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Thread: Trump faces wrenching call on Moore

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Trump faces wrenching call on Moore

    Trump faces wrenching call on Moore

    The president must decide whether to pressure the Alabama candidate to drop out — and possibly prod Jeff Sessions to take back his old seat.

    By ALEX ISENSTADT, ELIANA JOHNSON and JOSH DAWSEY
    11/14/2017 06:29 PM EST

    President Donald Trump is returning from Asia to a political maelstrom in the United States — one that could force him to decide whether to push out Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Hail Mary attempt to save the Alabama Senate seat Sessions once held.

    Trump spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from Asia last week, and the Senate leader made an urgent plea: Please help push Moore out of the contest. On Monday, as a new female accuser emerged, the Republican leader discussed the Alabama situation with White House chief of staff John Kelly and Vice President Mike Pence. The conversation centered on tax reform, but the Senate Republican leader also proposed a dramatic idea: that Sessions run as a write-in candidate or be appointed to the seat he held for two decades.

    White House officials plan to convene a meeting to talk through their options soon, and Trump is widely expected to address the predicament publicly when he returns from abroad. In order for the president to get involved, some aides to the president say, he would need an airtight plan that limits his political exposure to any fallout.

    It’s a vexing call for Trump. If he tries to pressure Moore out of the race, as some people close to the White House expect him to do, there’s no guarantee that the candidate will oblige. During the GOP nomination battle, Trump aggressively backed Moore’s opponent, appointed Sen. Luther Strange.

    Moore, a former state Supreme Court justice who once defied a federal order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a state judicial building, may feel that he owes the president little.

    Intervening in a race against the candidate backed by conservative activists could also be seen as at odds with Trump’s own insurgent campaign in 2016.

    Some of the president’s most loyal backers in the conservative state were angered by his decision to get behind the establishment-friendly Strange and desperately want him to stay out of the race.

    “The establishment did everything they could to destroy Trump, and we the people stood with him. It would be very disappointing to see Trump believe these lies and turn on a rock-solid conservative like Roy Moore,” said GOP state Rep. Ed Henry.

    McConnell and his political team have other ideas. One option being batted around by the leader’s allies is having the state Republican Party withdraw Moore’s nomination and then have Sessions, an outsize figure in Alabama politics who served as senator for two decades, run as a write-in.

    Speaking at a Wall Street Journal/CEO Council event in Washington on Tuesday, McConnell was explicit that Moore would likely face expulsion proceedings if he were to win. As for the write-in possibility, McConnell said any candidate would have to be “totally well-known and extremely popular.”

    “The Alabamian who would fit that standard would be the attorney general,” McConnell said, referring to Sessions.

    Several Republican senators have appealed to Sessions in the recent days, asking him to save them from the prospect of a Democrat taking over his old seat.

    Sessions, however, has expressed a desire to stay on as attorney general, according to several people familiar with his thinking. And one White House official expressed concern that, in the event Moore would not withdraw, a Sessions bid would serve only to split the Republican vote and hand a win to Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

    But Sessions could have little choice in the matter if Trump pressures him to return to the Senate.

    Some Sessions allies believe that swooping in to save his old Senate seat would give him the chance to make a graceful exit from his current role, where his relationship with the president has soured. He has stood by as Trump has publicly derided him for recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

    In recent days, Sessions has privately expressed dismay at how much of a mess the race for his old seat has become, said one person close to him.

    Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the attorney general said he trusted the accounts of Moore’s accusers.

    “I have no reason to doubt these young women,” he told the panel.

    Since the allegations surfaced on Thursday, the White House has been quietly examining its options. Counselor Kellyanne Conway has been in touch with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office to discuss possible paths forward. And political director Bill Stepien has spoken with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

    On Tuesday, the RNC withdrew its support from Moore.

    There’s frustration with McConnell in some corners of the White House. Three administration officials said the leader erred by publicly calling for Moore to drop out, saying all it did was give the beleaguered candidate more grist to portray himself as a victim of a Republican Party establishment trying to run him out of the race.

    McConnell openly acknowledged Tuesday the jam he and other Republicans are in. A Moore loss would shrink the party’s already slim Senate majority. But a write-in candidacy would be a long shot, and expelling Moore once he’s seated could trigger an uprising on the right.

