SEARCH

Tuesday
Dec122017

Trump Jr's lawyer asks House Intel committee to probe interview leaks

William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, through his attorney, has formally asked the House Intelligence Committee to open a review into leaks during and after his meeting last week behind closed doors with the committee.

In a letter to House Intelligence Chairman Michael Conaway, Trump Jr’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, asks for an investigation to “determine whether any member or staff member violated the rules by leaking information to media concerning the interview or by purposely providing inaccurate information which led to significant misreporting.”

In his letter, Futerfas details the rules he and his client agreed to before attending including turning over their electronic devices for the duration of the closed door interview. Futerfas says he and his client fail to understand that, despite this agreement, several news organizations began reporting on events happening behind closed doors while the interview was on going.

Trump Jr’s attorney goes on to say after the interview the fact that committee members gave on camera interviews detailing what happened during the session also breaks the rules he and his client agreed to.

“The Committee’s integrity and credibility should never be in question,” Futerfas writes.

An aide to Conaway declined to comment on the letter from Trump’s attorney. Last week’s meeting lasted just under eight hours, and was the longest meeting Trump Jr. has had before a congressional committee after previously testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year. Trump Jr is expected to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday for another closed door interview.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Democrats call for Congress to probe allegations of Trump's sexual misconduct 

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More than 110 House Democrats have joined a letter to the leaders of the House Oversight Committee calling for an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.

"I think when you go back to the [election], there were so many issues being litigated that may have overshadowed the allegations of the many, many women who accused him of sexual abuse," Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida, the leader of the letter, said at a news conference Tuesday. "If you look at the mood of the country and the Me Too movement, the time is right to really get to the truth of the matter."

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual harassment and assault in the years before he was president. Trump and the White House have denied the allegations.

On Monday, prompted by a national reckoning with sexual harassment in media, entertainment and politics, four of the women who had previously accused Trump of sexual harassment called on Congress to investigate their allegations.

The letter sent to the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday was initially organized by a group of female House Democrats, but many of their male counterparts asked to be a part of the effort, Frankel said.

Asked about the focus on allegations that predate the Trump administration, Frankel cited congressional investigations into Whitewater during the Clinton administration.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, also commented on Trump's tweet about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., calling it "grotesque."

"It represents the conduct of a person who is ill equipped to be the president of the United States," she said.

Frankel told ABC News that Democrats should take up an investigation of the allegations against Trump in the Oversight Committee — which has broad jurisdiction over the federal government as well as subpoena power — if the party retakes the House in 2018.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, supported Democrats' push, and cited Paula Jones’ lawsuit more than two decades ago against President Bill Clinton as precedent to sue a sitting U.S. president.

“If there are allegations against the president, and someone wants to take him to court, there is the law and there is the precedent that this has already happened to a president,” Pelosi said. “When the president says that he has witnesses to the fact that none of this stuff ever happened, that would be quite a remarkable thing, but nonetheless, he may have his chance in court to prove that.”

In a reply to Frankel, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said he would refer the request to the Department of Justice.

“This committee, nor any other Committee of Congress, does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes," he wrote. "This is true for many reasons but especially true in crimes of this serious nature. Those alleging sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct deserve to be interviewed by law enforcement professionals, and charging decisions should be made by prosecutors based on the quantum and quality of the admissible and provable evidence.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

McMaster previews new national security strategy ahead of next week's official debut

Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  National security adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday gave a preview of the Trump administration’s new national security policy, which he said will be unveiled by the president on next Monday.

The strategy, McMaster said, will prioritize four “vital national interests,” the lenses through which the administration views national security challenges. Those four areas include protecting the homeland and American people, advancing American prosperity, preserving peace through strength, and advancing American influence.

Speaking alongside the United Kingdom’s national security adviser Mark Sedwill at an event hosted by Policy Exchange, a U.K.-based think tank, McMaster also summarized the main threats to American national security as “revisionist powers,” including China and Russia, who undermine international order and stability, and ignore rule of law; “rogue regimes,” including North Korea and Iran, who support terror and pursue weapons of mass destruction; and “transnational terrorist organizations” including radical Islamist groups who constantly seek new ways to attack the United States.

“Geopolitics are back, and back with a vengeance, after this holiday from history we took in the so-called post-Cold War period,” McMaster said.  McMaster characterized Russia as threatening the United states with “so-called new generation warfare,” sophisticated campaigns of subversion and propaganda “attempting to divide our community.” McMaster did not specifically mention Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election.

McMaster described China’s economic aggression as a threat that is “challenging the rules-based economic order that helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” and suggested the way to deal with these two threats was “competitive engagement.”

