A spokesman for Republican Gov. Eric Greitens pushed back Thursday against a suggestion by the attorney general’s office that he hasn’t been fully cooperative with an investigation into his use of a secret texting app.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, opened an investigation last month after The Kansas City Star revealed the use of the Confide app by Greitens and members of his senior staff. The probe is examining whether the governor and his staff illegally destroyed public records by using the app, which erases messages after they are read and also prevents someone from saving, forwarding, printing or taking a screenshot of texts.
A statement from attorney general’s office on Wednesday in response to an inquiry from The Star implied that Greitens’ office has yet to cooperate with Hawley’s inquiry.
“The investigation into Confide is ongoing and we hope that we will soon get cooperation from the Governor’s office,” Loree Ann Paradise, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said in an email Thursday.
Greitens’ spokesman Parker Briden said the governor’s office already has been working closely with Hawley’s team to provide information related to their inquiry.
“The office has been, and will continue to, cooperate fully — and any assertion to the contrary is false,” Briden said in an email. “We look forward to the resolution of this issue and are confident the office record retention policies and practices comply with state law.”
Briden did not immediately respond to a followup question from The Star about whether the governor or his staff had done any interviews or turned over any documents as part of the attorney general’s investigation.
Now a bipartisan group of Missouri state senators is calling for Hawley to investigate allegations in a television report Wednesday that the governor threatened to blackmail a woman who allegedly had an affair with him.
Greitens acknowledged the affair in a statement but through his attorney denied the allegations of attempted blackmail.
Rep. Gina Mitten, a St. Louis Democrat, said if Greitens is not cooperating with Hawley’s investigation into the Confide app, she’s not surprised.
“This governor has already shown his willingness to play fast and loose with the rules,” Mitten said.
She said she couldn’t speculate on whether the Confide investigation is connected to the revelations on Wednesday of Greitens’ extra-marital affair, which reportedly occurred before his election as governor.
“But when I became aware of use of the Confide app, my first question was why would a sitting governor and his staff need to use such an app?” Mitten said. “Why would they need that? What is going on that could be so potentially damaging that you need to use an app that destroys your text messages?”