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According to Republican officials, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post by the end of July after losing Virginia primary election Tuesday night in a major upset.

Eric Cantor, who became the first House Majority Leader to ever lose a re-election, plans to step down from his leadership position by the end of July, according to the Washington Post.

The Post, citing “three Republicans familiar with his plans,” said that Eric Cantor will officially announce his plans later Wednesday at a meeting with colleagues.

On the morning after his loss to David Brat, an economics professor supported by the tea party, there had been quiet pressure on Eric Cantor to step down from his post as the Republicans’ second-ranking leader.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post by the end of July after losing Virginia primary election

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post by the end of July after losing Virginia primary election

Others did not wait for him to make his intentions known.

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California was informing fellow Republicans he intended to run to succeed Eric Cantor, officials said, and Representative Pete Sessions of Texas also signaled an interest.

Representative Steve Scalise was hoping to replace Kevin McCarthy in his current spot, officials said.

Eric Cantor’s defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.

The outcome may well mark the end of Eric Cantor’s political career, although at 51 he has plenty of time to attempt a future comeback.

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Eric Cantor has lost a Virginia Republican Party primary election to David Brat, a challenger from the hard-right Tea Party movement.

Little-known economics professor David Brat defeated the second-ranking House of Representatives member 56%-44%.

David Brat’s shock victory exposed conservative dissatisfaction with Eric Cantor, who was first elected in 2000.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had been widely favored to win, having raising significantly more money than David Brat.

Eric Cantor has lost a Virginia Republican Party primary election to David Brat

Eric Cantor has lost a Virginia Republican Party primary election to David Brat (photo Reuters)

David Brat attacked Eric Cantor’s record, including his support for some immigration reforms, and rallied enthusiastic members of the anti-tax, conservative populist Tea Party movement in the low-turnout race.

In a forewarning of trouble, last month Eric Cantor was booed at a meeting of Republican activists after a local party chairman whom he supported was removed in favor of a Tea Party candidate.

A lawyer, Eric Cantor, 51, was first elected to Congress in 2000 after serving nine years in the Virginia House of Delegates.

After the Tea Party emerged in 2009, he forged ties with the loose-knit movement, drawing on its support to help the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives the following year.

Eric Cantor was seen as representing a more conservative counterweight to House Speaker John Boehner, seen by some in the Tea Party as too conciliatory to Democratic President Barack Obama.

He was even viewed by some as possible successor to John Boehner.

David Brat will now face Democratic nominee Jack Trammell – also a professor at Randolph-Macon College – in this fall’s general election.

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Former CIA Director David Petraeus believed he could keep his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell secret even after he was interviewed by the FBI, it emerged today.

After meeting David Petraeus on October 21 and also conducting two interviews with Paula Broadwell, the second on November 2nd, the FBI had concluded that no criminal charges would be brought.

But the FBI appears to have decided to inform the White House after a Florida-based agent informed a Republican member of Congress of the investigation.

This was the same agent who had triggered the inquiry when his friend, the socialite Jill Kelley, complained to him about anonymous harassing emails.

The fallout now threatens to engulf General John Allen of the US Marines, the NATO commander in Afghanistan. He is said to have exchanged between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of emails with Kelley since 2010.

To complicate matters further, the FBI agent had allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to Jill Kelley before she reported the harassing emails to him and had been told not to interfere in the investigation.

The agent, depicted by government officials as a Right-winger, contacted Representative Dave Reichert and asked for a member of the House Republican leadership. On October 31st, Dave Reichert put him in contact with Representative Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip.

CIA Director David Petraeus believed he could keep his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell secret even after he was interviewed by the FBI

CIA Director David Petraeus believed he could keep his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell secret even after he was interviewed by the FBI

Eric Cantor informed the FBI of his conversation with the FBI agent, now himself under internal investigation, but did not make the matter public. Eric Cantor apparently knew of the FBI investigation into David Petraeus’ affair eight days before President Barack Obama.

The allegedly harassing emails were discovered to have been sent by Paula Broadwell. It is believed that John Allen received at least one email from the same email account used by Paula Broadwell to contact Jill Kelley.

John Allen is now under investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general and his Senate confirmation hearings for the new post of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, originally due on Thursday, have been put on hold.

A senior defence official told reporters that it was alleged there had been “inappropriate communications” between John Allen and Jill Kelley, Leon Panetta, Defence Secretary, said in a statement.

If John Allen follows David Petraeus into retirement it will leave Barack Obama with two gaping holes to fill at the heart of his national security team at a time when he is also expected to be replacing his secretaries of state, defence and treasury.

It is unclear exactly when FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney-General Eric Holder were informed although it has emerged that the investigation began as early as May.

 The White House faces growing demands from Capitol Hill for answers about what the FBI and President Barack Obama knew about the David Petraeus scandal and why the president was not informed about the months-long investigation until after his re-election.

The fact that David Petraeus, who was scheduled to give testimony on Thursday about CIA intelligence surrounding the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Libya, but now that appearance has been delayed because of his resignation on Friday.

As more information is released, it is clear that Representative Eric Cantor- one of the country’s most powerful Republicans- was notified of the investigation involving David Petraeus on October 27, more than a week before the election.

Federal investigators from the FBI and the Justice Department- including Barack Obama-appointee Attorney General Eric Holder- had been aware of the ensuing scandal for months

In addition to their displeasure at being left in the dark until just hours before David Petraeus made his very public announcement on Friday, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are concerned that the timeline of the various notifications was purposefully slowed down to allow for some degree of a cover-up over Petraeus’ scheduled testimony.

