged that he had engaged in inappropriate contact with six women over the course of three years through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and occasionally over the phone. He said he had never met or had a physical relationship with any of the women and was not even sure of their ages. He also said he had never had sex outside of his marriage.
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