Missouri House committee subpoenas embattled governor to testify

A Missouri House committee investigating embattled Gov. Eric Greitens has issued a subpoena for the governor to testify June 4, the committee’s chairman said Friday, setting the stage for a possible showdown as the state Legislature considers impeaching the governor.

“In order to get the truth, we need to hear from both sides,” said Republican state Rep. Jay Barnes, the committee’s chairman. “And if one side refuses to participate … we’re going to proceed without them, because that’s all we can do.”

Greitens has previously declined invitations to interview with the committee, which has been probing his conduct since February, including allegations of blackmail and violence against a woman with whom he had an affair, and possible campaign finance violations. The committee is expected to soon make a recommendation on whether to impeach Greitens, which would then go to a vote of the full state House.

The committee had hinted in recent days that it would again seek the governor’s testimony before that vote, to avoid any charges of unfairness by Greitens and his team. But it is unclear whether the governor will agree to appear before the committee or will fight the subpoena. He has publicly denied any wrongdoing and has panned the investigations into his conduct as part of a “political witch hunt” against him.

Were Greitens to appear before the Missouri House committee, it would be historic: A US governor has never before been compelled to testify in impeachment proceedings.

Connecticut came close in 2004, when a state House panel investigating Gov. John Rowland subpoenaed him, and the Connecticut Supreme Court later ruled that the governor must testify. But Rowland resigned days later and was never interviewed by lawmakers.