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Oh look, more girls Moore stalked

Al.com

I watched the crazy press conference Roy Moore’s lawyers held last night to blow up some smoke and obfuscate the facts. About ten minutes after the whole show ended, I saw this:

At one point during the meeting, she said, Moore came around the desk and sat on the front of it, just inches from her. He was so close, she said, she could smell his breath.

According to Johnson, he asked questions about her young daughters, including what color eyes they had and if they were as pretty as she was. She said that made her feel uncomfortable, too.

Once the papers were signed, she and her mother got up to leave. After her mother walked through the door first, she said, Moore came up behind her.

It was at that point, she recalled, he grabbed her buttocks.

“He didn’t pinch it; he grabbed it,” said Johnson. She was so surprised she didn’t say anything. She didn’t tell her mother.

She said she told her sister years later how Moore had made her feel uncomfortable during that meeting. Her sister told AL.com she remembers the conversation.

And then, the Washington Post released this story about two of the girls he stalked at the local mall:

A few days later, she says, she was in trigonometry class at Gadsden High when she was summoned to the principal’s office over the intercom in her classroom. She had a phone call.

“I said ‘Hello?’” Richardson recalls. “And the male on the other line said, ‘Gena, this is Roy Moore.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m in trig class.’ ”

Richardson says Moore asked her out again on the call. A few days later, after he asked her out at Sears, she relented and agreed, feeling both nervous and flattered. They met that night at a movie theater in the mall after she got off work, a date that ended with Moore driving her to her car in a dark parking lot behind Sears and giving her what she called an unwanted, “forceful” kiss that left her scared.

“I never wanted to see him again,” says Richardson, who is now 58 and a community college teacher living in Birmingham. She describes herself as a moderate Republican and says she didn’t vote in the 2016 general election or in this year’s Republican Senate primary in Alabama.

Moore’s campaign did not directly address the new allegations. In a statement, a campaign spokesman cast the growing number of allegations against Moore as politically motivated.

“If you are a liberal and hate Judge Moore, apparently he groped you,” the statement said. “If you are a conservative and love Judge Moore, you know these allegations are a political farce.”

Richardson, whose account was corroborated by classmate and Sears co-worker Kayla McLaughlin, is among four women who say Moore pursued them when they were teenagers or young women working at the mall — from Sears at one end to the Pizitz department store at the other. Richardson and Becky Gray, the woman who complained to her manager, have not previously spoken publicly. The accounts of the other two women — Wendy Miller and Gloria Thacker Deason — have previously been reported by The Washington Post.

Phyllis Smith, who was 18 when she began working at Brooks, a clothing store geared toward young women, said teenage girls counseled each other to “just make yourself scarce when Roy’s in here, he’s just here to bother you, don’t pay attention to him and he’ll go away.’ ”

Oh look

Trump Jr. said he did not recall WH involvement in response to meeting

Guess who was apparently plotting and scheming with Wikileaks?

The messages, obtained by The Atlantic, were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators. They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between WikiLeaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017. The messages show WikiLeaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation. WikiLeaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump’s tax returns, urging the Trump campaign on Election Day to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States.

Trump judge nominee, 36, who has never tried a case, approved by Senate panel

WASHINGTON — Brett J. Talley, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be a federal judge in Alabama, has never tried a case, was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association’s judicial rating committee, has practiced law for only three years and, as a blogger last year, displayed a degree of partisanship unusual for a judicial nominee, denouncing “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and pledging support for the National Rifle Association. Continue Reading →

Talk is cheap

Trump trashes outgoing Republican senator in public falling out
Also known as “money talks, bullshit walks.” AKA: “Once a Republican, always a Republican.” Via Charlie Pierce:

You would have thought that Senator Jeff Flake would have basked a little longer in the applause he got for scarpering out of the Senate before he got around to the business of emptying his words of any significant meaning they ever had. Instead, Flake—along with fellow brave truth-tellers Bob Corker, Ben Sasse and, significantly, John McCain—joined with every other Republican (including Mike Pence, The Great Tiebreaker) to arrange for the screwing of countless Americans and their families.

In the dead of Tuesday night, with the applause still ringing in his ears, Flake voted to strip the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau of a rule that allowed Americans to file class-action suits against banks rather than being forced into an arbitration process that generally is as rigged as a North Korean election. From The Los Angeles Times:

The rule was unveiled in July by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and praised by Democrats and consumer advocates as giving average people more power to fight industry abuses, such as Wells Fargo & Co.’s creation of millions of unauthorized accounts. But banking lobbyists argued that the rule would unleash a flood of class-action lawsuits, and that the cost of fighting those suits would be passed on to consumers. Republicans quickly moved to repeal the regulation.

You have to love their timing, too. This move comes hard on the heels of the Equifax calamity, and just as the Congress is shilling for a massive upward shift in the country’s wealth that is disguised as a “middle-class tax cut.” Further, it proves that our political system learned absolutely nothing from what happened in 2008, when the masters of the universe nearly blew up the entire world economy.

Set to take effect in March, the rule would not have banned clauses in checking account, credit card and other banking agreements that say disputes between companies and customers must be dealt with privately or in small claims court. Instead, there would have been a ban on provisions that block consumers from banding together to bring class-action cases. The CFPB argued that such cases help hold banks accountable. The determinations of an arbitrator are binding and consumer advocates say most decisions favor the company. The private proceedings also allow banks to deal with individual problems quietly rather than address widespread abuses. George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said the vote “means that big financial companies can lock the courthouse doors and prevent consumers who’ve been mistreated from joining together to seek the relief they deserve under the law.”

Franken vs. Sessions

At the Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday:

During a line of questioning from Franken in that January hearing, Sessions was asked what he would do as attorney general if he found evidence that “anyone affiliated with the Russian government” communicated with the Trump campaign through the election. Sessions said he was unaware of any such activities and insisted he “did not have communications with the Russians.”

It was later reported that Sessions had a handful of conversations during the campaign with the Russian ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak. As a result, Sessions recused himself from all matters related to the Trump campaign and insisted he did not attempt to mislead the committee.

“This allegation that a surrogate — and I had been called a surrogate for Donald Trump — had been meeting continuously with Russian officials, and that’s what I — it struck me very hard, and that’s what I focused my answer on,” Session said on Wednesday in response to a question from Franken. “And in retrospect, I should have slowed down and said, ‘But I did meet one Russian official a couple of times, and that would be the ambassador.'”

Franken later said that “it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he just perjured himself.” On Wednesday, he sought to push Sessions hard on that January exchange and Sessions’ subsequent answers.

Sessions pushed back equally hard.

Franken said that once Sessions was confronted with the reports, he began to change his answer about whether he communicated with Russians.

“So again, the goalpost has been moved,” Franken said. “First, it was ‘I did not have communications with Russians,’ which was not true. Then it was ‘I never met with any Russians to discuss any political campaign,’ which may or may not be true. Now it’s ‘I did not discuss interference in the campaign,’ which further narrows your initial blanket denial about meeting with the Russians.

“Since you have qualified your denial to say that you did not ‘discuss issues of the campaign with Russians,’ what in your view constitutes issues of the campaign?” he said.

Sessions responded that he could say “without hesitation” that he “conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding a campaign or any other item facing this country.”

Go read the rest.

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