The timing of the Petraeus resignation and this week’s Benghazi hearings means the two issues have, for now, become inextricably linked.

As CIA director, David Petraeus is understood to have interviewed the CIA base chief and head of the CIA response team about what happened in Benghazi when Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed.

At the same time, Congress wants to know why, if senior FBI figures knew of the affair in the late summer, President Barack Obama was not informed until last week and, additionally, why leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees learned of the resignation from the media.

According to the White House, Barack Obama was not told of the FBI investigation and David Petraeus’ affair until last Thursday, even though he meets regularly with the head of the FBI.

Some Republicans have suggested there might be a cover-up over Benghazi or that the news was held back until after the election.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, have expressed their dismay at not having been informed earlier.

General Michael Hayden, former CIA chief, said the timing of the resignation was “mysterious”.

He told Fox News: “Hanging out there is the requirement in law to keep the intelligence committees fully and currently informed about significant intelligence activity.

“It’s not surprising that Senator Feinstein and Chairman Rogers have shown a lot of pique at not being let in on this a bit earlier.”

According to the FBI, their investigation began in the spring when Jill Kelley, described as an unofficial “social liaison” to the Joint Special Operations Command in Tampa, told a friend in the FBI that she had received harassing emails from another woman.

Jill Kelley, who is Lebanese-born, and her husband Scott were friend of David Petraeus, 60, and his wife Holly. The FBI investigation established that Paul Broadwell, 40, a married mother of two, had sent the emails.

In monitoring Paula Broadwell’s emails, it was discovered that she was receiving emails of a sexual nature from a mysterious Gmail account.

It was eventually discovered that the mysterious emails were from David Petraeus, who admitted the affair.

CIA Director David Petraeus resigned on Friday November 9 citing an extramarital affair

CIA Director David Petraeus resigned on Friday November 9 citing an extramarital affair

On October 31st, however, and before anyone else on Capitol Hill or in the White House knew, the FBI friend of Jill Kelley contacted Representative Dave Reichert regarding concerns about national security and asking for a member of the Republican congressional leadership.

Dave Reichert directed the FBI man to Representative Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip, who spoke to him and then informed the FBI of the conversation.

Ronald Kessler, a Newsmax journalist, said he was informed of the affair and FBI investigation by an FBI source on October 10th. David Petraeus and Paul Broadwell were interviewed during the week of October 29th and both admitted their affair.

Paula Broadwell was interviewed again on November 2nd, at which time the FBI is said to have concluded that no charges would be brought either for cyber stalking or security breaches.

David Petraeus has told friends he did not have an affair with Jill Kelley, 37, a mother of three. In a statement issued on Sunday, Jill Kelley asked for privacy for her and her family and neither confirmed nor denied an affair.

Speaking on CBS, Senator Lindsey Graham, a personal and confidant of David Petraeus, said: “Well, if there`s no effect of the affair on national security, I think we need to move on. But at the end of the day, the one thing that has to happen, in my view, is we’ve got to get to the bottom of Benghazi.

“I hate what happened to General Petraeus for his family and the families for those involved, but we have four dead Americans in Benghazi. We have a national security failure long in the making.

“I don`t see how in the world you can find out what happened in Benghazi before, during, and after the attack if General Petraeus doesn`t testify, so from my point of view, it`s absolutely essential that he give testimony before the Congress so we can figure out Benghazi.”

He added: “I would suggest that we have a joint select committee of House and Senate members and we do this together, not have three different committee going off in three different directions, so we can get to the bottom of it like we did in Watergate and Iran Contra. I think that would be smart for the Congress to combine resources.”

Just as with Watergate, the central issue over events surrounding David Petraeus’ resignation is crystallizing into something similar to the one Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee famously asked during the Watergate hearings: “What did the President know and when did he know it.”

Neither Robert Mueller, FBI director, not Eric Holder, attorney general, has commented on when they learned of the investigation. Both the FBI and Justice Department has said no one in the White House was told of the investigation until last week.

Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor, compared what happened in Benghazi to Watergate and told Fox News it was essential David Petraeus testified. Even though he is now a private citizen, David Petraeus can be compelled to appear.

“The frustration is justified,” Rudy Giuliani said.

“And it’s in the national interest. Now we’re going to have a hearing next week, and the man who knows the facts, David Petraeus – he’s the only man who can really tell us what the CIA knew, what they did, why they did it, how they did it. He’s not going to testify.

“And this is a very convenient way to get the administration out of a very, very difficult situation. But is inevitable. This is like Watergate. This is inevitable. This is all going to come out.

“It may take a month, it may take five months, but this is all going to come out. And every single new cover-up they do just makes it much, much worse.”

Representative Peter King of New York, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on MSNBC that the FBI was “derelict in its duty” when it failed to tell the White House immediately when it learned of David Petraeus’s affair.

“Once the FBI realized that it was investigating the director of the CIA or the CIA director had come within its focus or its scope, I believe at that time they had an absolute obligation to tell the president. Not to protect David Petraeus, but to protect the president.

“The fact is he is a key part of the president’s foreign policy team, maybe more than any other CIA director in recent times.

“He was going around the world negotiating various understandings and agreements, I’m aware of that.

“And to have someone out there in such a sensitive position who the FBI thought perhaps could have been compromised or was under the scope of an FBI investigation who may or may not have been having an affair at the time, that to me had to have been brought to the president or certainly to the National Security Council. If not, the FBI was derelict in its duty.”

He added: “This is a crisis, I believe, of major proportions. This is not the usual political thing. We’re not talking about the secretary of commerce or some under secretary somewhere.”