How do you deal with a problem like Roy Moore?
Today brought fresh accusations today about the Alabama GOP Senate candidate’s behavior with teenaged girls, with a fifth accuser alleging that Moore sexually assaulted her and kept her locked in a car for a time when he served as a local district attorney. (Moore denied them, as he has others, calling them “absolutely false.”)
Today also brought a clearer split from GOP Senate leaders and Moore. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the accusations first brought forward by The Washington Post and Cory Gardner, the Colorado Republican who leads the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm soon followed.
But Senate Republicans don’t have a unified idea with how to deal with Moore, POLITICO’s Seung Min Kim and John Bresnahan report.
“Some senior Republicans are wary that the chorus of anti-Moore sentiment from Washington will only embolden Moore and his … (and) other top party leaders weren’t as quick to embrace expelling Moore from the chamber, which has been attempted but not completed in well over a century and could raise serious questions about the Senate defying the will of voters.”
For President Donald Trump, who has so far skirted the issue while traveling in Asia, the looming special election and accusations against Moore could prove another problem that awaits him on his return.
Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:
WIKI LEAKED: The Atlantic has uncovered a series of Twitter direct messages between Donald Trump Jr. and Wikileaks — in which the organization at one point asks for President Trump’s tax returns so that it can look more impartial.
HEALTH AZAR: President Trump has nominated Alex Azar a former pharmaceutical executive and official in George W. Bush’s administration to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary.
READY TO GO: President Trump is eager to put his own imprint on the tax debate and has been keeping up with negotiations even as he’s traveled Asia for the last 11 days.
CONTINUING PRICE: Meanwhile, Congress’ investigation of former HHS Sec. Tom Price’s use of private planes continues to cause problems for the agency.
COAL SHOULDER: The White House attempted to pitch its plans for coal reinvestment at an international climate conference in Bonn, Switzerland — resulting in the meeting devolving into protests.
PENNY DROPS: Penny Young Nance, a conservative activist who was up for an ambassadorship for global women’s issues, has dropped herself from consideration.
RUSSIA HOUSE: This is what special counsel Robert Mueller’s organizational chart tells us about who, what and how he is pursuing in his investigation of Russian election interference.
DUTERTE OF DISTRACTION: President Trump mused about the weather and other topics as he avoided talking about human rights issues with Phillipines strongman Rodrigo Duterte.
There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. That was Monday.