New sex as­sault al­le­ga­tion hits Moore; he calls it false

Yuma Sun - - OPINION -

WASH­ING­TON — At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions is leav­ing open the pos­si­bil­ity that a special coun­sel could be ap­pointed to look into Clin­ton Foun­da­tion deal­ings and an Obama-era ura­nium deal, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said Mon­day in re­spond­ing to con­cerns from Repub­li­can law­mak­ers.

In a let­ter to the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, which is hold­ing an over­sight hear­ing Tues­day, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said Ses­sions had di­rected se­nior fed­eral prose­cu­tors to “eval­u­ate cer­tain is­sues” raised by Repub­li­can law­mak­ers. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has also re­peat­edly called for in­ves­ti­ga­tions of Democrats.

The prose­cu­tors will re­port to Ses­sions and Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein and rec­om­mend whether any new in­ves­ti­ga­tions should be opened, whether any mat­ters cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­quire ad­di­tional re­sources and whether it might be nec­es­sary to ap­point a special coun­sel to over­see a probe, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter sent to Rep. Robert Good­latte of Vir­ginia, the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee’s Repub­li­can chair­man.

The let­ter from As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Stephen Boyd did not say what spe­cific steps might be taken by the Jus­tice Depart­ment to ad­dress the law­mak­ers’ con­cerns, or whether any of the mat­ters Repub­li­cans have seized on might al­ready be un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by fed­eral au­thor­ity.

Any ap­point­ment of a new special coun­sel, par­tic­u­larly in re­sponse to calls from mem­bers of Congress or from Trump him­self, is likely to lead to Demo­cratic com­plaints about an un­due po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence on a depart­ment that is sup­posed to func­tion out­side of any par­ti­san sway or de­mand.

Quake kills 430 in Ira­nian bor­der re­gion re­built af­ter war

TEHRAN, Iran — Res­cuers dug with their bare hands Mon­day through the de­bris of build­ings felled by an earth­quake that killed more than 430 peo­ple in the bor­der re­gion of Iran and Iraq, with nearly all the ca­su­al­ties oc­cur­ring in an area re­built af­ter their ru­inous 1980s war.

The mag­ni­tude-7.3 earth­quake struck Sun­day at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as peo­ple were go­ing to bed. The worst dam­age ap­peared to be in the Kur­dish town of Sar­pol-e-Za­hab in the western Ira­nian prov­ince of Ker­man­shah, which sits in the Za­gros Moun­tains that di­vide the two coun­tries.

Bundy son re­leased to halfway house dur­ing Las Ve­gas trial

LAS VE­GAS — Ne­vada rancher Cliven Bundy’s el­dest son has been or­dered re­leased to a halfway house dur­ing trial stem­ming from a 2014 armed standoff against gov­ern­ment agents in a pub­lic lands cat­tle graz­ing dis­pute.

U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice spokes­woman Tr­isha Young said Mon­day that Chief U.S. District Judge Glo­ria Navarro granted Ryan Bundy’s re­lease ahead of Tues­day’s open­ing for what is ex­pected to be a four-month pro­ceed­ing.

Cliven Bundy, son Am­mon Bundy and co-de­fen­dant Ryan Payne also sought re­lease, but re­main in cus­tody.

Ryan Bundy is serv­ing as his own lawyer. He ar­gued he was ham­pered pre­par­ing his case while was in jail.

The four men are ac­cused of en­list­ing a self-styled mili­tia to defy gov­ern­ment au­thor­ity, but de­fense at­tor­neys say no shots were fired, no one was hurt and there was no con­spir­acy.

WASH­ING­TON — A sec­ond woman emerged Mon­day to ac­cuse Roy Moore of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her as a teenager in the late 1970s, this time in a locked car, fur­ther roil­ing the Alabama Repub­li­can’s can­di­dacy for an open Se­nate seat. Moore strongly de­nied it, even as his own party’s lead­ers in­ten­si­fied their ef­forts to push him out of the race.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell took a re­mark­ably per­sonal swipe at his party’s can­di­date for a Se­nate seat the GOP can­not af­ford to lose. “I be­lieve the women,” he said, mark­ing an in­ten­si­fied ef­fort by lead­ers to ditch Moore be­fore a Dec. 12 special elec­tion that has swung from an as­sured GOP vic­tory to one that Democrats could con­ceiv­ably swipe.

Moore abruptly called a news con­fer­ence in Gal­lant, Alabama, af­ter a tear­ful Bev­erly Young Nel­son’s de­tailed the new al­le­ga­tions to re­porters in New York.

“I can tell you with­out hes­i­ta­tion this is ab­so­lutely false. I never did what she said I did. I don’t even know the woman,” Moore said.

He sig­naled he has no in­ten­tion of end­ing his can­di­dacy, call­ing the lat­est charges a “po­lit­i­cal ma­neu­ver” and launch­ing a fundrais­ing ap­peal to “God­fear­ing con­ser­va­tives” to counter his aban­don­ment by Wash­ing­ton Repub­li­cans.

