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Daily Reads: Roy Moore’s Alleged Assault Is Big Trouble for the GOP; Flynn Investigated in Turkish Kidnap Plot

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Roy Moore's Alleged Assault Is Big Trouble for the GOP

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A rough week for the GOP –> Capitol Hill was shaken yesterday by a Washington Post report that Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore molested a 14 year-old girl when he was working as a prosecutor in his early 30s. Katie Glueck and Alex Roarty report for McClatchy that the news puts the GOP in a bind. “Republican leaders are now choosing between withdrawing their support for Moore — and possibly endangering a Senate seat — and supporting a candidate who, if elected, could damage the GOP’s reputation more broadly.”

Some conservatives sought to defend Moore. “There is nothing to see here,” Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler told the Washington Examiner’s Philip Weggman. “The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.” He added: “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

Turkeygate? –> Sure, why not? James Grimaldi, Shane Harris and Aruna Viswanatha report for The Wall Street Journal that “Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the US and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long accused Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, of fomenting last year’s attempted coup. 

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump aide who pled guilty to lying to federal investigators earlier this month, says that he only did so out of a sense of duty to Donald Trump, and ABC News reports that he’s “upset the man he tried to protect is now trying to distance himself.”

Ryan Nakashima and Barbara Ortutay report for the AP that “disguised Russian agents on Twitter rushed to deflect scandalous news about Donald Trump just before last year’s presidential election while straining to refocus criticism on the mainstream media and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” A prime example: in Early October, a network of Russian-operated accounts “actively pivoted away from news of an audio recording in which Trump made crude comments about groping women, and instead touted damaging emails hacked from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.”

And “Justice Department prosecutors are trying to secure a plea deal with Jeffrey Yohai, Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law, in an investigation into Yohai’s real estate dealings,” according to Caitlin MacNeal at TalkingPoints Memo.

He “told us who he was” –> On the heels of revelations that comedian Louis C.K. “crossed a line” with a number of women during the course of his career, Buzzfeed’s Scaachi Koul writes that “the fact that C.K. spent years making self-aware jokes about men’s sexual aggression only makes the revelation of his own alleged behavior feel more like a personal betrayal.”

Yesterday afternoon the HuffPost front page had stories about nine different men who are accused of sexual assault. “It would be 10 but we had to take down Charlie Sheen to make room for Louis C.K.,” tweeted Chloe Angyal, a HuffPost editor. The Hollywood Reporter’s Katherine Schaffstall says the scheduled premiere of C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy, was cancelled after the report came out.

Mouthpieces –> The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, an “anti-gun-violence group headed by former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords,” is “taking the Trump administration to court, alleging the administration’s official talking points are coming from gun lobbyists.” Curt Prendergast has more at the Arizona Daily Star.

Broad national implications” –> Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a challenge to the state’s heavily gerrymandered electoral map could proceed. Maddie Hanna and Jonathan Lai report for The Philadelphia Inquirer that the case “could have national implications,” as “new districts could give Democrats a boost in competitive, Republican-held districts just outside Philadelphia as they push to take control of the US House” next year.

Stunning plan to wage economic war” –> The Intercept’s Ryan Grim and Ben Walsh obtained documents detailing the UAE’s plan to launch “economic warfare” against Qatar through “an attack on [its] currency using bond and derivatives manipulation.” The plan comes amid “a regional crisis that reached new heights in June, when the UAE and Saudi Arabia led a bloc of Gulf nations in blockading and cutting off diplomatic relations with Qatar.” But Grim and Walsh caution that the scheme seemed amateurish and “there is no conclusive evidence the plan has been initiated.”

Safe cities –> With a new study “showing that providing universal public defense dramatically increases the likelihood of indigent immigrants prevailing and returning to their families,” eleven communities have launched “a multi-jurisdiction network dedicated to providing publicly-funded representation for people facing deportation,” according to a release by the Vera Institute of Justice.

Meanwhile, “acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke is reportedly going to resign after Chief of Staff John Kelly (her former boss as DHS Secretary) called her from Asia to complain that she wasn’t expelling Honduran immigrants quickly enough,” writes Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. Duke is in the process of revoking special protected status for people who fled gang wars and natural disasters in central America — she’s already expelled thousands of Nicaraguans — but she “decided more time and fact-finding were necessary to make a decision” on those from Honduras. This didn’t sit well with the White House.

Elections have consequences –> Kate Harloe reports for Mother Jones that Donald Trump “is remaking the federal courts in his own image” with a slew of nominees who “have been notably white, male and conservative.”

“Messy intra-progressive fight” –> Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick writes that the unity Virginia Democrats showed on Tuesday night belies the intra-left tensions that roiled Charlottesville before a violent riot by white nationalists brought various factions together, and still simmer in the progressive city today.

Already? –> Edward-Isaac Dovere reports for Politico that “Joe Biden thinks it’s critical that Donald Trump not get a second term — and though it’s early, he doesn’t yet see anyone else who could stop that from happening,” which “might mean he’ll just have to run himself.”

Security theater –> You have to put your shampoo in little bottles — not to exceed 3.4 ounces — and seal them up in a ziplock bag — it must be quart-sized — but at the same time, “Homeland Security investigators found that, more than 70 percent of the time, undercover officers were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives, guns and explosives,” according to CBS News.

No crying in baseball –> At Deadspin, Lindsey Adler tells the odd story of a 13-year-old girl who posed as a young, married father of two so she could write professionally about baseball and be taken seriously, but then didn’t know how to get out of her lie for the next eight years. She apparently harassed several women she’d encountered online before being discovered by internet sleuths.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



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