Huma Abedin reveals guilt that Anthony Weiner sex scandal cost Hillary Clinton presidency

Abedin reflects on her estranged husband’s impropriety and its effects on her political career in her new memoir

Megan Sheets
Monday 01 November 2021 15:25 GMT
Huma Abedin claims sex assault by US senator in new book
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Huma Abedin has shared the guilt she feels over the possibility that her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s sex scandals may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

Ms Abedin, who served as vice chair of Clinton’s campaign in 2016, reflected on Mr Weiner’s impropriety and its effects on her career in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning to promote her new memoir Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds.

The couple’s relationship was thrust into the spotlight in 2011 when Mr Weiner, then a US representative for New York, published a photo of himself only wearing underwear to his Twitter account.

Mr Weiner later admitted to having “inappropriate” conversations with six women online and via the photo over the course of the three years prior, including after he’d married Ms Abedin in 2010. He resigned from Congress and publicly promised: “I’m going to try to be a better husband.”

Ms Abedin said seeing her face on the news - next to such salacious headlines - was jarring after spending so many years behind the scenes in Washington as deputy chief of staff to Ms Clinton when she was Secretary of State. “I liked my anonymity, a lot,” she told CBS correspondent Norah O’Donnell.

Huma Abedin and her husband Anthony Weiner at a press conference in 2013
Huma Abedin and her husband Anthony Weiner at a press conference in 2013

Mr Weiner decided to jump back into politics by running for mayor of New York City in 2013, but his bid imploded with the revelation that he’d been sending explicit photographs to women under the alias “Carlos Danger.”

“Well, my world exploded again, in the most unexpected, shocking, humiliating, horrible way," Ms Abedin told O’Donnell. "We crossed a threshold. It was just surviving at that point."

She also revealed that she went against her boss Ms Clinton’s wishes when she told a July 2013 press conference: “I have forgiven him, I believe in him,” referencing Mr Weiner.

“Everyone was calling me and saying – people who loved me – were calling me and saying, ‘Don’t do this,’” Ms Abedin recalled.

She said she “purposely” didn’t take calls from Ms Clinton and others because “I think if I had talked to Hillary or my mother or anybody in my family, they would’ve advised me against doing it.”

Ms Abedin later separated from Mr Weiner after seeing conversations he was having with women online and learning that his affairs extended beyond the internet, including in the apartment they shared.

In 2016, when Ms Abedin was at the height of her career leading Ms Clinton’s presidential campaign, another scandal erupted around Mr Weiner.

The scandal began with Child Protective Services launching an investigation into a leaked photo of Mr Weiner in bed with their young son, leading Ms Abedin to fear she could lose custody.

Mr Weiner was then caught sending explicit text messages to an underage girl, which led to the FBI seizing his laptop and uncovering emails involving Ms Clinton stored on it.

The emails prompted then-FBI director James Comey to reopen an investigation into Ms Clinton only 11 days before the election.

Recounting the ordeal in her memoir, Ms Abedin wrote: “This man Weiner was going to ruin me. And now he was going to jeopardise Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.”

In her CBS interview, Ms Abedin addressed the idea that her husband had a hand in Ms Clinton’s loss.

“That is a thought that crosses my mind probably more than it crosses hers,” she said.

Pointing to her heart, she added: “But that is something that lives here that I think I’m gonna take to my grave.”

She said it has taken years to come to the conclusion that Ms Clinton’s loss was “not all my fault.”

“I lived with that. I did. I don’t believe that anymore,” she said. “It’s more a sense of an ache in the heart, that it didn’t have to be.”

Ms Abedin also said that she is no longer angry with Mr Weiner, who served 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to sending obscene material to a minor in 2017.

In her book, out on Tuesday, Ms Abedin also revealed for the first time that she was sexually assaulted by an unnamed senator in 2005.

She did not name the senator and said she had repressed the memory for years until 2018 when Christine Blasey Ford testified before Congress about how she was allegedly assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh during a hearing to confirm him to the Supreme Court.

Huma Abedin with Hillary Clinton on the 2016 presidential campaign trail
Huma Abedin with Hillary Clinton on the 2016 presidential campaign trail (AFP via Getty Images)

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