Posts Tagged ‘Luther Strange’

West Virginia Election: Coal Man Don Blankenship Says He is “Trumpier than Trump”

May 7, 2018

Don Blankenship said on Monday that he is “Trumpier than Trump” in response to a tweet from the president urging West Virginians to support the GOP Senate candidate’s primary opponents.

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“As some have said I am Trumpier than Trump, and this morning proves it,” Blankenship, a former mining CEO, said in a statement responding to a tweet from Trump.

“The President is a very busy man and he doesn’t know me, and he doesn’t know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary,” Blankenship said. “The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the U.S. Senate and promote the President’s agenda.”

Blankenship also said he had resurrected the GOP in West Virginia.

“West Virginia voters should remember that my enemies are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and my opponents would not even be running as Republicans had I not resurrected the Republican Party in West Virginia,” he said.

Trump tweeted on Monday that West Virginians should support either West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey or Rep. Evan Jenkins in the GOP primary over Blankenship, a former coal executive who was convicted of violating mine safety and health standards.

Republicans fear that if Blankenship won the primary, he would almost certainly lose to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in November. They also think he could cause collateral damage on other GOP candidates.

Blankenship, who was in prison for a year after his conviction, has been surging in recent polling.

The Republican establishment has responded by fiercely pushing against his nomination.

Republicans fear that Blankenship’s nomination could be a repeat of last year’s Alabama special election where Roy Moore beat the more moderate Luther Strange for the Republican nomination only to be beaten by the Democratic candidate Doug Jones after allegations broke that Moore had sexually assaulted underage women.

The West Virginia primary will take place on Tuesday.



Trump Says Bannon ‘Lost His Mind’ After Leaving White House

January 3, 2018


By Alex Wayne and Jennifer Jacobs

 Updated on 
  • President breaks from strategist considered campaign architect
  • Bannon is said to have disparaged Trump and his family

President Donald Trump denounced his former top strategist, Steve Bannon, on Wednesday, saying that he ‘lost his mind’ after leaving the White House last summer.

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“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said of Bannon in a statement the White House issued. “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”

The statement represented an emphatic break from the person considered the architect of Trump’s presidential campaign. Bannon continued to enjoy access to the president after he left the White House, but that has ended, one person familiar with the matter said.

Earlier on Wednesday, New York Magazine published excerpts of a forthcoming book by author Michael Wolff in which Bannon criticizes Trump’s campaign as well as the president and his family. The Guardian published excerpts of the book in which Bannon predicts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will “crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV” over the president’s son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.

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Bannon also called Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the lawyer, in which he expected to receive damaging information on Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton, “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” according to the Guardian.

Statement from the President of the United States:

Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.

Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans.

Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.

Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.

We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.

Bannon, reached by Bloomberg News, declined to comment on the remarks published by the Guardian.

In his 265-word statement, Trump went on to indict Bannon for some of his activities at the White House and afterward. He blamed him for the loss of a Republican Senate seat in Alabama in a special election last month and accused him of leaking to news reporters while he served as the White House chief strategist.

“Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country,” Trump said. “Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.”

Bannon backed former state Supreme Court justice Roy Moore over Trump’s preferred candidate, incumbent Senator Luther Strange, in a primary election for the Alabama seat. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in the special election after several women accused him of sexual misconduct while they were teenagers.

“Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was,” Trump said. “It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”

In addition to Wolff’s book, titled “Fire and Fury: Inside Trump’s White House,” Bannon was the subject of a best-selling book published last year by Bloomberg Businessweek writer Joshua Green, “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency.”


Adelson Backs Mitch McConnell, Refuses to Side With Steve Bannon on Dumping Establishment Republicans

November 14, 2017
 NOVEMBER 14, 2017 09:22


The Adelsons are supporting Mitch McConnell, according to a spokesman.

Sheldon Adelson speaks during an inteview

Sheldon Adelson speaks during an inteview. (photo credit:REUTERS/TYRONE SIU)

WASHINGTON — Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate, will not back Steve Bannon’s planned challenges to establishment Republican senators.

“The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,” Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman told Politico on Monday, referring to Adelson and his wife, Miriam. “They are supporting Mitch McConnell,” the Kentucky senator who is the Senate majority leader, “100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.”

Bannon, President Donald Trump’s strategic adviser from January to August, had praised Adelson lavishly at a gala dinner Sunday organized by the Zionist Organization of America, one of an array of right-wing pro-Israel groups heavily backed by Adelson. Adelson was not present at the dinner.

Bannon, has since returned to his old job, helming Breitbart News.

