The current furor, in which numerous women have come forward alleging that Roy Moore approached, dated, or in some cases sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, has played out like a concentrated version of [his long] combative history, in which he rose to national prominence as an unyielding spokesman for conservative and religious values. Mr. Moore first made a name for himself as a prosecutor and an anti-establishment political outsider here in Gadsden in the years after 1977 post West Point, Vietnam and law school in Tuscaloosa. He already had the contentiousness, if not the overt religiosity. During those years, he was developing another reputation, passed along in whispers. Now they have grown to a roar, threatening to derail what might have been a cakewalk political contest in deeply conservative Alabama. "It was a known fact: Roy Moore liked young girls," said Faye Gary, a retired Gadsden police officer. read more
Donald Trump has an inflated view of his assets. The president's family business is worth about one-tenth of the value he has claimed, according to an analysis of the latest figures he has filed with the federal government. Some of the discrepancy is due to a downturn in business, but the rest is credited to an overheated imagination, according to Crain's New York Business reporter Aaron Elstein, who examined the numbers. Elstein told NPR he feels a bit like he was played. In 2016 the Trump Organization reported nearly $9.5 billion in revenues. But recent public filings by the president indicate that the company actually earned only as much as $700 million that year, Crain's said. Crain's determined that Trump has been reporting inflated revenue since at least 2010. After examining the latest figures Trump has filed, Crain's this month bounced the Trump Organization from the No. 3 spot on its list of largest privately held New York City companies down to No. 40. read more
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: There is the narrative of [the Trump] campaign in which high-level operatives believed that Russian espionage could help secure the American presidency, and acted on that belief. There is the narrative of deception to conceal the nature and extent of Russian ties. And there is the narrative of a president attempting to prevent or shut down the investigation of those ties and soliciting others for help in that task. In all of this, there is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self-protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence. This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing. What are the implications? President Trump and others in his administration are about to be hit by a legal tidal wave. read more
Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. "First, I'm never going to do that," he said. "And second, the list is so long that I'm not going to be able to go through it in 20 minutes." George Mason University professor Eric Shiraev, who has written about Russia, international relations and political psychology, said Kislyak deliberately "made a mistake" by suggesting that American officials got in trouble for meeting with Russians, not for failing to disclose those meetings. "It became almost comical," Shiraev said, noting that the audience was laughing throughout the taping. "He gave the impression that only because he met the American officials they got in trouble." Kislyak told the interviewers that the idea that Russia "picked America's president" was "nonsense" and "very sad."
President Donald Trump responded to sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Thursday, referring to a photo that surfaced from 2006 ... But as of Thursday, he has yet to comment on the mounting misconduct accusations against Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore, a week after the Washington Post reported the first allegations involving Moore, then in his 30s, targeting girls as young as 14. Republicans, especially right-wing media outlets, seized on the deluge of allegations last month against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a prominent Democratic campaign donor. They have continually brought up sexual misconduct involving former President Bill Clinton, often when discussing former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But Republicans have been less willing to denounce such behavior when it involves people on their end of the political spectrum, including Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, Moore and even Trump himself. read more