“We have to compete effectively across new domains,” he said. “I think in many ways we evacuated a lot of competitive space in recent years and created a lot of opportunities for those revisionist powers,” McMaster said.

This strategy of “competitive engagement” reflects the idea of American prosperity being a national security interest. “The U.S. and U.K. cannot serve as serve as a force for peace and stability in the world if we are not economically and fiscally secure,” McMaster said, suggesting re-negotiations of trade deals will be a major facet of the national security strategy.

On North Korea, McMaster called for all nations to go beyond the current United Nations Security Council resolutions, to take what he described “might be our last best chance to avoid military conflict.”
McMaster also touched on the Iran strategy, repeating President Trump’s goals to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities beyond those prohibited by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal.

McMaster echoed the message Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson have taken abroad, calling for NATO members to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense per year.

McMaster outlined a few key phrases that could be used to sum up the new national security strategy, including “competitive engagement,” “strengthen alliances through, in part, reciprocity,” “catalyze reforms that are necessary,” “ensure the U.S. is confident,” and “preserve this world order that has lifted so many out of poverty and maintained this world order for 70 years.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Doug Jones counting on Alabama's African-American voters

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Alabama's Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones arrived to greet diners at Martha’s Place Buffet and Catering around lunch time on the eve of election day and found the largely African-American crowd at the Montgomery restaurant pleased he had stopped by.

Roxanna Wingard, a local school bus driver, was inside having lunch when Jones, who is facing off against Republican Roy Moore in today's special election, came over.

"I think it was really nice for him to come in, he didn’t look over nobody,” she told ABC News Monday.

Wingard said she was voting for Jones the first chance she had and would bring a “boat load” of people with her.

“We are going to do this. We are going to win this,” Wingard said, predicting a Jones victory. “We are going to make history. It is time for a change.”

Jones has been working hard over the last few months to rally Alabama's African-American voters like Wingard, who tend to vote Democratic. He has enjoyed support on the ground from African-American leaders such as former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and New Jersey senator Cory Booker.

Former President Barack Obama even recorded a robocall for Jones that the campaign put to work in the final days.

"Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress," Obama says in the robocall, as first reported by CNN. "Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama."

Many of the diners at Martha's Monday said unequivocally they planned to vote for Jones and had seen him at other campaign events.  African-American turnout will be crucial for Jones as Moore has continued to garner strong support from white, evangelical voters. Voters in more rural communities have especially stood by Moore during this tumultuous campaign, marred by sexual misconduct allegations against Moore that he denies.

Moore’s past controversial statements also haven’t helped his standing with African-American voters, who make up 26.8 percent of Alabama's population, according to a 2016 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Although the makeup of Alabama's electorate is uncertain, a Fox News poll released Monday showed likely white voters prefer Moore over Jones by 55-35 percent. The same poll showed 83 percent of minority voters likely to cast ballots said they would vote for Jones.

In building support for Jones, Alabama's only congressional Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell, criticized Roy Moore as a candidate who would “only take us backwards” if elected.

“We who have been proud Alabamians know that we have been trying to overcome our painful past, and this candidate will only take us backwards and harken us back to the days of segregation,” Sewell said on ABC News' “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Kayla Moore, Roy Moore's wife, fired back Monday at accusations her husband holds negative views of African-Americans.

“We have many friends that are black and we also fellowship with them in church and in our home,” she said as she introduced her husband at a campaign rally.

While voting in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Jones was asked about his efforts to appeal to black voters.

"It is only natural the African-American community rally behind someone who has been there for them,” Jones told reporters.

Jones then pointed to his record. A former federal prosecutor, Jones had pursued a 30-year-old case against two members of the Ku Klux Klan responsible for the infamous 1963 Civil Rights era bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

A middle-aged white woman who works at a car dealership in Montgomery said she was voting for Jones because he can represent everyone from Alabama and not just an extreme few.

“I think he is a good man and I think he can represent all of Alabama well,” Betty Ann Lloyd told ABC News, but added she thought a majority of Alabama voters would disagree with her.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Feds in 'heightened posture' over hackers who may target Alabama election

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal officials are in "a heightened posture" looking to thwart any hackers who may be targeting Tuesday's hotly contested Senate race in Alabama, where allegations of sexual misconduct against the Republican nominee, Roy Moore, have upended a once-presumed Republican victory, according to a top Homeland Security official.