He is still close to the president, and has vowed to mount primary challenges to all but one incumbent Republican in the 2018 midterm elections, as well as to establishment picks in the 25 races where Republicans will challenge Democrats. Eight Republicans are up for reelection. Bannon’s exception among the incumbents is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The announcement comes as Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in a special election next month for Alabama’s Senate seat, is engulfed in allegations he sexually assaulted teenagers nearly 40 years ago when he was in his 30s. Bannon had backed Moore against McConnell’s pick, Sen. Luther Strange.

Jewish leaders whom Adelson is close to last month excoriated McConnell when his former aides mounted a campaign against Bannon, alleging that he was an antisemite and a bigot.


Reaction to Washington Post Report on Roy Moore in Alabama: “We did not find one voter who believed the Washington Post report.” — Local ABC News Affiliate

November 11, 2017

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By Jeff Poor

During a segment that aired on Friday’s broadcast of Birmingham, AL ABC affiliate WBMA 33/40’s 5 p.m. local news, political reporter Lauren Walsh sought out voters in Columbiana, AL to gauge their reactions to the Washington Post report that alleged Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore engaged in inappropriate conduct with four teenage girls more than 34 years ago.

None of the respondents according to Walsh told her they believed the Post’s reporting.

“It’s hard to believe the events that transpired yesterday,” Gordon Fluker of nearby Wilsonville, AL said to Walsh about the Washington Post report.

Fluker’s response was the standard according to Walsh.

“Out of all the voters we spoke with Friday in Columbiana, we didn’t find one voter who believed the Washington Post report about Moore,” she said.

Columbiana is the county seat of Shelby County, a county that is the home to many of Birmingham’s southern suburbs. The county is very Republican, and in last year’s presidential election, it went for Donald Trump by a 72-23 percent margin.

In the GOP primary and the subsequent runoff for next month’s special election won by Moore, Shelby County went for his opponent Luther Strange in both instances.

Strange defeated Moore by nine points in the GOP primary held in August. In the runoff a month later, Strange topped Moore by a 55-45 margin.

Moore faces Democrat candidate Doug Jones on December 12 for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

Republican candidate accused of abusing teen denies sexual misconduct

November 11, 2017


© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / by Michael Mathes | A woman has come forward in a Washington Post report to accuse Roy Moore, the Republican US Senate candidate from Alabama, of initiating sexual contact with her when she was 14 years old

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A Republican Senate candidate reported to have sexually abused a 14-year-old girl lashed out at his accusers Friday, calling their allegations a “dangerous lie” that would harm real victims of molestation.Roy Moore — a former state judge and Christian evangelical whose defense of a Ten Commandments display brought him national attention — added he had “never engaged in sexual misconduct.”

The issue has reverberated through Washington weeks ahead of a crucial Senate election in which the conservative Republican party is hoping to hold on to its slim 52-48 seat majority.

Four women, speaking on the record, told The Washington Post that Moore pursued them when they were 18 or younger, while he was in his early thirties working as an assistant district attorney.

According to the Post, Leigh Corfman, now 53, said when she was 14 Moore took her into his house in the woods near Gadsden, Alabama, removed her shirt and pants, and fondled her over her bra and underpants.

Moore guided her to touch him through his underwear, she said.

“I wasn’t ready for that,” Corfman told the Post.

Now 70, the anti-establishment conservative faces Democrat Doug Jones in a special Senate election December 12 to replace Jeff Sessions, who became US attorney general earlier this year.

“I have never engaged in sexual misconduct,” he said in a statement issued Friday that went beyond his campaign’s earlier simple denial.

He also turned on his accusers, saying: “I cannot understand the mentality of using such a dangerous lie to try to personally destroy someone.”

“False allegations are gravely serious and will have a profound consequence on those who are truly harassed or molested,” he added.

– Republicans divided –

He also appeared on conservative media personality Sean Hannity’s radio show to rebut the story.

Asked whether he remembered dating women in their teens when he was in his 30s, he said: “Not generally no.”

He added: “I don’t remember that, or dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”

Earlier, President Donald Trump issued a statement that appeared to equivocate on the matter, saying Moore should step aside if the claims proved true, while adding that a mere allegation should not destroy the Alabama politician’s life.

“Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said aboard Air Force One, before the president landed in Vietnam for a summit.

“However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside,” she said.

The accusations by the four women reverberated through Washington, with many traditional Republicans withdrawing their support for Moore — though he has received considerable support in his native Alabama and from former Trump advisor Stephen Bannon.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. At least a dozen other Republicans followed suit.

Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, declared the allegations “disqualifying” for Moore and called on him to immediately leave the race.

