Pressure grows for Missouri governor to step down


April 12 (Reuters) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens on Thursday faced another day of bipartisan pressure to resign or face impeachment after the release of a report finding that he abused and tried to blackmail a woman with whom he was having an affair.

The most recent calls for the married father of two to step down came after a special committee of the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives released its 24-page report on Wednesday regarding the scandal.

Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Claire McCaskill, said the report "contains shocking, substantial and corroborated evidence of wrongdoing" by the 44-year-old governor.

"The conduct the report details is certainly impeachable, in my judgment," Hawley said in a statement. "The people of Missouri should not be put through that ordeal. Governor Greitens should resign immediately."

SEE ALSO: Woman testifies affair with Missouri governor wasn't always consensual

Greitens, who was charged in February with felony invasion of privacy in connection with an admitted extramarital affair in 2015, before his election, repeated on Wednesday that he is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing and called the relationship in question "entirely consensual."

Greitens said he was determined to stay in office while fighting to clear his name in court. He said he was the victim of a "political witch-hunt" stemming from a "private mistake" that had nothing to do with his job as governor.

According to the House report, the woman recounted their first liaison as a menacing and coerced sexual encounter in which he bound her hands, blindfolded her and ripped off her clothes without her consent before snapping a photo of her and threatening to disseminate the image if their affair became public.

Greitens has denied threatening to blackmail the woman, a hair stylist referred to only as "Witness 1."

More on Gov. Greitens: 

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Republican Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri
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Republican Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri
Vice President Mike Pence and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens walk through the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, after viewing some of the damage done last weekend when more than 150 headstones were overturned. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Eric Greitens kisses his wife, Sheena, before giving his victory speech after winning the Missouri governor's race on November 8, 2016, at his election watch party at the Double Tree Hotel in Chesterfield, Mo. Greitens has admitted he had an extramarital affair in 2015. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Eric Greitens Founder and CEO, The Mission Continues speaks at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Robin Hood Foundation)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens and wife Sheena hold their children, Jacob (left) and Joshua, while addressing the media after casting their vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly branch in St. Louis, Mo. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Former Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism of the NYPD Michael Sheehan and Navy SEALs Lieutenant Commander Eric Greitens appear on NBC News' TODAY show (Photo by Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY CITY, MO - FEBRUARY 22: Anita Feigenbaum, executive director at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery speaks to the crowd on February 22, 2017 in University City, Missouri. Governor Eric Greitens (R) and US Vice President Mike Pence (L) were on hand to speak to over 300 volunteers who helped cleanup after the recent vandalism. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a nationwide spike in incidents including bomb threats at Jewish community centers and reports of anti-semitic graffiti. (Photo: Michael Thomas/ Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Author and Navy Seal Eric Greitens attends the 2013 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Chris Marvis, Greg Grunberg, Eric Greitens and Christopher Gorham attend Got Your 6 and The Mission Continues Service Project Event at The Globe Theater inside Universal Studios Hollywood on November 9, 2012 in Universal City, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens makes his ballot selections on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly branch in St. Louis, Mo. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Author and Navy Seal Eric Greitens attends the 2013 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 03: (L-R) E.A. 'Buddy' Grantham, Director of the Office of Veterans Affairs for City of Houston, Erika Putinski, Home Depot, Eric Greitens, The Mission Continues and Frederick Wellman of ScoutComms at The Home Depot Foundation & The Mission Continues Partner to repair and rennovate American Legion Post #416 on November 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Eric Greitens and guest attend GQ's Gentlemen's Ball Presented By Gentleman Jack, Land Rover, Movado, and Nautica at The Edison Ballroom on October 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for GQ)
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The woman testified that she ultimately agreed to perform oral sex on Greitens so she could leave, saying the interaction left her frightened, humiliated and disgusted. She acknowledged consenting to several more sexual encounters over the next few months before finally insisting that they cease further contact.

The report describes in lurid detail a tumultuous, months-long affair punctuated by instances of physical abuse, jealous rage and manipulative behavior by Greitens.

The Missouri state constitution counts "moral turpitude" as grounds for impeachment.

"The Governor has to resign period!!!," State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., a Democrat, said on Twitter. "It's time to go!" (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee Editing by Scott Malone and Chizu Nomiyama)

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