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05 Apr 2016 
A Republican Alabama lawmaker said Tuesday that he is filing an impeachment resolution against GOP Gov. Robert Bentley in the wake of a scandal involving one of the governor's top aides, who has since resigned. (AP)

Update: On Tuesday, Alabama lawmakers took the first steps to try to impeach Bentley."We're looking at this governor who has essentially betrayed the trust of the people of Alabama," state Rep. Ed Henry told NBC News. "This is about the actions and lies that have caused us some doubts about his leadership."

Henry added: "If he truly loves the people of this state, he will step down."

It'd require a remarkable amount of unity among the Republican legislature to be successful, and Bentley, who maintains he's done nothing illegal, has vowed to fight the charges.

There are no grounds for impeachment, & I will vigorously defend myself & administration from this political attack.

Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) April 5, 2016

Todays press conference is nothing more than political grandstanding intended to grab headlines and take the focus away from impt. issues.

Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) April 5, 2016

For five years, I have faithfully served the people of Alabama. There is a lot of work to do before I end my term in office in 2019.

Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) April 5, 2016

I have laid out a strategic plan for success, and I will continue to focus my efforts on making Alabama a great state.

Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) April 5, 2016

But as we reported earlier Tuesday, Bentley hasn't admitted to much of anything -- even as he has kind-of-apologized.

On Monday, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) made what appearedlike a typical apology for a politician admitting to a sex scandal. At an unrelated public appearance, he asked for forgiveness from God, from those he hurt and from Alabama residents for his transgressions.


"I've asked God to forgive me because that's the most important thing. I want back in His fellowship. And so I asked God to forgive me. But I asked other people to again forgive me and I've already done that and I have truly asked the people of this state they're the folks who love me and are the best people in the world I have asked them to forgive me."

But wait a minute. Forgive him for what? Bentley hasn't ever admitted to the affair he has been accused of. He has denied having inappropriate physical contact with his now-former chief political adviser, even as state officials formally file an ethics complaint to see whether he used public money and personnel to carry out the alleged affair.

Most reasonable Alabama residents following this scandal (and many in the state are) would probably sum up their governor's weird apology this way: He'sasking them for forgiveness for something everyone is pretty darn sure happened but he won't say happened. It's almost like he's speaking in code to his own state.

That kind of verbal gymnastics is a big problem for Bentley. If he's truly adamant about finishing his term as governor,dancing around the issue of whether he had an affair is not helpinghim earn back the trust of the people he has supposedly apologized to.

We get that when their backs are against the wall, politicians are particularly flexible with the facts and their word choices. (Remember: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman?") But since this whole thing broke open two weeks ago, Bentley has defied credulity even more than usual with his explanations for what exactlyhappened.

[An inside look at how Gov. Robert Bentley's sex scandal broke wide open]

The only thing Bentley has admitted to in this whole, soap opera-like saga has been having a very graphic phone conversation with someone with the same first name as his chief adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. And it's fair to wonder whether Bentley would have ever admitted that had the actual tape not been out in the world for all to hear and cringe at.

Bentley hasn't exactly addressed head-on his professions of love and lust for the person on the other end of that phone call, either. Here's what he said at a press conference the day after his former friend and fired top law enforcement official went to the media with audio "proof" Bentley had carried out an affair with Mason:

When a reporter asked if the governor was in love with the adviser hes rumored to have had an affair with, Bentley said this:

I love many members of my staff, in fact, all the members of my staff. Do I love some more than others, absolutely.

Another cringe.

It reminds us of one of Washington's more lurid sex scandals. In 2007,Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) whose phone number showed up in a prostitution ring, only apologized for "a very serious sin" in his past. He said he'd keep the matter between God and his family and never clarified what that sinactually was.

In his public appearances since, Bentley hasn't clarified much more either. He said that whatever happened had happened "years ago" -- the implication beinghe's over it, so why aren't Alabamans?

(On Monday, Bentley gave a nodtothattimeline, saying: "I personally have addressed this issue. I addressed this tape that came out that was recorded three years ago. I addressed that. I have addressed the issues related to that. Those issues have been taken care of long ago. But it has just been made public just recently and I have to address them again.")

[How Gov. Bentley 'lost his mind']

Even the way the governor asked for forgiveness was perplexing; Bentley framed the whole thing in the past tense, like he had the necessaryconversations with God and with the Alabama people awhile ago, and they "had" forgiven him.

But for the people of Alabama to be able to forgive him and move on like Bentley apparently thinks they have, they firstwill probably want to know what they're forgiving him for.

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