Tuesday morning, officials from the Department of Homeland Security held a "coordination call" with state and local counterparts in Alabama, and similar conference calls are expected throughout the day, said Chris Krebs, who is acting as the undersecretary for DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Hoping to become the next U.S. senator from Alabama, Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney.

During the presidential campaign last year, cyber-thieves successfully stole voter-related information from the Illinois election system, and more than 20 other states had their systems scanned by hackers.

"We learned our lessons last year," Krebs told reporters Tuesday, warning that the hackers "will be back."

That's why authorities have made cybersecurity for states "a priority going forward" and are taking steps Tuesday to help state and local election officials in Alabama, according to Krebs.

"They know we’re here to assist," Krebs said. "We've been working with them kind of 'Game Day' planning for quite some time now."

He noted that a "protective security adviser" and a "cybersecurity adviser" from DHS are in Montgomery, Alabama, sitting "side by side" with state officials. DHS took similar steps last month, helping state officials in Virginia and New Jersey keep tabs on the cybersecurity of special elections for governor in their states.

Krebs emphasized that DHS is only there to offer "services and support."

"States manage their elections; that is a constitutional truism," he said. "We’re not getting in the way of that."

Instead, DHS offers states "a range of services," including "cyber hygiene scans" that regularly check state or local government systems for issues or vulnerabilities, he said. "For me it's a no-brainer. ... It doesn't cost anything to the states. It's free, and [it's] just a good insurance policy."

Krebs said he is "not aware" of any cyber-activity targeting today's election in Alabama.

"What I’m worried about is undermining the broader confidence in the vote," he said. "My [ideal] outcome is ensuring the American people have confidence that their vote matters when they show up to vote -- whether it's at a state, a mayor, county commissioner or for president."

As for DHS boots on the ground in Alabama, Krebs said: "We're not necessarily looking for anything. What we are doing is providing them technical support in the event that over the course of the day they see something. ... If there is something to detect, how do we respond? How do we ensure the integrity of the vote from a security perspective? How do we communicate with the people of Alabama?"

He said that if cyber-related issues arise, it's important to make sure Alabamans hear from a "trusted voice" and have confidence that their vote counts.

Speaking with reporters, Krebs also said he was "really excited" that last night the House passed its version of the "Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act," which he said clarifies certain questions surrounding federal efforts on cybersecurity.

In particular, Krebs praised the legislation for proposing a change to his department's name.

"'National Protection Programs Directorate,' or 'NPPD,' doesn’t really tell you much of what we do," he noted. "'The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency' does. The sign on the tent tells what we do."

He's now working with the Senate to make it into law, and he hopes that will happen "sooner rather than later," he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Trump’s legal team wants second special counsel to probe FBI, DOJ for conflicts

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Lawyers for President Donald Trump are pushing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the FBI agents who are working on the Russia probe as well as officials at the Department of Justice for any possible conflicts of interest.

The move comes after an FBI agent who had worked with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team was removed from the investigation this past summer for exchanging texts that could be viewed as anti-Trump.

It also comes amid a Fox report that a Department of Justice official allegedly met with individuals behind the infamous Trump dossier who were working with a firm that employed his wife.

"The Department of Justice and FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests. These new revelations require the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate,” Jay Sekulow a member of the president’s legal team told ABC News.

Sekulow was referring to both the FBI and DOJ cases, although in the latter, it was unclear if there was any connection to the Mueller investigation.

Though the move could be seen as an attack on Mueller, the president’s attorneys have stressed they have no issues with the former FBI director, who is a Republican and was appointed to his current post by a nominee of Trump's.

In the FBI case, a counterintelligence agent, Peter Strzok, was removed from the Russia probe after the discovery of text messages sent by the agent that were viewed as potentially anti-Trump. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, has said Strzok was removed from the team "immediately upon learning of the allegations."

Trump seized on the news, saying in a tweet that the FBI’s “reputation is in tatters.”

During a recent Congressional hearing with FBI Director Chris Wray, House Republicans used Strzok’s situation to question the integrity of federal investigations, including the probe being led by Mueller.

Strzok has spent much of his law enforcement career working counterintelligence cases, and he has been widely praised by federal law enforcement officials who spoke with ABC News. He reportedly left Mueller’s team in late July and is now working for the FBI's human resources division.

The FBI has declined to comment on Strzok.

In the second case, Fox reported that the wife of a DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, worked for the firm behind the infamous anti-Trump dossier, Fusion GPS.

According to the report, Ohr met last year with the author of the dossier. The alleged meeting occurred several months before Mueller was appointed special counsel, and it is unclear if Ohr has any connections to the Mueller-led investigation.