In the lat­est day of jar­ring events, McCon­nell, R-Ky., and Moore es­sen­tially de­clared open war on each other. McCon­nell said the for­mer judge should quit the race over a se­ries of re­cent al­le­ga­tions of past im­proper re­la­tion­ships with teenage girls. No, said Moore, the Ken­tucky sen­a­tor is the one who should get out.

Cory Gard­ner of Colorado, who heads the Se­nate GOP’s cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tion, said not only should Moore step aside but if he should win “the Se­nate should vote to ex­pel him be­cause he does not meet the eth­i­cal and moral re­quire­ments of the United States Se­nate.”

Moore, an out­spo­ken Chris­tian con­ser­va­tive and for­mer state Supreme Court judge, fired back at McCon­nell on Twit­ter.

“The per­son who should step aside is @Se­nateMa­jLdr Mitch McCon­nell. He has failed con­ser­va­tives and must be re­placed. #DrainTheSwamp,” Moore wrote.

Nel­son’s news con­fer­ence came af­ter that ex­change and in­jected a new, sen­sa­tional ac­cu­sa­tion in the story.

She said Moore was a reg­u­lar cus­tomer at the res­tau­rant where she worked af­ter school in Gads­den, Alabama.

One night when she was 16, Moore of­fered to drive her home, she said, but in­stead parked be­hind the res­tau­rant and touched her breasts and locked the door to keep her inside. She said he squeezed her neck while try­ing to push her head to­ward his crotch and tried to pull her shirt off.

“I thought that he was go­ing to rape me,” she said.

Moore fi­nally stopped and as she got out of the car, he warned that no one would be­lieve her be­cause he was a county pros­e­cu­tor, Nel­son said. She said her neck was “black and blue and pur­ple” the next morn­ing and she im­me­di­ately quit her job.

Nel­son said that shortly be­fore that, days be­fore Christ­mas, she’d brought her high school year­book to the res­tau­rant and Moore signed it. A copy of her state­ment dis­trib­uted at the news con­fer­ence in­cluded a pic­ture of what she said was his sig­na­ture and a mes­sage say­ing, “To a sweeter more beau­ti­ful girl I could not say, ‘Merry Christ­mas.’”

Nel­son said she told her younger sis­ter about the in­ci­dent two years later, told her mother four years ago and told her husband be­fore they mar­ried. She said she and her husband sup­ported Don­ald Trump for pres­i­dent.

Last Thurs­day, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported that in 1979 when he was 32, Moore had sex­ual con­tact with a 14-year-old girl and pur­sued ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships with three other teenage girls around the same pe­riod. The women made their al­le­ga­tions on the record and the Post cited two dozen other sources.

Moore has called the al­le­ga­tions “com­pletely false and mis­lead­ing,” but in an in­ter­view last week he did not un­equiv­o­cally rule out dat­ing teenage girls when he was in his early 30s. Asked by con­ser­va­tive ra­dio host Sean Han­nity if that would have been usual for him, Moore said, “It would have been out of my cus­tom­ary be­hav­ior.”

McCon­nell, speak­ing Mon­day at an event in Louisville, Ken­tucky, said Moore “should step aside” and ac­knowl­edged that a write-in ef­fort by an­other can­di­date was pos­si­ble. He said, “We’ll see,” when asked if the Repub­li­can al­ter­na­tive could be Sen. Luther Strange, whom Moore ousted in a Septem­ber party pri­mary.

But Strange told re­porters late Mon­day “a write-in can­di­dacy is highly un­likely.”

“I made my case dur­ing the elec­tion,” Strange said. “So now, it’s re­ally go­ing to be up to the peo­ple of our state to sort this out.”

McCon­nell’s com­ment pushed him fur­ther than he’d gone last Thurs­day, when he said Moore should exit the race if the al­le­ga­tions were true.

McCon­nell and Moore have had an openly an­tag­o­nis­tic his­tory. Moore was backed dur­ing his pri­mary cam­paign by Steve Ban­non, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer chief White House ad­viser who is openly seek­ing GOP Se­nate chal­lengers who will pledge to dump McCon­nell. A po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee linked to McCon­nell spent heav­ily but un­suc­cess­fully on Strange’s be­half.

Trump, who is trav­el­ing in Asia, has told peo­ple he wanted to wait to get back to Wash­ing­ton un­til he weighed in, ac­cord­ing to a White House of­fi­cial who would not be named dis­cussing pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions. Trump is slated to re­turn late Tues­day.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

BEV­ERLY YOUNG NEL­SON, THE LAT­EST AC­CUSER of Alabama Repub­li­can Roy Moore, reads her state­ment at a news con­fer­ence in New York on 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.”

Ses­sions open to idea of Clin­ton Foun­da­tion special coun­sel BY THE NUM­BERS Dow Jones In­dus­tri­als: +17.49 to 23,439.70 Stan­dard & Poor’s: +2.54 to 2,584.84 Nas­daq Com­pos­ite In­dex: +6.66 to 6,757.60

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