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Monday’s dispatch: Republicans are now all-in on Roy Moore whether they like it or not
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump gave his most enthusiastic support for Alabama Senate candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore.
On Friday, Trump held a rally in Pensacola, Florida, right on the border with Alabama, and encouraged voters in the nearby state to vote for Moore in Tuesday’s special election.
Trump also recorded a robocall for Moore, telling Alabama voters, “We need Roy to help us with the Republican Senate.”
This fresh support from Trump comes at the same time audio surfaced of Moore appearing on a conspiracy-mongering radio show in 2011, arguing that the United States could “eliminate many problems’” if it did away with every constitutional amendment after the 10th Amendment.
That would mean reversing everything from the abolition of slavery, to women’s suffrage, to the lowering of the voting age to 18 — a particularly ironic position given his campaign’s emphasis on the age of consent.
The comments were a reminder that Moore was an extremely controversial candidate for the GOP even before the allegations of child molestation and sexual assault surfaced. Moore is on record saying that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress, and that 9/11 was God’s punishment for America’s lack of faith.
Now, the GOP is grappling with the real implications of what could happen if Moore ascends to the Senate with the support of many members of their party, including Trump’s.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) the senior senator from Moore’s home state, said Sunday he “couldn’t vote for Roy Moore” and “didn’t vote for Roy Moore” in his early vote. He also signaled that he may support having the Senate evaluate Moore’s “fitness to serve” should he win, but left the decision up to Republican leadership.
On the eve of the election, Senate Republicans must seriously contemplate what they will do with Moore in the Senate. Will they launch a monthslong ethics investigation that puts them at odds with Trump and the GOP base, while also keeping the allegations against Moore in the news through the 2018 election cycle? Or will they tacitly accept Moore, and become the party that fully embraces an accused child molester?
Today’s question: Would Senate Republicans actually be more relieved if Moore loses on Tuesday or do they ultimately just want another Republican vote in the Senate?
Please email us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday in Trump’s America:
Deadlines catch-up with the GOP: After narrowly averting a shutdown last week, procrastination is catching up with congressional Republicans as year-end tasks are piling up. Over the next two weeks, Republicans must work to finalize the tax bill, fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program and find a fix for both the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the budget in order to keep the government open.
Trump accusers speak up: A group of women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment will hold a press conference Monday to demand that Congress launch an investigation into his conduct with women. The move comes as Senate Republicans consider a similar probe into Moore, should he win the Senate special election.
Russia investigation update: NBC News reported that Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia affair is specifically focusing on the 18-day period in the early days of the Trump administration that Michael Flynn was susceptible to Russian blackmail. Given Flynn’s recent plea deal, the news suggests that the investigation is almost certainly looking into what Trump knew about Flynn’s actions at the time, and whether he was obstructing justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.
Putin in Syria: Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Syria on Monday to announce the beginning of a Russian withdrawal from the region.
Frequent flyer: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is firing back after a recent report that he took $14,000 in taxpayer-funded helicopter rides. “Recent articles about official Interior Department helicopter usage are total fabrications and a wild departure from reality,” Zinke said in a statement while offering no actual facts to rebut the report.
Booker in Alabama: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) spent the weekend campaigning with Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones in Alabama, fueling speculation that Booker may have higher political ambitions.
Explosions in New York: Reports of a possible explosion near New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal are developing this morning. Follow Mic for the latest on the incident.
Under the radar:
Protesters on trial: The trial of #J20 protesters from the Trump inauguration continues in Washington, D.C., with protesters and two journalists facing decades in prison for protests that erupted during the inauguration. The HuffPost’s Ryan Reilly covered the trial’s ongoing proceedings over the weekend.
Unifying a party: A group of Democrats appointed by both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton just came up with a plan to radically overhaul the party’s presidential primary in 2020 in a way that would, among other things, drastically cut the number of so-called superdelegates at the party’s convention. Read my report on it here.
Why Trump’s Jerusalem decision could sully U.S. foreign policy for generations.
Correction: Dec. 11, 2017