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The Latest: RNC resumes support of Roy Moore Senate campaign

 

December 3, 2017



WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race (all times local):

9:35 p.m.

The Republican National Committee is once again supporting embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore after President Donald Trump formally endorsed him Monday.

An RNC official confirmed the committee will resume its financial support to the Alabama Republican Party's effort to elect Moore to the U.S. Senate, despite the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the internal deliberations. The reversal was first reported by Breitbart News.

The RNC announced three weeks ago that it was severed its fundraising ties to Moore following allegations that he'd molested two teenagers when he was in his 30s.

Trump on Monday formally endorsed Moore in a phone call and on Twitter.

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12:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump has spoken by phone with Republican Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore and formally endorsed his candidacy.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Monday that the two had "a positive call" during which they discussed the state of the race and the president's endorsement.

Moore's campaign says Trump called Moore a "fighter" and expressed his eagerness at having Moore fighting for his agenda in Washington.

Trump's support comes despite allegations that the 70-year-old Moore sexually assaulted teenage girls decades ago, including one who said he molested her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. Many national Republicans have called on Moore to step aside in the wake of the sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Moore's wife, Kayla, thanked Trump for the call on her Facebook page.

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8 a.m.

Roy Moore has tweeted his thanks for President Donald Trump's endorsement.

The Alabama Republican who's running for U.S. Senate says he "can't wait to help" Trump "#DrainTheSwamp."

Trump endorsed Moore in a tweet Monday morning, saying Moore's vote is needed in Congress.

It was Trump's strongest show of support for Moore since allegations surfaced that the candidate had sexually assaulted teenage girls decades ago, including one who said he molested her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. Many national Republicans have called on Moore to step aside in the wake of multiple sexual assault and harassment allegations.

After Trump's tweet, Moore tweeted that "The America First agenda will #MAGA," a reference to Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

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6:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is throwing his full support behind embattled Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.

Trump tweeted early Monday that "Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama."

It was Trump's most full-throated endorsement of Moore, who has lost backing of many top Republicans since he was hit with allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago.

Trump has assailed Democratic candidate Doug Jones and has defended Moore against allegations of child molestation. But the White House has said he has no plans to make campaign appearances.

Trump tweeted: "We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!"

Prosecutors: Manafort wrote op-ed with colleague in Russia

By CHAD DAY and ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an attempt to burnish his public image and leave no fingerprints behind, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort recently enlisted a longtime colleague "assessed to have ties" to Russian intelligence to help him ghostwrite an op-ed, prosecutors said Monday.

Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller say in court papers that they believe the opinion piece — written while Manafort is on house arrest facing several felonies — would have violated a judge's order that bars him from trying his case in the press.

They are now pushing for Manafort to remain confined to his home on GPS monitoring for the time being.

According to the court papers , Manafort and the colleague sought to publish the op-ed to influence public opinion about his political consulting in Ukraine, work at the heart of the criminal case against him. The op-ed was being drafted as late as last week.

Prosecutors did not name Manafort's colleague, who is currently based in Russia, or provide details of how they determined the person had ties to a spy agency. Reached Monday, a spokesman for Manafort declined comment.

Manafort is currently facing several felony charges involving allegations of money laundering and other financial crimes related to his political consulting work in Ukraine. Manafort has denied any wrongdoing. A trial is scheduled for next year.

In the court filing, prosecutors say the op-ed appeared to violate an admonishment from the judge last month to refrain from public statements. An op-ed is an opinion essay written to be published in some form, usually on a website or in a newspaper or magazine. It is usually marked as representing the views of the writer and separated from news content.

"Even if the ghostwritten op-ed were entirely accurate, fair, and balanced, it would be a violation of this Court's November 8 Order if it had been published," the prosecutors wrote. "The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public's opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication (much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another's name)."

They added, "It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts."

Prosecutors said they discovered the efforts to publish the op-ed last Thursday and alerted Manafort's attorney, who assured prosecutors that "steps would be taken to make sure it was no longer going to be published."

At the time, Manafort was working to secure his release from home confinement by posting more than $10 million in bond, and according to court papers, he had reached a tentative agreement with the government. But after discovering the op-ed, Mueller's team is now opposing Manafort's proposed bond agreement.

Prosecutors did not disclose the op-ed in court papers so as to prevent it from becoming public. They also did not disclose what name the ghostwritten op-ed would have been published under.

Manafort and his longtime business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted in October by a grand jury in Washington. They were among the first people to face charges brought by the special counsel's office.

Manafort led the Trump campaign for several months, including during the Republican National Convention. Gates also worked in a senior role on the campaign.

Mueller has been leading a wide-ranging investigation into Russia's election interference and any coordination with Trump associates.

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Follow Chad Day and Eric Tucker on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ChadSDay and https://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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Read the court filing: http://apne.ws/JtXbTI7

 

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