GOP ramps up pressure on Roy Moore
WASHINGTON — Washington Republicans tightened pressure Tuesday on Alabama’s GOP to keep a defiant Roy Moore from being elected to the Senate next month, with many voicing hope that President DonaldTrump could use his clout to resolve a problem that Republicans say leaves them with no easy options.
With Alabama Republicans reluctant to block Mr. Moore and enrage his legions of loyal conservative supporters, national GOP leaders were turning to Mr. Trump as their best chance of somehow turning the tide. Two women by name have said Mr. Moore molested them in the 1970s when one was 14 and the other 16 and he was a local district attorney, and three others said he pursued romantic relationships with them around the same time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in all-out warfare with Mr. Moore, said there would be conversations about the anti-establishment firebrand after Mr. Trump returns Tuesday night from Asia. He said he’d already spoken about Mr. 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,” said Mr. McConnell, who Monday said he believed Mr. Moore’s accusers. “This close to election, it’s a complicated matter.”
Maintaining his political brand as an unrepentant outsider, Mr. Moore again denied abusing the women in an email that reminded voters of their loyalty to him: “He’s the same man you’ve always known him to be.” It added, “On to victory!” and said he would address the God Save America Conferencelater Tuesday in Jackson, Ala.
Twice removed from his post as state Supreme Court chief Justice, Mr. Moore’s candidacy in the Dec. 12 special election confronts Republicans with two damaging potential outcomes. A victory saddles GOP senators with a colleague accused of abusing and harassing teenagers, a troubling liability heading into next year’s congressional elections, while an upset victory by Democrat Doug Jones would slice the already narrow GOP Senate majority to an unwieldy 51-49.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress he has “no reason to doubt” the women. Mr. Sessions, a former Alabama senator and still one of the GOP’s most influential voices in the state, 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.”