Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Washington Missourian Editorial Boards criticized Josh Hawley’s handling of an investigation into Governor Greitens’ use of Confide. As the Post-Dispatch concluded, if Hawley’s “handling of the Confide case is any indication of how hard Hawley will pursue the governor on his other major legal questions, Greitens can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Imagine how effective law enforcement would be if, whenever a possible crime is committed, the police go straight to the suspects and ask them if they did anything wrong. Upon hearing, “No, officer, of course not!” the police declare the investigation closed. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Missouri’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Josh Hawley, effectively did this with his short-lived investigation into the use of a phone app by Gov. Eric Greitens and his top aides that automatically deleted text conversations. Nothing to see here folks, Hawley’s office effectively concluded in a report Thursday.
… Hawley, who is seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, ordered three top deputies to look into the Confide matter. It would have been extraordinary in an election year for one statewide-elected Republican to conclude wrongdoing by another, but we had hoped that Hawley would at least give it a good-faith try.
Instead, the team decided not to interview Greitens on the matter and simply took the staffers’ word that they did nothing wrong.
…If his handling of the Confide case is any indication of how hard Hawley will pursue the governor on his other major legal questions, Greitens can breathe a sigh of relief.
Gov. Eric Greitens received some much-needed good news Thursday when a report issued by Attorney General Josh Hawley found no evidence of wrongdoing in connection with his office’s use of a secret messaging app.
…To say the embattled governor is under siege is to put it mildly. Greitens is crashing and burning in a very public way.
…Hawley’s report concerning the use of the secret messaging app by Greitens and his senior staff should be a salve to an administration embroiled in controversy and help chill criticism that the governor is too secretive.
Indeed, Greitens’ press office issued a gushing press release on the report portraying it as vindication that the governor has adhered to the state’s Sunshine Law and records retention law.
…Ironically, the report acknowledges that due to the nature of the app, no documentary evidence exists to corroborate (or contradict) this testimony. If you aren’t chuckling now, you should be. Of course there is no evidence, that’s why the app exists.
It’s worth noting Greitens declined to be interviewed for the investigation, citing executive privilege.
…[Greitens] has been sued by two St. Louis attorneys who allege the use of the app by the governor and his staff constitutes a conspiracy to violate Missouri’s open records laws. That promises to be a more vigorous inquiry into this matter.
Again, we can’t blame the governor for trumpeting this report, as flimsy as it may be. When you are on a losing streak, you take any win you can get.