Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.) is warning that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore will immediately face a probe by the Senate Ethics Committee if he wins the special election next month.
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“It would be a rather unusual beginning,” McConnell told The Wall Street Journal at a CEO Council event on Tuesday. “I’d like to save the seat, and it’s a heck of a dilemma when you’ve got a completely unacceptable candidate bearing the label of your party within a month of the election.”
McConnell said that as part of an investigation Moore would be asked to testify under oath, the newspaper reported. An Ethics Committee investigation could pave the way for the Senate to try to expel Moore, though McConnell hasn’t publicly backed that option. ADVERTISEMENTThe Senate last expelled a member in 1862. McConnell oversaw the Senate’s ethics panel when then-Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) resigned in 1995 amid sexual harassment allegations and under the threat of expulsion. Senate Republicans are increasing their pressure for Moore to step down from the Alabama Senate race after a bombshell report in The Washington Post, in which a woman accused Moore of engaging in a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was 32. It also included the stories of three woman who said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them around the same time when they were teenagers. On Monday, a fifth woman came forward, saying Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16. McConnell said on Tuesday that Moore’s campaign is “collapsing” and Republicans are “in a discussion here about how to salvage this seat if possible.” McConnell separately noted during a press conference that he had spoken to President Trump, Vice President Pence and White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE about the scandal. But Moore has refused to withdraw from the race and denied wrongdoing. He hit back at McConnell on Tuesday, saying that his “days as majority leader are coming to an end very soon.” Even if Moore withdrew from the race, the deadline to remove his name from the ballot passed in mid-October. But Republicans are exploring a potential write-in candidate, though Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe biggest political upsets of the decade State ‘certificate of need’ laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (R-Ala.), who Moore defeated in the primary, signaled on Monday that it’s unlikely he would mount a challenge. McConnell added on Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE, who left the Senate to head the Department of Justice, would “fit the mold” of the type of individual who could win a write-in challenge. “He’s totally well known and extremely popular in Alabama,” McConnell said, according to The Wall Street Journal.