But in Alabama, state auditor Jim Zeigler brushed off the allegations.

He told the Washington Examiner “there is nothing to see here” — and referred to the Bible as a defense.

“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Zeigler told the conservative news outlet. “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.”

Steve Bannon, a former strategist for Trump who has supported Moore since he announced his candidacy, told Bloomberg News: “This is nothing less than the politics of personal destruction,” adding: “They need to destroy him by any means necessary.”

– Hugging and kissing –

The Post said it interviewed more than 30 people, including mothers and friends of the girls.

It detailed how Gloria Thacker Deason was 18 in 1979 when she and 32-year-old Moore began going on dates where they hugged and kissed, she told the Post.

Another woman, Wendy Miller, said she first met Moore when she was dressed as an elf and working as a Santa’s helper at a shopping mall.

Later, in the presence of her mother, he asked her out on dates when she was 16. Her mother said no, and Miller said she realized years later that the idea of a grown man wanting to date a teenager was “disgusting.”

Moore could have faced prison time, but the statute of limitations has expired, the Post reported.

A darling of US evangelical Christians, Moore had a controversial career as a judge, notably for refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments in his court house.

He was twice suspended from his state’s supreme court for ethics violations related to his order against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and has written that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress.

by Michael Mathes

Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32

November 9, 2017


By Stephanie McCrummenBeth Reinhard and Alice Crites
The Washington Post
November 9, 2017


Leigh Corfman, left, in a photo from 1979, when she was about 14. At right, from top, Wendy Miller around age 16, Debbie Wesson Gibson around age 17 and Gloria Thacker Deason around age 18. (Family photos)

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

This undated family photo shows Leigh Corfman with her mother, Nancy Wells, around 1979 when Corfman was about 14 years old. (Family Photo)

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.

In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations.

“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore, now 70, said.

The campaign said in a subsequent statement that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced during his previous campaigns, adding “this garbage is the very definition of fake news.”

According to campaign reports, none of the women have donated to or worked for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, or his rivals in the Republican primary, including Sen. Luther Strange, whom he defeated this fall in a runoff election.

Corfman, 53, who works as a customer service representative at a payday loan business, says she has voted for Republicans in the past three presidential elections, including for Donald Trump in 2016. She says she thought of confronting Moore personally for years, and almost came forward publicly during his first campaign for state Supreme Court in 2000, but decided against it. Her two children were still in school then and she worried about how it would affect them. She also was concerned that her background — three divorces and a messy financial history — might undermine her credibility.

“There is no one here that doesn’t know that I’m not an angel,” Corfman says, referring to her home town of Gadsden.

Corfman described her story consistently in six interviews with The Post. The Post confirmed that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through divorce records. Moore’s office was down the hall from the courtroom.

Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.

“I have prayed over this,” Corfman says, explaining why she decided to tell her story now. “All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”

This account is based on interviews with more than 30 people who said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982, when he served as an assistant district attorney for Etowah County in northern Alabama, where he grew up.


Moore was 30 and single when he joined the district attorney’s office, his first government job after attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, serving in Vietnam, graduating from law school and working briefly as a lawyer in private practice in Gadsden, the county seat.

By his account, chronicled in his book “So Help Me God,” Moore spent his time as a prosecutor convicting “murderers, rapists, thieves and drug pushers.” He writes that it was “around this time that I fashioned a plaque of The Ten Commandments on two redwood tablets.”

“I believed that many of the young criminals whom I had to prosecute would not have committed criminal acts if they had been taught these rules as children,” Moore writes.

Outside work, Moore writes that he spent his free time building rooms onto a mobile home in Gallant, a rural area about 25 miles west of Gadsden.

According to colleagues and others who knew him at the time, Moore was rarely seen socializing outside work. He spent one season coaching the Gallant Girls, a softball team that his teenage sister had joined, said several women who played on the team. He spent time working out at the Gadsden YMCA, according to people who encountered him there. And he often walked, usually alone, around the newly opened Gadsden Mall — 6 feet tall and well-dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, say several women who worked there at the time.

Corfman describes herself as a little lost — “a typical 14-year-old kid of a divorced family” — when she says she first met Moore that day in 1979 outside the courtroom. She says she felt flattered that a grown man was paying attention to her.

“He was charming and smiley,” she says.

After her mother went into the courtroom, Corfman says, Moore asked her where she went to school, what she liked to do and whether he could call her sometime. She remembers giving him her number and says he called not long after. She says she talked to Moore on her phone in her bedroom, and they made plans for him to pick her up at Alcott Road and Riley Street, around the corner from her house.

