Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, said Monday that she intended to separate from her husband, Anthony D. Weiner, the former congressman and New York City mayoral candidate, after it was reported that Mr. Weiner had exchanged suggestive images and messages with a woman while the couple’s young child was beside him.
The separation was announced after Mr. Weiner’s online exchanges with women had been a source of tension within Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. Mr. Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after revelations that he had sent lewd images of himself to women on social media. The couple’s marital problems worsened after the release in May of a documentary about the scandal that engulfed Mr. Weiner’s campaign for mayor in 2013.
Ms. Abedin released a statement on Monday after the New York Post reported that Mr. Weiner had traded sexual messages with an unidentified woman last year while their 5-year-old son, Jordan, appeared to be asleep beside him.
“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,” she said in the statement. “Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”
Ms. Abedin only learned on Sunday that Mr. Weiner had sent a photo of himself and their son to the unidentified woman, according to two people close to the couple who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal private conversations. After the Post contacted him on Sunday about the coming story, Mr. Weiner told Ms. Abedin about the photo, as well as other details about his latest online indiscretions, while they were both in the Hamptons with their son.
Mr. Weiner came back from the Hamptons on Monday morning, the two people said, and he was aware that Ms. Abedin wanted to separate before she announced it later that morning.
Ms. Abedin’s separation quickly became political fodder for Donald J. Trump, Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponent.
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin in Manhattan in 2013. CreditMichael Appleton for The New York Times
“Huma is making a very wise decision,” he said in a statement. “I knowAnthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him.”
The latest news and analysis of the candidates and issues shaping the presidential race.
- “I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” he continued. “Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”Ms. Abedin and Mr. Weiner had been growing apart for some time, according to the two people close to the couple, with Ms. Abedin often on the campaign trail with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Weiner at home with Jordan. The two people said that the Post story had not caused a sudden and unexpected rupture to a happy marriage, but rather was the trigger for Ms. Abedin to move for a separation.Still, Ms. Abedin had recently presented an image of herself and Mr. Weiner as something of a team. In the August issue of Vogue, Ms. Abedin spoke of balancing motherhood with a strenuous campaign job. “I don’t think I could do it if I didn’t have the support system I have, if Anthony wasn’t willing to be, essentially, a full-time dad,” she told the magazine.Mr. Weiner did not immediately reply to an email seeking his comment.After the New York Post published its story Sunday night revealing Mr. Weiner’s latest texts, several allies of Mrs. Clinton said they contacted campaign advisers to express frustration and anger with Mr. Weiner, asking whether the campaign or Ms. Abedin would respond to the Post story or take action. Two of these allies said they were told that some kind of statement would be coming and that they were urged to respect Ms. Abedin’s privacy.The announcement of the separation came after The Post showed that Mr. Weiner had exchanged photos with the woman. She appeared in various bikinis and Mr. Weiner was half-dressed, showing off his stomach or his groin — and they talked about sex.“Really?” the woman replied.City officials would not comment on whether the incident would prompt an inquiry into Mr. Weiner’s behavior.“Confidentiality laws preclude us from commenting on specific cases,” Carol Cáceres, deputy press secretary for the Administration for Children’s Services, said in a statement.Christine Hauser and Nikita Stewart contributed reporting.
- Find out what you need to know about the 2016 presidential race today, and get politics news updates via Facebook, Twitter and the First Draft newsletter.
- Martin Guggenheim, a professor of law at New York University and expert on children’s rights, said Mr. Weiner’s behavior wasn’t likely to trigger an inquiry, adding that such “investigations rarely are done on the privileged side of town.”
- His response, in a screen shot dated July 31, 2015, showed a child curled up next to Mr. Weiner, who was wearing only white Jockey shorts.
- In one message, Mr. Weiner abruptly changed the discussion from massage parlors and reportedly wrote, “Someone just climbed into my bed.”
- Mrs. Clinton had hoped to ride out the final week of August with limited distractions and maintaining a solid lead in national polls. This week, she has a series of private fund-raisers and an address to the American Legion’s annual convention on Wednesday in Cincinnati.
- Mrs. Clinton strongly supported Ms. Abedin when Mr. Weiner’s sexually charged text messages came to light in 2011, a year into their marriage, and again in 2013, when Mr. Weiner was running for mayor of New York. Friends of Mrs. Clinton said that she spoke to Ms. Abedin at length about the marriage and that she supported Ms. Abedin’s decision to remain with Mr. Weiner and work on their marriage.
- Ms. Abedin, 40, has been at Mrs. Clinton’s side for two decades. She was her intern in the 1990s during the presidency of Bill Clinton and became a top aide while Mrs. Clinton served as a senator from New York. Ms. Abedin, now vice chairwoman of the campaign served on both of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaigns — a mark of loyalty and trust that Mrs. Clinton prizes — and is often referred to as a surrogate daughter.
- Campaign officials had braced for fresh revelations about Mr. Weiner after the Post reported earlier this month that a Republican had baited Mr. Weiner into a sexual online chat. Asked by The Times this month whether he was still engaging in the activities that had foiled his political career, Mr. Weiner replied, “I’m not going to go down the path of talking about any of that.”
- Mrs. Clinton was informed on Sunday about Mr. Weiner’s disclosures to Ms. Abedin, though it was unclear if Ms. Abedin spoke directly to Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Abedin remains in the Hamptons with her son and was not expected to join Mrs. Clinton there to attend campaign fundraisers on Monday.
- Mr. Trump also said the episode was an issue of national security.
- ‘Weiner’ Covers a Political Campaign Set on Self-Destruct MAY 11, 2016