Top advisers ditch anti-Trump Lincoln Project as implosion gains steam over sexual harassment scandal

A growing exodus of leading advisers from the “Never TrumpLincoln Project group continued Friday as the PAC struggles with allegations that one of its co-founders sexually harassed young men.

Late Friday, Axios reported that Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt is resigning from the group’s board.

Tom Nichols, a “Never-Trump Conservative” foreign policy expert, announced that he’s leaving his role as an unpaid adviser.

“I’ve always been transparent about all my affiliations, as I am now: I told TLP leadership yesterday that I’m stepping down as an unpaid adviser as they sort this out and decide their future direction and organization,” Nichols tweeted Friday.

He made the announcement in response to a New York Times report that six former Lincoln Project employees were asking to be released from their nondisclosure agreements in order to discuss the allegations against John Weaver, who has been accused of sexually harassing young men through text messages and phone calls.

Headed for the door as well is Nayyera Haq, who was hosting the online show “The Lincoln Report.”

Kurt Bardella, another adviser, has also stepped down, according to the political journalist Ben Jacobs.

LINCOLN PROJECT BEING ASKED TO RELEASE FORMER EMPLOYEES FROM NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS

The group announced Thursday that it is hiring an independent investigator to look into Weaver’s activities. Nichols said he was “glad” the group was taking that action.

Weaver himself announced he was leaving the project in January.

Jennifer Horn, another co-founder, followed up by saying last week she was leaving the group in disgust.

She blamed the “grotesque” allegations against Weaver, but the group’s remaining leaders attributed her exit to a dispute over money and accused her of trying to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in exorbitant fees and bonuses.

The feud heated up Thursday when the Lincoln Project appeared to post confidential Twitter messages between Horn and a reporter. It’s unclear how they were obtained by the group, and Horn said that she had not given the Lincoln Project permission to publish her private conversation.

LINCOLN PROJECT FACES FIERCE BACKLASH, ACCUSED OF PUBLISHING PRIVATE MESSAGES OF EX-MEMBER

Former Lincoln Project member George Conway, who left the organization over the summer, said the incident “looks on its face to be a violation of federal law.”

Steve Schmidt, another co-founder, has said the group’s leadership did not know about the allegations against Weaver until last month.

In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, John Weaver is shown on a campaign bus in Bow, N.H. The Lincoln Project was launched in November 2019 as a super PAC that allowed its leaders to raise and spend unlimited sums of money. In June 2020, members of the organization’s leadership were informed in writing and in subsequent phone calls of at least 10 specific allegations of harassment against co-founder John Weaver, including two involving Lincoln Project employees, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, John Weaver is shown on a campaign bus in Bow, N.H. The Lincoln Project was launched in November 2019 as a super PAC that allowed its leaders to raise and spend unlimited sums of money. In June 2020, members of the organization’s leadership were informed in writing and in subsequent phone calls of at least 10 specific allegations of harassment against co-founder John Weaver, including two involving Lincoln Project employees, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Weaver, who is married with two kids, apologized for his behavior in a statement in late January.

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“To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry,” he wrote. “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”

Donors are considering abandoning the group, according to CNBC.

The Lincoln Project raised nearly $90 million during the 2020 campaign season — paying tens of millions to its co-founders or companies they run.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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