Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not reiterate calls for Roy Moore to step aside during an interview Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” Instead, McConnell said Alabama voters would get to make their decision on December 12, and that an ethics investigation of Moore would likely commence after he takes office.
“On December the 12th, they’ll get to decide who they want to send to the Senate, and we’ll deal with that when that happens,” McConnell told host Laura Ingraham.
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Ingraham pressed further, mentioning senators who’ve talked about expelling Moore from the Senate if he’s elected.
People in Alabama, she said, have full information about the allegations against Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court famous for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom.
“Should you in the Senate then invalidate that by expelling him out by a two-thirds vote?” she asked.
“We’ll deal with the aftermath of the decision the people of Alabama make on December 12th,” the Kentucky senator intoned.
“So you think it’s a possibility he could be expelled from the Senate?” she asked.
“I think there’s a possibility he will have an ethics issue,” said McConnell.
“An ethics investigation, once he gets here?” asked Ingraham.
“Yeah,” said McConnell. “I think it’s almost certain, yeah.”
Ingraham asked how far back in time the Senate Ethics Committee would go to review allegations against Moore.
“It’ll be up to the committee,” McConnell replied.
All allegations women have made against Moore date to the 1970s and early 1980s, when Moore was in his 30s, unmarried, and working as an assistant district attorney. One woman told The Washington Post that Moore took her to his home and undressed her when she was 14. Another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, said Moore attempted to sexually assault her in his car when she was working in a restaurant called the Olde Hickory House, in 1977 or 1978 when she was 16.
Moore has denied the allegations.
No senator has been expelled since the Civil War, during which 14 were expelled for aiding the Confederacy.
“There is no precedent for expelling a duly elected Senate member for actions committed before he took office,” NPR wrote in a November 16 article about Moore.
McConnell publicly called on Moore to leave the race after the Washington Post article came out earlier this month, and The New York Times reported that he’s gone to unusual lengths to try to dispatch Moore — hiring Washington attorneys with Alabama experience to draft a four-page memo listing possible legal maneuvers that could be used to prevent Moore from being elected. The White House disregarded the memo, according to the report.
Now, it seems, McConnell has changed his tune.
In the interview with Ingraham, he did not say anything about Moore’s leaving the race, seeming to accept Moore’s insistence that he is not getting out, and allowing that the voters, when they make their choice in two weeks, will do so with full knowledge of the allegations against the candidate.
After taking a hit in the polls following publication of the Washington Post article, Moore is up again, with the last three polls in the race showing him ahead of Democrat Doug Jones, a pro-abortion liberal.
The two are running to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when Sessions was named to be Trump’s attorney general.