Asked why Ohr was meeting with representatives from Fusion, a DOJ official told ABC News “he’s known these guys for a very long time,” but didn’t specify what the meeting was about. Ohr has been removed from his post in the deputy attorney general's office, but still remains in the Department of Justice. He has been cleared to testify as requested, per the DOJ.

Sessions told Fox News Tuesday he has “put a Senior Attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me, if things aren’t being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met, and the recommended one should be established.”

The call though for a second special counsel is not entirely new.

Last month, the Justice Department disclosed that Sessions had ordered department attorneys to review other matters related to last year's election and determine whether they should be further investigated, either by the FBI or a special counsel.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Trump attacks Gillibrand after call for his resignation, suggests she'd 'do anything' for campaign contributions

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is attacking Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in retaliation for suggesting he resign in the face of sexual harassment allegations made by multiple women.

Over a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual harassment and assault in the years before he was president. Trump has denied the allegations.

Trump called the Democratic senator from New York a "lightweight,” a "total flunky" for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and suggested she would “do anything” for campaign contributions.

"Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!" Trump tweeted.

Gillibrand called Trump's tweet a "sexist smear" and said thoroughly investigating the allegations against him is "the right thing to do."

"It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice and I will not be silenced on this issue and neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday," Gillibrand said on Capitol Hill today.

ABC News reached out to the White House for clarification about the president's remarks but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Gillibrand also responded to the president's tweet with her own this morning.

"You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office," Gillibrand wrote on Twitter.

Gillibrand is one of six senators - five Democrats and one independent - who have called for the president's resignation yesterday and today.

"President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign," Gillibrand said in an interview with CNN Monday.

In the past week, three longtime U.S. congressmen from both parties -- Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan -- announced their resignations after they were accused of sexual misconduct. All three men had previously denied the accusations made against them.

The Senate Ethics Committee and the House Ethics Committee have launched investigations into the allegations made against their respective members, Senator Franken, Representative Franks, and Representative Conyers.

On Tuesday, Melinda McGillivray, one of the women accusing the president of sexual harassment and assault, joined Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Samantha Holvey in calling for a congressional investigation into Trump.

“I demand that he is subjected to an investigation by the ethics committee. It's important that we hold this man to the highest standards. If sixteen women have come forward, why hasn't anything been done? Where is our investigation? I want justice,” McGillvray said on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today.”

McGillivray first went public with her allegations in the Palm Beach Post during the campaign. McGillivray claimed that Trump grabbed her rear end in 2003 when she was attending a concert at Mar-a-Lago.

The White House responded to the three women (Leeds, Crooks and Holvey) initially calling for a congressional investigation in a statement Monday.

"These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory," the White House said in a statement. "The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them."

The calls for a congressional investigation into Trump are also being echoed among 56 female Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Democratic Women’s Working Group - led by Democratic Representatives Lois Frankel of Florida, Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, and Jackie Speier of California - said it plans to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to call for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate the allegations against Trump.

The group of Democratic female lawmakers sent a letter signed by all its members to Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Frankel announced Monday.

"We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump," the letter read.

Trump accused Democrats of using “false” and "fabricated” allegations as a way to attack him since they have “been unable to show any collusion” between him and Russia in the 2016 presidential election, which is the focus of a special counsel investigation.

"Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!" Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Roy Moore's wife defends him against anti-Semitism claims: 'One of our attorneys is a Jew'

ABC News(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- Kayla Moore, the wife of Alabama Senate GOP candidate Roy Moore, refuted accusations that her husband holds anti-Semitic views and accused the media of slandering him.

“The fake news –- they paint him a different picture, their picture. So let me tell him who he is,” Kayla Moore said while introducing her husband at a campaign rally in Midland City, Alabama Monday night.

Moore then launched into a defense of her husband’s character, arguing that he doesn't hold any negative views of Jewish people, women or African Americans.

“Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews,” Kayla Moore said. “I tell you all this because I’ve seen it all so I just want to set the record straight while they’re here.”

“One of our attorneys is a Jew,” Kayla Moore added. “We have very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them.”

Moore also told the crowd that they “have many friends that are black and we also fellowship with them in church and in our home.”

Republican candidate Roy Moore faces off against Democratic candidate Doug Jones in the Alabama special election today to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Kayla Moore seemed to be responding to the criticism against Roy Moore’s comments about billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish and a Holocaust survivor.

In an interview with a Christian broadcasting radio network, Roy Moore had suggested that Soros, a major Democratic donor, would be going to hell for his religious beliefs. Moore had accused Soros of funding the eight women who have made sexual misconduct allegations against Moore.

