Ryan joins GOP cho­rus, urges Moore to step aside

But Moore has stood de­fi­ant against their calls. Moore tweeted Tues­day, “Alabami­ans will not be fooled by this #In­sid­eHitJob. Mitch McCon­nell’s days as Ma­jor­ity Leader are com­ing to an end very soon. The fight has just be­gun.”

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Sean Sul­li­van, Mike DeBo­nis, Jenna John­son and Robert Costa of The Wash­ing­ton Post and by Alan Fram, Kim­berly Chan­dler, Steve Peo­ples, Andrew Tay­lor, Matthew Daly and Juli

WASH­ING­TON — House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urged Roy Moore to end his Se­nate cam­paign Tues­day, join­ing a wave of GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers call­ing on the Alabama Repub­li­can to with­draw over al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

“He should step aside,” Ryan told re­porters in the Capi­tol. “Num­ber one, these al­le­ga­tions are cred­i­ble. Num­ber two, if he cares about the val­ues and peo­ple he claims to care about, then he should step aside.”

Ryan’s com­ments came a day af­ter Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., and other lead­ing Repub­li­can sen­a­tors called on Moore to bow out. Na­tional Repub­li­can Se­na­to­rial Com­mit­tee Chair­man Cory Gard­ner, R-Colo., said the Se­nate “should vote to ex­pel” Moore if he re­fuses to step aside and is elected in next month’s special elec­tion.

But Moore has stood de­fi­ant against their calls. Moore tweeted Tues­day, “Alabami­ans will not be fooled by this #In­sid­eHitJob. Mitch McCon­nell’s days as Ma­jor­ity Leader are com­ing to an end very soon. The fight has just be­gun.”

At the God Save Amer­ica Con­fer­ence later Tues­day in Jack­son, Ala., Moore said there is a “spir­i­tual bat­tle” oc­cur­ring in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

“Why do you think they’re giv­ing me this trouble?” he asked the Bap­tist church au­di­ence. “Why do you think I’m be­ing ha­rassed in the me­dia and peo­ple [are] push­ing for an al­le­ga­tion in the last 28 days of the elec­tion?”

McCon­nell said Tues­day that there would be con­ver­sa­tions about the anti-es­tab­lish­ment Moore af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re­turn Tues­day night from Asia. He said he’d al­ready spo­ken about Moore to the pres­i­dent, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

“He’s ob­vi­ously not fit to be in the United States Se­nate, and we’ve looked at all the op­tions to try to pre­vent that from hap­pen­ing,” McCon­nell said.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, mean­while, told Congress that he has “no rea­son to doubt” the women. Ses­sions, a for­mer Alabama sen­a­tor, didn’t rule out a Jus­tice Depart­ment probe of the al­le­ga­tions, telling the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, “We will eval­u­ate ev­ery case as to whether or not it should be in­ves­ti­gated.”

It’s al­ready too late to re­move Moore’s name from the bal­lot. That leaves the state party with lim­ited op­tions as to how to keep him from serv­ing as sen­a­tor.

On Mon­day, an­other woman came for­ward to ac­cuse Moore. Bev­erly Young Nel­son, who turned 56 on Tues­day, ac­cused Moore, now 70, of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her and bruis­ing her neck in the late 1970s when she was 16 years old.

Nel­son said at a news con­fer­ence in New York that Moore, then the district at­tor­ney of Etowah County, was a reg­u­lar at a res­tau­rant where she was a wait­ress, and that he would some­times com­pli­ment her looks or touch her hair. She showed a copy of her high school year­book that she said Moore signed on Dec. 22, 1977, with the in­scrip­tion: “To a sweeter more beau­ti­ful girl I could not say ‘Merry Christ­mas.’”

About a week or two af­ter that, Nel­son al­leged, Moore of­fered to give her a ride home from work af­ter her shift ended at 10 p.m. In­stead of tak­ing her home, Nel­son said, Moore pulled the two-door car into a dark and de­serted area be­tween a dump­ster and the back of the res­tau­rant.

When she asked what he was do­ing, Nel­son al­leged, Moore put his hands on her breasts and be­gan grop­ing her. When she tried to open the car door and leave, Nel­son said, he reached over and locked the door. When she yelled at him to stop and tried to fight him off, she said, he tightly squeezed the back of her neck and tried to force her head to­ward his lap. He also tried to pull her shirt off, she said.

Moore de­nied this lat­est ac­cu­sa­tion dur­ing a brief cam­paign ap­pear­ance Mon­day evening in Etowah County, where he still lives.

The al­le­ga­tion fol­lowed an ex­ten­sive re­port pub­lished Thurs­day by The Wash­ing­ton Post in which Leigh Corf­man al­leged that Moore ini­ti­ated a sex­ual en­counter with her when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old as­sis­tant district at­tor­ney. Moore has de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion.

In ad­di­tion to Corf­man, three other women in­ter­viewed by the Post in re­cent weeks said Moore pur­sued them when they were be­tween the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they said they found flat­ter­ing at the time but trou­bling as they got older. None of the three women said Moore forced them into any sort of re­la­tion­ship or sex­ual con­tact.

Moore has de­clined to rule out that he may have dated girls in their late teens when he was in his 30s, but he has said he did not re­mem­ber any en­coun­ters.

Sep­a­rately Tues­day, Ryan said the House will re­quire anti-ha­rass­ment and anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion train­ing for all mem­bers and their staffs. His an­nounce­ment came hours af­ter a hear­ing in which two fe­male law­mak­ers spoke about in­ci­dents of sex­ual mis­con­duct in­volv­ing sit­ting mem­bers of Congress.

The pol­icy change will hap­pen through leg­is­la­tion.

Dur­ing a House Ad­min­is­tra­tion hear­ing Tues­day on sex­ual ha­rass­ment pre­ven­tion, Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock, R-Va., said she was re­cently told about a staff mem­ber who quit her job af­ter a law­maker asked her to take work ma­te­rial to his house, then ex­posed him­self.

Com­stock said there should be clear-cut rules about the kinds of re­la­tion­ships and be­hav­iors that are off-lim­its and cre­ate a hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment.

At the same hear­ing, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said there are two cur­rent law­mak­ers who have been in­volved in sex­ual ha­rass­ment. She did not name the law­mak­ers, cit­ing nondis­clo­sure agree­ments she wants to elim­i­nate.

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