As speculation mounts over Hillary Clinton's presidential run, disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, continue to serve as a distraction.
Weiner's penchant for personal picture taking—including with soon-to-be adult film actress Sidney Leathers—has strained his relationship with the Clinton family.
"The Weiner drama has not only ensnared one of Clinton’s closest aides, Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin, but also reminded a scandal-weary public of the Clintons’ checkered past. After all, Clinton, whose 2008 campaign was plagued by infighting, finger pointing and worse, is no stranger to political—and sex—scandals," wrote Zeke Miller at Time magazine earlier this month.
Weiner caused another headache for the Clinton campaign last week when he told Buzzfeed's Ben Smith during a live question-and-answer session that he knew what Huma's role in the 2016 campaign would be:
When asked whether he knew what Abedin’s role on Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential campaign would be in 2016, Weiner said only, “I do. I’m not telling you.”
The Clinton camp was nonplussed, according to Politico‘s Maggie Haberman:
A Hillary Clinton spokesman took a shot at Anthony Weiner on Tuesday for claiming he knew what role his wife Huma Abedin would play in a 2016 Clinton presidential run, denying he had any inside knowledge.
“We have absolutely no clue what he was talking about,” spokesman Nick Merrill said. “Maybe his campaign does. Doubt it though.”
Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl around the special status given Abedin—often described as a close confidante of the Clinton family and a "surrogate daughter"—during Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, according to the New York Times:
When news surfaced in May that the State Department had approved an arrangement that allowed Huma Abedin, a top adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to take on work for private clients, officials at the department described it as nothing unusual.
But three months later, questions about the arrangement persist, and the department has declined to provide some basic information about Ms. Abedin’s situation and those of other State Department employees who may have been given similar status.
Ms. Abedin, 37, a confidante of Mrs. Clinton’s, was made a “special government employee” in June 2012. That allowed her to continue her employment at State but also work for Teneo, a consulting firm, founded in part by a former aide to President Bill Clinton, that has a number of corporate clients, including Coca-Cola. In addition, Ms. Abedin worked privately for the Clinton Foundation and for Mrs. Clinton personally.
The Clinton Foundation itself has come under special scrutiny in recent weeks, having racked up more than $50 million in travel expenses and being accused of having numerous conflicts of interest.