“No matter how much money he’s got, [Soros is] still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going. And that’s not a good place,” Roy Moore said in an interview last Monday with American Family Radio.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Dec122017

Moore tells accusers to 'tell the truth' while making final appeal to voters

Joe Buglewicz/Stringer/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, told the women accusing him of sexual misconduct to "tell the truth" as he made a final push to woo voters ahead of the state's general election on Tuesday.

At his final rally on Monday night, Moore appeared to target the eight women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. When asked during the rope line to address the claims, Moore, who has denied the allegations levied against him, told ABC News' Tom Llamas the women should "tell the truth."

"The fake news began after I [had an] 11-point lead in the general election,” Moore told supporters from the stage in Midland City, Alabama. “But they waited till 30 days before this general election to come forward. Now they've allowed their pictures to be on a political advertisement, and they've gone on national television arguing their case, after waiting 40 years.”

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who also spoke at Monday’s rally, used his time on stage to go after fellow Republicans -- including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee -- who denounced Moore in the wake of the misconduct allegations.

"There's a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better. You know what they're doing and they're trying to shut up President Trump and Judge Moore, they're trying to shut you up,” Bannon said.

“Why do you think the whole world's here, why do you think they're down here in Dothan in the middle of Alabama? You know why, this is about raw power," he added.

 Many Republicans on Capitol Hill have urged Moore to step aside, despite having Trump’s backing.

The president recorded a robocall over the weekend urging voters to stand with Moore.

"Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our 'Make America Great Again' agenda," Trump said on the call. "Roy is a conservative who will help me steer this country back on track after eight years of the Obama disaster. Get out and vote for Roy Moore."

Moore was pushing to raise money as late as Monday afternoon, when he singled out frequent Trump opponent Rosie O'Donnell as a supporter of Democrat Doug Jones.

 Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, is set to face off with Jones, a former U.S. attorney, on Tuesday. The race is forecast to be a tight one.

A Fox News poll released Monday shows Jones leading by 10 points, while a Washington Post/George Mason University poll released earlier this month had Jones with a 3 point lead.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Tuesday
Dec122017

Doug Jones hosts NBA legend Charles Barkley for rally night before Alabama election

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Alabama senatorial candidate Doug Jones bolstered his campaign with a big endorsement the night before Tuesday's runoff -- literally. Jones brought out 6-foot-6 Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley for the final rally of his campaign on Monday night in Birmingham.

Barkley, a native of Leeds, Alabama, and regular supporter of Democrats, pushed Jones as the smart voter's choice for Senate from the state.

"At some point we have got to stop looking like idiots to the nation," Barkley said.

Barkley slammed Jones' opponent, Roy Moore, as well as former Trump administration official Steve Bannon, who was campaigning with Moore across the state in Midland City, Alabama.

"How can that man be in the lead?" he said, referencing Moore.

The latest polls have Jones and Moore running neck-and-neck for the win. The special election is being held to find a replacement for current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017.

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by eight women when he was in his 30s and, in some cases, when the women were in their teens. Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations. He did so again Monday night, saying, "The fake news began after I [had an] 11-point lead in the general election."

Barkley's harshest words may have actually been for Bannon, who supported Moore throughout the primary -- opposite Donald Trump, who supported Moore's opponent Sen. Luther Strange -- and now during the general election. He's been a regular at rallies.

"Only in Alabama could you send a white nationalist, separatist, who don't believe in race mixing to come to Alabama three times and get cheered at a Roy Moore rally," Barkley said of Bannon. "That is crazy. Look at all these races here ... and this guy wants to stand up and say he don't believe in race mixing. That is crazy."

Barkley is a regular on the political circuit in Alabama, mentioning several times since his retirement from the NBA he would be interested in running for governor. He supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and was an outspoken opponent of Trump in 2016.

Jones joined Barkley on stage, joking with the Auburn legend over Jones being a University of Alabama graduate.

The candidate reiterated a familiar appeal to putting "decency and our state before political party."

Jones' crescendo moment came about midway through his speech. He said it was time for the state to say, "No more putting people down, no more discrimination. ... It is time we say, no more!" The crowd started chanting, "No Moore!" in a play on Jones' phrase.

Actress Alyssa Milano, who was at the forefront of the #metoo campaign on Twitter to bring attention to victims of sexual abuse, and "Orange is the New Black" star Uzo Aduba both joined Jones on stage as well.

"Generations to come will feel the effects of what is going on in Alabama right now," Milano told ABC News' Stephanie Ramos. "To me this election is more than Democrat and Republican, it is about right vs. wrong."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio