What more can be done about Roy Moore?
The Republican National Committee has cut the Alabama Senate candidate off today. The National Republican Senatorial Committee already did. Local newspapers have panned him and demanded he step aside. Senators say they won’t seat him, or will expel him swiftly.
And yet, still, Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, is here, a potential wrench, and a clear public relations problem, for President Donald Trump’s agenda. As accusations about Moore’s inappropriate behavior with teenaged girls when he was a 30-something district attorney stack up, efforts to get him out of the Alabama Senate race have gone from subtle to stark. And he has remained defiant. Nothing changed in that regard today.
Now the problem will fall to Trump, POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson, Alex Isenstadt and Josh Dawsey report.
“It’s a vexing call for Trump. If he tries to pressure Moore out of the race, some people close to the White House expect him to do, there’s no guarantee that the candidate will oblige. During the GOP nomination battle, Trump aggressively backed Moore’s opponent, appointed Sen. Luther Strange. Moore … may feel that he owes the president little. Intervening in a race against the candidate backed by conservative activists could also be seen as at odds with Trump’s own insurgent campaign in 2016.”
For it’s part, the GOP-controlled Senate is making it clear that Moore is persona non grata — win or lose. As POLITICO’s John Bresnahan and Seung Min Kim report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that Moore’s situation would lead to an immediate ethics inquiry.
"If he were to be sworn in, he would immediately be in a process before the Senate Ethics Committee,” McConnell said at a Wall Street Journal event. “He would be sworn in and be asked to testify under oath and it would be a rather unusual beginning, probably an unprecedented beginning."
Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:
NO ONE TALKING: The orbit of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stayed pretty quiet today amid some suggestion there would be a special counsel to investigate the Uranium One deal — a calculated decision to put the focus on President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
CORE KNOWLEDGE: For those not read up, here’s a complete breakdown of the story — which has pinged through conservative media in recent weeks.
BRAD BLOOD: The Senate voted to confirm so-called torture memo author Steven Bradbury to a top post at the Department of Transportation — despite GOP Sen. John McCain’s impassioned appeal to not approve his nomination.
RUSSIAN BALLET: Attorney General Jeff Sessions danced around and tried to distance himself from questions about contacts between Donald Trump’s aides and Russia-linked people last year during testimony on the Hill.
INSIDE JOB?: The U.S. has hired a security company with deep ties to the former KGB in Russia to guard the U.S. embassy in Moscow. (The New York Times)
BONN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: President Trump’s decision to leave the the Paris agreement has made him a target of fierce criticism at the United Nations’ climate conference in Germany.
MANDATED ADDITION: The Senate tax bill is adding a repeal of the Obamacare healthcare mandate — an attempt to squeeze a measure of repeal out of the legislation.
ROYHINGA PUSH: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to visit Myanmar tomorrow amid growing international pressure to stop what some have called an anti-Muslim genocide in the country.
WORD SMITH: How the gossip columnist Liz Smith, who passed away yesterday, helped create Donald Trump the media personality. (Chicago Tribune)
BALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL: Three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting returned home after President Trump raised the issues specifically with President Xi. They include the brother of NBA star Lonzo Ball. (The New York Times)
There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. That was Tuesday.