Huma Abedin: the sexual assault claims by former Hillary Clinton adviser

Long-time aide to ex-presidential candidate says she was attacked by a US senator

Huma Abedin pictured with Hillary Clinton in 2011
Huma Abedin with Hillary Clinton in 2011
(Image credit: Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

A former close aide to Hillary Clinton has claimed that a US senator tried to kiss and grope her without her consent after inviting her to his home.

In a memoir due to be published next week, Huma Abedin wrote that she “buried” her memory of the alleged assault, which occurred in the mid-2000s, for many years. But “allegations against the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh triggered” her recollection, according the The Guardian, which has seen extracts of the new book.

She “does not name the senator or his party or give any other clues as to his identity”, the paper said.

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‘I needed rescuing’

The attack claim in Abedin’s memoir, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, follows a passage about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s attendance at “Donald Trump’s wedding to his third wife, Melania Knauss, in Palm Beach, Florida, in January 2005”, said The Guardian. Michigan-born Abedin, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, wrote that the event was like being at “an Arab wedding back home”.

She goes on to describe a Washington dinner attended by “a few senators and their aides”. Clinton was not present.

“I ended up walking out with one of the senators, and soon we stopped in front of his building and he invited me in for coffee,” Abedin continued. “Once inside, he told me to make myself comfortable on the couch.

“Then, in an instant, it all changed. He plopped down to my right, put his left arm around my shoulder, and kissed me, pushing his tongue into my mouth, pressing me back on the sofa.

“I was so utterly shocked, I pushed him away. All I wanted was for the last ten seconds to be erased.”

The senator is then said to have apologised, claiming that he “misread” her “all this time”.

Abedin wrote that she avoided the unnamed senator “for a few days” before running into him on Capitol Hill. She said that she nodded when he asked if they were still friends, before Clinton joined them, “as if she knew I needed rescuing even though I’d told her nothing about that night”.

In an interview with New York-based television network CBS on Sunday, Abedin said the senator “kissed me in a very... shocking way”. Asked whether she felt she was a victim of sexual assault, she replied: “I'm suggesting that I was in an uncomfortable situation with a senator and I didn't know how to deal with it and I buried the whole experience.”

‘Conveniently remembering’

Abedin has claimed that allegations made by Professor Christine Blasey Ford against then Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2018 “dredged up” her “memory of her own alleged assault”, the Daily Beast said.

In the memoir extract seen by The Guardian, she wrote that she had “buried the incident” until Blasey Ford was “being accused of ‘conveniently’ remembering” her alleged assault by Kavanaugh – an allegation he denied.

“Kavanaugh became a leading symbol of the #MeToo era, in which allegations of sexual misconduct and assault have brought down prominent men,” said the paper. But “Republicans did not waver” in their support and he was “duly confirmed to the court”.

Abedin is no stranger to #MeToo-related controversy. The book also details “her anger at her ex-husband, former Democratic New York congressman Anthony Weiner, whose career was destroyed by sex scandals”, the BBC said.

Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after admitting to using his public Twitter account to send an indecent image to a woman who was following him on the social media site. The row erupted after he accidentally posted the image publicly.

He was then drawn into the spotlight again in 2013 while taking part in the New York City mayoral race. The New York Post revealed that had sent explicit pictures to a woman under the alias “Carlos Danger”, before reporting that he had also sent another woman “a lurid crotch shot with his toddler son in the picture”.

Following the second sexting scandal, Abedin released a statement saying that “after long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband”.

Weiner became mired in scandal again in September 2016, when he was accused of engaged in sexting with a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina. After pleading guilty to a charge of sending obscene material to a minor, the former congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.

In an extract of Abedin’s memoir published in Vogue, she wrote that after Weiner admitted sending explicit images to other women back in 2011, she had “felt something explode inside my chest, and suddenly it was hard to breathe”.

“I was simultaneously filled with rage and stunned to my core. It felt like a bolt of lightning had struck me and run straight through my body,” she added.

However, she and Weiner, “who have reportedly separated but are not yet divorced”, still appear to be on speaking terms, said the Daily Mail.

The pair “have occasionally been seen out together since they filed for divorce in 2017” and were “spotted shopping in New York City” this week, the paper reported.

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