♪ but i get so tired of calling this a disease ♪ ♪ because i'm just fine ♪ sometimes i need ♪ to clear my mind ♪ this is "nightline." tonight, fall from grace. katie hill, a rising star on capitol hill. >> this is the last speech that i will give from this floor as a member of congress. >> until leaked exhibit mintima torpedo the once-promising career. now she's taking on cyber exploitation. >> it's like a private piece of you, you could never get back. >> how much of it is tied to the fact in your mind that you're bisexual? plus, running mate, the historic presidential candidate and his husband. >> he made me feel so loved. >> a potential first gentleman
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good evening. thank you for joining us. just last october, katie hill's once promising political career came crashing down after a leaked scandal. she'll explain why she's taking on the testimorm revenge porn. >> i had what was once my life. now none of it exists. it is pretty much unfathomable how much can change in a year. >> reporter: katie hill knows what a fall from grace can feel like. she was part of a democratic wave of women elected in the midterms. that boosted hill's rising status. but within a year it all came crashing down. >> the california congresswoman under fire. >> katie hill is finding herself in the center of a scandal. >> reporter: intimate photos of her and another woman, a former campaign staffer published online. >> hill said she was devastated. >> facing an ethics
investigation. >> call it >> calls it a divorce from an abusive husband. >> reporter: the 32-year-old lawmaker decided to resign. >> this is the last speech that i will give from this floor as a member of congress. >> reporter: but refused to go quietly. >> i'm leaving because of a misogynistic culture. >> reporter: your story exploded, but how much of it is tied to the fact that you're bisexual? >> i think a lot of it is. part of it is because i'm a woman. we haven't seen a lot of sex scandals with women. the headlines are much better than oh, congresswoman has affair with former campaign staffer, right? so it's, ours was, our headlines were much more scandalous. >> reporter: the relationship included hill, her husband kenny haslip and a staffer. her husband she says leaked the photos in the midst of a nasty
divorce. you said you're still grappling with the reality of what happened to you. are you coming to terms with it? >> i don't know that there is a coming to terms with it. it's horrifying. especially when you're talking about nudes that were published without your permission. it's like a private piece of you that you can't ever get back. >> reporter: you said you didn't even know these pictures had been taken? >> right. i don't think we should ever blame women or men for sharing nudes. i think that's part of the fabric of society now, and it's not changing. and i don't think anyone should be shamed for that. >> reporter: hill said everything that happened was consensual but admits she was conflicted. was the biggest mistake having a relationship with a campaign staffer? >> exactly. it never felt like an employee-employer relationship. i saw them as peers, and that's probably the biggest mistake
that i made. i needed to see them in the way every other employee who worked with me. i knew the risks, and i knew that i, that i guess i shouldn't be doing it, right? >> reporter: it sounds like you don't think you crossed an ethical line there. >> at the time it certainly did not feel that way. but i also was very aware of thousand could how it could be perceived. >> reporter: is it fair to say you were trapped in a relationship with your husband? >> yes. >> reporter: what happened? >> first of all, i met him when i was 16 years old. i had dealt with sexual assault prior to that. it was sort of a setup, not intentionally, but it was a setup for something that could become toxic, and over time it certainly did. >> reporter: she tried to leave her husband multiple times, including before the 2018 election. >> felt bad enough that i was like, i can't do this for the rest of the campaign.
for the rest of my life. that's when i left the house, and i packed up my things and kind of snuck out. >> reporter: and hill says when her husband found out, he exploded. >> he said if you don't come back i'll ruin you. so i always had that kind of hanging over my head, and i knew what he meant. >> reporter: the couple kept up a happy face in public. haslip was there when she was sworn in, but that changed during the divorce. >> reporter: and you truly believe he made good or tried to make good on that promise? >> oh, absolutely. the more we learn the more convinced i am of that. there's a criminal investigation and a civil case that we're pursuing. >> reporter: haslip's lawyers sent a statement, saying ms. hill made no allegations of abuse in her petition for dissolution. the parties are currently in the process of negotiating aimicable
relationship. it was the allegation that she was involved in a new relationship that triggered a house investigation. you were accused not only of a relationship with a campaign staffer but with someone on your congressional staff, which obviously would cross all kinds of ethical lines. >> mm-hm. that accusation came from my ex-husband. >> reporter: it's not true? >> no, especially the person he was accusing me was the first hire. we were friends. >> reporter: hill said she felt like a distraction to colleagues and the upcoming impeachment inquiry and the threat of more leaks. >> we knew from the people who had obtained the photos that there were hundreds more images and text messages out there. i did not want to be a liability to my colleagues. >> reporter: and how much do you regret the decision to actually resign? any part of you think you should have stayed and fought?
