The investigative reporter who first broke the story of a dossier containing sexual allegations about Donald Trump is being investigated for sexual harassment for the second time in three years.
David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and a frequent MSNBC contributor on such programs as Hardball and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, joked about rape, gave unwelcome shoulder rubs, and touched women’s legs, arms, and backs, according to allegations from former Mother Jones employees published by Politico on Thursday.
The article also featured the contents of an email from a former female staff member who said Corn, a longtime supporter of women’s issues in his writings, made inappropriate comments about the woman and would occasionally approach her from behind and put his arms around her body.
The two top officials at Mother Jones, both women, acknowledged they had investigated complaints about Corn in 2014.
Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein and editor-in-chief Clara Jeffrey told Politico they looked into the allegations and indicated the situation had been resolved, but they would examine the situation again after learning of the Politico emails, one of which was dated 2015 and described Corn’s alleged sexual harassment.
In a statement to Politico, Corn said his behavior toward women was not sexual, but that he was an exuberant person who liked to pat both men and women on the back in a friendly fashion.
“Sexual violence is not funny and I have never joked about it or about women’s sexuality and anatomy.”
In October 2016, Corn was the first reporter to reveal the existence of a dossier compiled by a British intelligence agent detailing Russian efforts to co-opt Donald Trump.
Though the dossier contained salacious details of Russians having blackmail material over Trump involving prostitutes, those details were not included in Corn’s report, which was published just before the election because they had not been confirmed, nor have they been confirmed since then.
It was the second straight presidential year in which Corn landed one of the most memorable scoops of the election cycle. In 2012, the Mother Jones reporter uncovered a video featuring Republican candidate Mitt Romney telling a group of GOP contributors about the 47 percent of the electorate he would not be able to reach because they were waiting for the government to hand them everything. Political analysts have said the video played a key role in Barack Obama’s election victory.
Politico’s revelation of the 2014 and 2015 sexual harassment allegations against Corn makes him the second frequent MSNBC contributor to face such accusations. MSNBC severed ties earlier this week with veteran political analyst Mark Halperin after CNN broke a story featuring five women accusing Halperin of sexually harassing them when he was a political editor at ABC News from 1997 to 2007.
Halperin had been a regular panelist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and had appeared on other network programs.
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