Yesterday evening, Roll Call broke the news that former Congressman Anthony Weiner said he reported Congressman Michael Grimm to the FBI in 2010 for potentially extorting money from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s congregation, something the New York Times‘ sources have alleged as well. “I can confirm the Rabbi did bring allegations to me and I can confirm that I turned them over to the FBI immediately,” Mr. Weiner told the publication.
Former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, a GOP power broker and political mentor to Mr. Grimm, decided to not take this latest set of charges sitting down and sent out a press release this afternoon attacking Mr. Weiner’s claims in rather harsh terms.
“All of these baseless and fanciful allegations are supported of course by anonymous sources and a known liar and pervert,” he argued in the statement. Mr. Weiner, of course, infamously resigned after a sexting scandal.
“I have been in this business for almost 50 years and I thought I’d seen it all, but the most recent allegations against Michael Grimm are so vile that I would be remiss not to draw attention to just how absurd they are and more importantly why and how they are being levied.”
Mr. Molinari then blamed New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Steve Israel, the head of the House Democrats’ campaign efforts, for the accusations flying in the media. In Mr. Molinari’s view, the series of charges against Mr. Grimm are an orchestrated plot to not only defeat Mr. Grimm for reelection, but also to stop him from rising to even higher levels of public office.
“Chuck Schumer and Steve Israel don’t know what to do with Grimm as he continues to rise, so they have resorted to a coordinated smear campaign that is fraught with inconsistencies, innuendoes through anonymous sources and outright lies,” he wrote. “Schumer and Israel fear that Grimm will have a big re-election victory that could catapult him to top contender status for a state-wide seat, possibly to challenge Schumer himself for the Senate or even governor”
Mr. Molinari presented a multipronged defense against Mr. Weiner’s claims, pointing out alleged inconsistencies as well:
“Here in Staten Island no one will believe: 1) That a pervert and proven liar like Anthony Weiner would have damaging information in late 2010 about Grimm and not use it politically just before the election – that he wouldn’t at least leak it anonymously to the press, but rather hold the information for almost 17 months; or 2) That the FBI received a complaint from a sitting congressman (Rep. Weiner) and did nothing with the information. They never even questioned Grimm and then just a few weeks ago would give Grimm a ‘Good Guy’ letter stating that he left the FBI in good standing. Why would the FBI issue such a letter if Grimm was under any type of investigation? Lastly, the NY Times initially reported that the Rabbi claimed not to know that Grimm was so aggressively raising money yet now claims that Grimm extorted him, so why didn’t the Rabbi tell that to the NY Times? Because none of it was true, not then and not now! Simply Google this Rabbi and anyone can see he is not credible.”
He finished by arguing Mr. Grimm’s biography and character is beyond reproach.
“The Democrats can continue their futile attacks because the documented and verifiable truth is simple: Michael Grimm is a hero that was recognized for valor in combat when he volunteered and almost gave his life completing an extremely dangerous mission during the Gulf War as a U.S. Marine,” he stated. “Michael Grimm is a patriot who risked his life time and time again going undercover to take bad guys off our streets and protect our families.”
Update: An Associated Press report would seem to have Mr. Weiner’s back:
“But today a law enforcement official indeed confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigations was contacted by then Congressman Weiner about allegations of fund-raising wrongdoing by Rep. Michael Grimm.”