Sean Hannity has amazingly told Judge Roy Moore in so many words, “Don’t let the sun go down on you in Fox County,” and given him just 24 hours, until Wednesday night, to account for his egregous misdeeds. Politico:
“For me, the judge has 24 hours,” Hannity said. “You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies that I just showed.”
“Between this interview that I did and the inconsistent answers. Between him saying ‘I never knew this girl,’ and then that yearbook comes out,” Hannity said. “You must remove any doubt. If you can’t do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.”
Hannity was referring to the disclosure of the 1977 high school yearbook of Brenda Young Nelson, the fifth woman to come forward accusing Moore of sexual assault. Despite Moore’s insistence that he does not know Nelson, her yearbook displays his signature; Nelson showed it during a news conference Monday in New York City with attorney Gloria Allred.
Meanwhile, back at the Breitbart ranch, Steve Bannon is also walking back the position that he took just Monday on his radio show. Daily Beast:
“This is just another desperate attempt by Mitch McConnell to keep power, and it’s not going to work,” Bannon said on Monday’s episode of Breitbart News Daily. “You know, people in Alabama see through this. The good folks of Alabama are going to be able to weigh and measure this… This is an orchestrated hit from the Uniparty.”
But over the past few days, Bannon has begun privately taking the temperature of those in his inner circle to see what they think of the Moore allegations and to get their sense of how to proceed, according to four knowledgeable sources. Late last week, the Breitbart chairman said, “I will put him in a grave myself,” if he determines that Moore was lying to him about the numerous accusations, a source close to Bannon relayed.
Bannon emphasized, to both friends and colleagues, that he’s uncomfortable with the charges of sexual harassment and child molestation that have been levelled at Moore. But he wasn’t convinced that the initial flood of on-record testimony, starting with the first Washington Post story last week, was anything more than a hit job. And he believes it may have been planted by #NeverTrump operatives to put the screws to Moore’s campaign.
And what about Donald Trump? Where does he stand in all this? To call this a stickey wicket is to dignify it. Will he push out Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and ask him to run as a write in candidate for the seat? Sessions has indicated that he does not want to leave his position as Attorney General. Politico:
Trump spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from Asia last week, and the Senate leader made an urgent plea: Please help push Moore out of the contest. On Monday, as a new female accuser emerged, the Republican leader discussed the Alabama situation with White House chief of staff John Kelly and Vice President Mike Pence. The conversation centered on tax reform, but the Senate Republican leader also proposed a dramatic idea: that Sessions run as a write-in candidate or be appointed to the seat he held for two decades. Sessions, however, has expressed a desire to stay on as attorney general, according to several people familiar with his thinking. And one White House official expressed concern that, in the event Moore would not withdraw, a Sessions bid would serve only to split the Republican vote and hand a win to Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
White House officials plan to convene a meeting to talk through their options soon, and Trump is widely expected to address the predicament publicly when he returns from abroad. In order for the president to get involved, some aides to the president say, he would need an airtight plan that limits his political exposure to any fallout.
It’s a vexing call for Trump. If he tries to pressure Moore out of the race, as some people close to the White House expect him to do, there’s no guarantee that the candidate will oblige.
Trump has no moral compass so whatever decision he makes will be the path of least political fallout to himself alone, that much is certain. It will be truly interesting to see what John Kelly, Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell conjure up as a solution to this mess and how Roy Moore reacts.
Behind the scenes, the President and his advisers are closely watching the developments in Alabama’s special election, two sources close to the White House and a White House official said. That includes, in particular, the reaction of influential conservative supporters such as Fox News host Sean Hannity. The White House is also mulling scenarios to prevent Moore from being elected, according to the sources.
Trump, one source said, believes the allegations of child sexual abuse and sexual assault against Moore are bad for the Republican brand, but has decided to wait and see how the situation shakes out before publicly commenting.
That silence is in large part rooted in his own history of facing sexual misconduct allegations, a Republican close to the White House told CNN.