>> no, i strongly feel i maid t made the right call. >> i'm leaving because i no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. >> it's shameful that she's beee exposed to public humiliation by a cyber exploitation. >> reporter: hill returned to california but stayed in the spotlight. she started a political group supporting women candidates and wrote an op ed about her experience. >> when you're talking about a woman being a victim of something like the photos or cyber exploitation or revenge porn or whatever you want to call it. >> reporter: what do you want to call it? >> there's a term problem with the term revenge porn, that the woman maybe did something wrong in the first place, and pornography could imply it was consensual, and it's not. cyber exploitation is probably the best. >> reporter: the last few months
have been rough on hill. her mother had to have brain surgery. and in january her younger brother died. you wrote it was very close to suicide. >> yeah, it's a lot. >> reporter: what stopped you from taking that final, fatal step? >> it was my family, and i knew of all the girls and young women who looked up to me who saw this happen to me, whose parents probably had to explain it to them, the ultimate outcome was that this destroyed me and i committed suicide, then what does that tell them? that couldn't be my final story. >> reporter: you're only 32 years old, creating a brand-new life? >> yeah. >> reporter: can you imagine running again? >> certainly not anytime soon, but i'm not going to say never. >> reporter: you mentioned the young girls who you met on the campaign trail were inspired by your campaign. what do you want them to take away from this story? >> first of all, people do make mistakes, and that you shouldn't
let that define who you are. that we deserve the opportunity to improve ourselves. i also hope that they can take away a sense of resiliency, that you can get through trauma, and even when you've been beaten down you can stand back up. >> our thanks to george. up next, for pete's mate, historic presidential campaign couple. ♪ oh, oh, oh, ozempic®! ♪ (announcer) once-weekly ozempic® is helping many people with type 2 diabetes like james lower their blood sugar. a majority of adults who took ozempic® reached an a1c under 7 and maintained it. here's your a1c. oh! my a1c is under 7! (announcer) and you may lose weight. adults who took ozempic® lost on average up to 12 pounds. i lost almost 12 pounds! oh! (announcer) ozempic® does not increase the risk of major cardiovascular events like heart attack, stroke, or death.
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pete buttigieg is the first openly-gay man to run a major presidential campaign. the significance of the pit falls of that not lost on his husband. linsey davis when the historic candidate's mate. >> he still is such a wonderful husband. >> reporter: there's nothing unusual about the real-life candidate's mate gushing about their spouse. >> he made me feel so loved. >> reporter: but chastin is groundbreaking. >> what a privilege to be able to share this experience with him and go out there and show up for people who need him the most. >> reporter: the success of his husband, the first openly-gay man to launch a major presidential campaign in u.s. history is itself historic. when mayor pete declared victory in the iowa caucus.
>> we are going on to new hampshire victorious! >> reporter: and finished a close second in new hampshire. >> we are here to stay. >> reporter: there was chastin right by his side, beaming. >> the love of my life who keeps me grounded. how about a hand for the future first gentleman of the united states. >> reporter: chastin met pete buttigieg on hinged. >> i won't lie. it was a picture of him in the military. and i fell hard and fast for pete. >> reporter: three years later they got married. chastin taking his husband's last name. >> this is going to sound funny, but i really like buttigieg. >> reporter: they were married for less than a year before peter. >> i'm a proud son of south bend, indiana, and i am running for president of the united states. >> reporter: decided to run for president. essentially, you're still newlyweds. >> yeah.
