Ses­sions says he has ‘no rea­son to doubt’ Moore ac­cusers

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By Alan Fram and Kim­berly Chan­dler

WASH­ING­TON » At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions voiced no skep­ti­cism Tues­day of ac­counts by women ac­cus­ing Roy Moore of grop­ing or pur­su­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships with them when they were teens, and hinted the Jus­tice Depart­ment might look into al­le­ga­tions against the be­sieged Repub­li­can Alabama Senate can­di­date.

“I have no rea­son to doubt these young women,” Ses­sions told a House com­mit­tee. His words seemed cer­tain to carry heft in Alabama, where he was a long­time GOP sen­a­tor un­til be­com­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s at­tor­ney gen­eral this year and re­mains one of that state’s most in­flu­en­tial Repub­li­can voices.

An­swer­ing ques­tions be­fore the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, Ses­sions didn’t rule out a fed­eral probe into the charges.

“We will eval­u­ate ev­ery case as to whether or not it should be in­ves­ti­gated,” Ses­sions said.

His re­marks came as House Speaker Paul Ryan joined the grow­ing cho­rus of Wash­ing­ton Repub­li­cans call­ing on Moore to drop out of the race. Repub­li­cans fear dam­age from two po­ten­tial out­comes should he re­main a can­di­date: Moore wins and GOP sen­a­tors are tainted by as­so­ci­a­tion with a col­league ac­cused of mo­lest­ing teen-agers, or he loses the Dec. 12 elec­tion to a Demo­crat.

“These al­le­ga­tions are cred­i­ble,” Ryan, R-Wis., told re­porters on Tues­day. “If he cares about the values and peo­ple he claims to care about then he should step aside.”

Senate Repub­li­cans face lim­ited options in try­ing to force out the for­mer state Supreme Court judge and out­spo­ken Chris­tian con­ser­va­tive, whose name re­mains on the bal­lot for the spe­cial elec­tion against Demo­crat Doug Jones.

One op­tion they’ve con­sid­ered is back­ing a writein cam­paign with an­other Repub­li­can, per­haps Ses­sions or Sen. Luther Strange, who Moore de­feated in a GOP pri­mary in Septem­ber. Strange told re­porters Mon­day that a write-in can­di­dacy “is highly un­likely.”

Moore is show­ing no sign of quit­ting, deny­ing al­le­ga­tions by two women that he mo­lested them and send­ing out fundrais­ing emails em­pha­siz­ing his stance as a mav­er­ick bat­tling estab­lish­ment politi­cians.

RICHARD DREW - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bev­erly Young Nel­son, the lat­est ac­cuser of Alabama Repub­li­can Roy Moore, reads her state­ment at a news con­fer­ence, in New York, Mon­day. Nel­son says Moore as­saulted her when she was 16 and he of­fered her a ride home from a restau­rant where she worked. Moore says the lat­est al­le­ga­tions against him are a “witch hunt.”

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