    “I’d like to save the seat, and it’s a heck of dilemma,” he said. “It’s a very tough situation.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/...-senate-244906
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    McConnell openly acknowledged Tuesday the jam he and other Republicans are in. A Moore loss would shrink the party’s already slim Senate majority. But a write-in candidacy would be a long shot, and expelling Moore once he’s seated could trigger an uprising on the right.

    “I’d like to save the seat, and it’s a heck of dilemma,” he said. “It’s a very tough situation.”
    It's not a dilemma at all. We have laws that govern this situation, it's why we have them. The people of Alabama chose Roy Moore in the Republican Primary. That's over. Done. The people of Alabama will choose their Senator on December 12. The future of the US Senate is in the hands of the people of Alabama, not the President, not Mitch McConnell, not the RNC, not Washington Post, not Gloria Allred, not CNN.

    I trust the people of Alabama to do their jobs for our country and send a Republican to the US Senate on December 12.
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    MW
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    The president must decide whether to pressure the Alabama candidate to drop out — and possibly prod Jeff Sessions to take back his old seat.
    No, he doesn't have to make such a decision. All he has to do is leave the choice to the folks of Alabama. Honestly, I enjoy the fact that Trump has left the media hanging on this.

    Being invited to a dance doesn't mean you're obligated go, and if you do go, you certainly don't have to dance!
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    Trump blasts Franken, but stays silent on Moore

    By Betsy Klein, CNN
    Updated 4:39 PM ET, Fri November 17, 2017

    Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump, who has largely stayed mum on the allegations of sexual abuse against Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore, blasted Democratic Sen. Al Franken Thursday night after a woman said he groped and kissed her without her consent.

    By weighing in on Franken, Trump potentially invites another round of scrutiny over the past accusations of sexual assault that have been levied against him -- a risk that a source told CNN earlier this week was partially behind his decision to not comment on the Moore controversy.

    "The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?" Trump wrote of a photo in which Franken appears to grab a woman's breast while she was asleep during a 2006 USO tour. The Minnesota Democrat has apologized for his behavior and said he welcome an ethics probe into his conduct.


    He continued, "And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?"



    Can Al Franken survive?

    Trump was referring to a 1995 New York magazine article quoting Franken joking in the "Saturday Night Live" writers' room about drugging and raping journalist Lesley Stahl. The article became an issue for Franken during his 2008 Senate election, for which he apologized at the time, though he later walked back the regret in his 2017 memoir.

    The President has declined to weigh in forcefully, however, on the Moore revelations, which unfolded as he was abroad in Asia. When the allegations first surfaced, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on behalf of the President that Moore should drop out if the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him are true, but Trump, himself, has declined to comment further and ignored several shouted questions from reporters when asked whether Moore should drop out of the race.

    "The President said in his statement earlier this week that, if the allegations are true, then that Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that," Sanders told reporters on Thursday, noting, "This is a decision people of Alabama need to make, not the President."


    Sanders did say, however, that a Senate investigation into the allegations against Franken were an "appropriate action."



    Read Al Franken's apology following accusation of groping and kissing without consent

    Trump's relative silence on Moore is is in large part rooted in his own history of facing sexual misconduct allegations, a Republican close to the White House told CNN earlier this week.

    In conversations in the West Wing on Wednesday, Trump expressed apprehension about being dragged into the topic of sexual assault or harassment if he weighs in.


    "He's worried about the conversation moving to his past accusers," the Republican familiar with the matter said, noting that the President believes his accusers were unfair and some of Moore's may be, too.


    White House adviser Kellyanne Conway offered a different explanation for Trump's silence on Moore, telling Fox News on Friday that, while the story was old news by the time he returned from Asia, the Franken controversy was "brand new."



    There's a massive moral vacuum in the country right now

    "Well, Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday and the President weighed in as he does on the news of the day often enough.

    The Roy Moore story is eight days old and the President put out a statement on his Asia trip on that," Conway said.


    She added, "And since then, our press secretary has spoken on behalf of the president by saying that he believes the people of Alabama will sort out what to do with Roy Moore and with that election."


    But Moore's controversy has been a frequent news story since Trump returned, and two new Moore accusers came forward as recently as Wednesday.


    More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, and his comments captured in the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape during the campaign threatened to derail his presidential bid.

    Trump has denied the assault allegations and accused the women of lying.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/17/politi...ore/index.html

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