The Washington Post fired the latest salvo in the effort to put Karl Rove client Judge William H. Pryor Jr. on the Supreme Court when the paper posted a hit piece describing four awkward and intimate encounters with four women and the Republican nominee for Senate Roy S. Moore, an enemy of Pryor and his elevation to the high court.
Upon his entering the Senate Moore, a long-time rival of Rove, would be in a position to block Pryor’s nomination to the high court–fitting payback for Pryor’s role as Alabama attorney general in the 2003 ouster of Moore from his position as the state’s chief justice of the Supreme Court. It was Pryor, who convened a special panel of judges, who voted to remove Moore after he refused to obey a federal judge’s order to remove a marble display of the 10 Commandments from his courthouse.
Shortly after the story was posted at 12:52 p.m., in the East, Senate Majority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell (R.-Ky.) told reporters at the Capitol Thursday: “If these allegations are true, he must step aside.”
McConnell led the fight to block Moore from the Senate, when he supported Sen. Luther Strange (R.-Ala.) in the campaign to replace Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions, who was elected to the seat in 1996 and held it until his resignation in February.
One of the four, Leigh Corfman, told the WashPost she was 14-years-old, when the 32-year-old assistant district attorney took her to his house in the woods and led her in touching his underwear and he touched her bra.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.
Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.
Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.
According to the paper, none of the encounters led to romantic or sexual relationships, nor was there intercourse or skin-to-skin contact beyond kissing.
The age of consent in Alabama is 16, but there are other factors that would have applied legally to Moore had he been brought up on charges. The statue of limitations expired three years after the event.
Moore’s campaign issued the following statement:
Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake. National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last-ditch Hail Mary.
The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge’s opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign. In fact, just two days ago, the Foundation for Moral Law sent a retraction demand to the Post for the false stories they wrote about the Judge’s work and compensation. But apparently, there is no end to what the Post will allege.
The Judge has been married to Kayla for nearly 33 years, has 4 children, and 5 grandchildren. He has been a candidate in four hotly-contested statewide political contests, twice as a gubernatorial candidate and twice as a candidate for chief justice. He has been a three-time candidate for local office, and he has been a national figure in two ground-breaking, judicial fights over religious liberty and traditional marriage. After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.
Judge Roy Moore is winning with a double-digit lead. So it is no surprise, with just over four weeks remaining, in a race for the U.S. Senate with national implications, that the Democratic Party and the country’s most liberal newspaper would come up with a fabrication of this kind.
This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation.
Members of McConnell’s political family and the leader’s Senate allies rushed to hype the controversy.
This Tweet is from James S. “Josh” Holmes II, McConnell’s former chief of staff:
Dear GOP, send your thank you cards to the Breitbart embassy attn: Steve Bannon https://t.co/DZ7XmKjK3l
— Josh Holmes (@HolmesJosh) November 9, 2017
Holmes is the founder of the Washington-based consulting firm Cavalry and he is married to Blair E. W. L. Holmes, the vice president for media and external affair for health care, immigration and trade for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Holmes has two partners: John Ashbrook, a former aide to Sen. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.) and Michael Duncan, a veteran of McConnell’s 2014 war on conservative primary candidates.
Janet Mullins Grissom became McConnell’s chief of staff in the 1980s after serving Sen. Robert W. Packwood (R.-Ore.) in the same position. Mullins Grissom was also a staffer for President George H.W. Bush and for many years represented Ford Motor Company as a lobbyist. Here is her Tweet on the Moore situation:
Or, more likely, is Bannon just a blow hard wanna be politico intent on destroying Republican Party…. https://t.co/4tYF7OPHb3
— Janet MullinsGrissom (@JMullinsGrissom) November 9, 2017
Another McConnell ally, Sen. John S. McCain III (R.-Ariz.) Tweeted:
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 9, 2017