At least four women have accused Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat, of making sexual advances on them while they were teenagers—including one woman who says Moore forced himself on her when she was 14 years old and he was 32. Leigh Corfman says Moore removed her shirt and pants, then touched her over her bra and underwear. She recalls thinking, “I wanted it over with—I wanted out. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Roy Moore is a former state Supreme Court justice who is currently running to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat. Some Republicans are calling on Moore to withdraw. But even if he does, other Republican candidates will have to be written in during the December 12 special election. On Thursday, Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler attempted to defend Roy Moore, saying, “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. … There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
Stephen Bannon, the head of the far-right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, has also defended Roy Moore by attacking The Washington Post. Bannon is Trump’s former chief strategist and has been a major backer of Roy Moore’s Senate race.
Stephen Bannon: “The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now, is that a coincidence? That’s what I mean when I say opposition party.”
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Like most Americans, the President believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life.” Sanders went on to say, “The President also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
President Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women. During the 2016 election, Trump called these women liars and threatened to sue them, although he hasn’t actually. One woman has, in turn, sued Trump for libel for calling her a liar. Roy Moore is famous for having been twice ousted as Alabama’s chief justice—first in 2003 for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. After being re-elected, he was again ousted in 2016, for ordering his judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing marriage equality. Moore is also well known for his racist, Islamophobic and homophobic positions. In 2005, he said homosexuality should be illegal, comparing it to bestiality.
Other sexual harassment allegations continue to rock state politics and Hollywood. Multiple women have accused Minnesota state Senator Dan Schoen of sexual harassment. The women say he groped and touched them without their consent and that he sent at least one woman a photo of male genitalia over Snapchat. Several lawmakers and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton are calling on Schoen to resign.
This comes after Kentucky state Congressmember Jeff Hoover has resigned as Kentucky’s House speaker, after it surfaced that he’d settled a sex harassment claim with one of his female staff members. He is refusing to give up his seat altogether, despite escalating pressure.
Five women have come forward to accuse powerful comedian Louis C.K. of sexual harassment and misconduct, including masturbating in front of them. The revelations, first reported by The New York Times, come after years of speculation and rumors about Louis C.K. using his power in the comedy world to repeatedly sexually harass fellow female comedians. The premiere of Louis C.K.'s movie “I Love You, Daddy” was quickly canceled on Thursday, ahead of the article's publication by The New York Times.
Emmy Award-winning writer Kater Gordon has accused Matthew Weiner, the creator of the hit TV show “Mad Men,” of sexual harassment. Gordon says the two were working together on “Mad Men” when “He told me that I owed it to him to let him see me naked.” Gordon was let go from the show a year later.
And film director Ridley Scott is in the process of editing actor Kevin Spacey out of the nearly finished movie “All the Money in the World,” after more than a dozen men accused Kevin Spacey of sexual harassment and assault. Kevin Spacey’s scenes are currently being refilmed with a new actor, Christopher Plummer.
In Bonn, Germany, a coalition of U.S. cities, companies, universities and faith groups have opened a 2,500-square-meter pavilion outside the U.N. climate conference called “We are Still In”—an effort to persuade other countries that wide swaths of the United States are still committed to the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. This is Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Alden Meyer: “We are Still In is a coalition of mayors, governors, business leaders, university presidents, NGOs and others that are committed to meeting America’s obligations under the Paris Agreement. … Well, actually, the public opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support Paris. They want the U.S. to provide leadership. They don’t support what President Trump did. Even a majority of Trump’s own voters support more clean energy, solar energy, clean cars. They like the solutions to climate change. And, of course, in the wake of the recent extreme weather events—Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, Hurricane Maria—there’s increasing recognition that the costs of not doing something on climate change could be quite astronomical.”
This comes as officials in Puerto Rico have acknowledged that nearly 500 more people died this September compared to September of last year. The data further casts doubt on the authorities’ claims that Hurricane Maria killed only 55 people. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, and other northern cities were plunged back into darkness on Thursday after a main power line failed. The power line that failed was originally repaired by the tiny Montana-based company Whitefish Energy, whose $300 million contract was canceled amid controversy over Whitefish’s ties to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
U.S. officials say the Pentagon is planning to send hundreds more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan in early 2018—boosting the number of U.S. troops in the country to about 16,000 soldiers. This comes as the United Nations says a U.S. airstrike near the northern city of Kunduz killed at least 10 civilians last week. The U.N. findings contradict a U.S. military investigation, which claims no civilians were killed in the November 4 airstrike. Local officials say up to 55 civilians may have been killed. U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have increased dramatically under President Trump.
The Syrian Army has declared victory over ISIS in Syria, after the army says it seized control of Abu Kamal, the final ISIS-controlled city inside Syria. Meanwhile, the United Nations is warning of a humanitarian crisis in eastern Ghouta, which is besieged by the Syrian Army. U.N. humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland says 400,000 civilians are in acute need of aid, which has been blocked by the Assad government.
Jan Egeland: “This epicenter of suffering has 400,000 civilians—men, women and children—in a dozen besieged towns and villages. I feel as if we’re now returning to some of the bleakest days of this conflict again. At least the fears are that we are now returning with civilians in crossfire in too many provinces at the same time.”
In news from Washington, D.C., Senate Republicans have unveiled a competing plan for overhauling the tax code, as Republican lawmakers scramble to push through Trump’s proposed tax plan. The Senate version is different from the House version in several ways, including proposing to delay the dramatic cuts to the corporate tax rate by a year. President Trump has made the tax overhaul a top legislative priority. His plan would shower billions of dollars in tax cuts upon the wealthiest Americans—including President Trump’s family and members of his administration.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn plotted to kidnap Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, and forcibly return him to Turkey for $15 million. The Turkish government views Gülen as a political enemy and has accused him of plotting a failed military coup in 2016.
The investigation centers on a December meeting between Flynn and representatives of the Turkish government, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s foreign minister. Flynn was working as a “foreign agent” for the Turkish government last fall, even as he served as a top adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign—and failed to disclose his lobbying efforts as required by law.
Both Flynn and his son, Mike Flynn, are under investigation.
President Trump’s former bodyguard and longtime confidant Keith Schiller reportedly testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he rejected an offer by Russia to send women to Donald Trump’s hotel room during a 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. The questions came in response to a dossier about Trump compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 election. The dossier detailed links between Trump’s campaign and Russia and alleged that Russia had damaging sexual information about then-candidate Donald Trump.
New reports have surfaced showing how White House Chief of Staff John Kelly tried unsuccessfully to pressure acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to cancel the special immigration status of more than 50,000 Hondurans living in the United States. The Washington Post reports Kelly called Duke and tried to convince her to cancel the Hondurans’ temporary protected status, known as TPS. Duke refused, although she did announce the cancellation of the temporary protected status for 2,500 Nicaraguans.
And in Boston, Massachusetts, residents are demanding immigration authorities release activist Siham Byah, who is facing deportation to Morocco. Byah is the mother of an 8-year-old boy who is a U.S. citizen. Hundreds of people rallied earlier this week outside the Federal Building in Boston to demand her freedom, saying she is being targeted for her political activism. She has now launched a hunger strike.