there's no denying it's hard. but it is a sacrifice worth making, because i have seen peter go out there and change people's lives. i'm very proud to share him with the rest of the country. >> reporter: now at just 30 years old, chastin has become a powerful force on the campaign trail, amassing hundreds of thousands of followers on twitter and instagram, using both platforms to support his husband. you've become somewhat of a secret weapon of the campaign. i've heard at fund raisers you are responsible for about a third of the money that comes in. >> if you're looking for a presidential fund raising powerhouse, you know, people probably don't look for a middle school drama teacher, but i think i can connect with people. i know what it's like to feel like this country doesn't stand for you. >> reporter: pete buttigieg is campaigning on a mission. but many are questioning whether the country is ready for a gay president. 21% of americans said they would
not vote for a gay president. does that number surprise you, either being high or low? >> no, but, again, i focus on the work. i focus on going out there and showing people who i am. and i think we have an opportunity right now to beckon americans to a higher calling, and to welcome people onto the right side of history. >> reporter: conservative radio show host rush limbaugh recently weighed in on the matter. >> they've got to be saying that despite all the great progress and despite all the great work and ground that's been covered, america is still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president. >> reporter: at a cnn town hall in nevada this week, buttigieg hit back. >> one thing about my marriage, it's never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse. >> reporter: we've heard from pete and his response on that. >> true. >> reporter: what's your response to that? >> i've been dealing with that
my whole life. i dealt with a multitude of rush limbaughs when i was walking through the hallways at my school. pete can take on the likes of rush limbaugh, but i'm more worried about the kids, the people who are watching how candidacy is treated and how people are treated by rush limbaugh. >> reporter: it was not always easy. he grew up in rural michigan where he says he always felt different. >> i grew up in a socially conservative place. i went to a school where if you weren't on the football team or one of the jocks that, you know, you were picked on and bullied and belittled. >> reporter: being gay made thing even harder. at one point you were homeless? >> you know, when i came out i was certain i'd lose everything. i was so certain rather than stick around and find out if it was going to be okay i ran away from it. and sometimes i slept on my
friends' couch and floors, and sometimes i felt like i was a burden even on my friends, so i would sleep in the back of my car. but i have a happy ending. i got to go home. i got to go home to two loving parents who were terrified for me. because they loved me but knew it was going to be hard. and i'm i have, very lucky. not every kid has that story. 40% of homeless youth in this country are lgbtq. >> reporter: it was his own experience that shaped his work as an advocate for lgbtq youth. >> the last year alone i've visited about 100 lgbtq service providers, meeting kids, sharing my story and listening to theirs. >> reporter: he says this election is not about policy. for him it's personal, from homelessness to the me two movement too movement he says he can relate.
he says he was sexually assaulted when he was 18. >> i don't know what it is about society that made me feel i had done something wrong and felt such shame and guilt for somebody taking advantage of me. and i'm so grateful for everyone who has spoken up, because it made me feel less alone, too. >> reporter: while they live in south bend with their two rescue dogs, the campaign often keeps them apart. >> unfortunately, we're not going to our home as much. so we're just passing each other in the sky. >> reporter: but chastin says his husband never lets him forget how loved he is. >> he is really good at that. he is good at taking the time to write out a little poem or a little letter. >> reporter: even before the final votes are tallied, in many respects, chastin feels they're already victorious. >> i obviously want pete to be president. but if for some reason it does
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i thougin that moment. illiant we have not said one word tonight about race. not one word. are you kidding me? the heart and soul of this party is diversity. when a kid succeeds in columbia, south carolina - in las vegas, nevada - that is a triumph for every american. people don't know tom steyer. i've known tom steyer for fifteen years. his commitment on racial justice and social justice is rock solid. i'm tom steyer and i approve this message.
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creates thousands of good paying green jobs in california. and provides a 10% tax cut for everyone making under $250,000. tom's plan also makes health care a right, by adding a public option to obamacare. protects union negotiated plans. and ensures californians can make their own health care choices. i'm tom steyer and i approve this message. a former army medic, made of the we maflexibility to handle members like kate.