“I was kind of giddy, excited, you know? An older guy, you know?” Corfman says, adding that her only sexual experience at that point had been kissing boys her age.

She says that it was dark and cold when he picked her up, and that she thought they were going out to eat. Instead, she says, he drove her to his house, which seemed “far, far away.”

“I remember the further I got from my house, the more nervous I got,” Corfman says.

She remembers an unpaved driveway. She remembers going inside and him giving her alcohol on this visit or the next, and that at some point she told him she was 14. She says they sat and talked. She remembers that Moore told her she was pretty, put his arm around her and kissed her, and that she began to feel nervous and asked him to take her home, which she says he did.

Soon after, she says, he called again, and picked her up again at the same spot.

“This was a new experience, and it was exciting and fun and scary,” Corfman says, explaining why she went back. “It was just like this roller-coaster ride you’ve not been on.”

She says that Moore drove her back to the same house after dark, and that before long she was lying on a blanket on the floor. She remembers Moore disappearing into another room and coming out with nothing on but “tight white” underwear.

She remembers that Moore kissed her, that he took off her pants and shirt, and that he touched her through her bra and underpants. She says that he guided her hand to his underwear and that she yanked her hand back.

“I wasn’t ready for that — I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one,” Corfman says.

She remembers thinking, “I don’t want to do this” and “I need to get out of here.” She says that she got dressed and asked Moore to take her home, and that he did.

The legal age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16. Under Alabama law in 1979, and today, a person who is at least 19 years old who has sexual contact with someone between 12 and 16 years old has committed sexual abuse in the second degree. Sexual contact is defined as touching of sexual or intimate parts. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The law then and now also includes a section on enticing a child younger than 16 to enter a home with the purpose of proposing sexual intercourse or fondling of sexual and genital parts. That is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for bringing felony charges involving sexual abuse of a minor in 1979 would have run out three years later, and the time frame for filing a civil complaint would have ended when the alleged victim turned 21, according to Child USA, a nonprofit research and advocacy group at the University of Pennsylvania.

Corfman never filed a police report or a civil suit.

She says that after their last encounter, Moore called again, but that she found an excuse to avoid seeing him. She says that at some point during or soon after her meetings with Moore, she told two friends in vague terms that she was seeing an older man.

Betsy Davis, who remains friendly with Corfman and now lives in Los Angeles, says she clearly remembers Corfman talking about seeing an older man named Roy Moore when they were teenagers. She says Corfman described an encounter in which the older man wore nothing but tight white underwear. She says she was firm with Corfman that seeing someone as old as Moore was out of bounds.

“I remember talking to her and telling her it’s not a good idea,” Davis says. “Because we were so young.”

A second friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing her job, has a similar memory of a teenage Corfman telling her about seeing an older man.

After talking to her friends, Corfman says, she began to feel that she had done something wrong and kept it a secret for years.

“I felt responsible,” she says. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.”

She says that her teenage life became increasingly reckless with drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16.

As the years went on, Corfman says, she did not share her story about Moore partly because of the trouble in her life. She has had three divorces and financial problems. While living in Arizona, she and her second husband started a screen-printing business that fell into debt. They filed for bankruptcy protection three times, once in 1991 with $139,689 in unpaid claims brought by the Internal Revenue Service and other creditors, according to court records.

In 2005, Corfman paid a fine for driving a boat without lights. In 2010, she was working at a convenience store when she was charged with a misdemeanor for selling beer to a minor. The charge was dismissed, court records show.


This undated photo shows Gloria Thacker Deason when she was about 18. (Family photo)

The three other women who spoke to The Post say that Moore asked them on dates when they were between 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.

Gloria Thacker Deason says she was 18 and Moore was 32 when they met in 1979 at the Gadsden Mall, where she worked at the jewelry counter of a department store called Pizitz. She says she was attending Gadsden State Community College and still living at home.

“My mom was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay out later with Roy,” says Deason, who is now 57 and lives in North Carolina. “She just felt like I would be safe with him. . . . She thought he was good husband material.”

Deason says that they dated off and on for several months and that he took her to his house at least two times. She says their physical relationship did not go further than kissing and hugging.

“He liked Eddie Rabbitt and I liked Freddie Mercury,” Deason says, referring to the country singer and the British rocker.

She says that Moore would pick her up for dates at the mall or at college basketball games, where she was a cheerleader. She remembers changing out of her uniform before they went out for dinners at a pizzeria called Mater’s, where she says Moore would order bottles of Mateus Rosé, or at a Chinese restaurant, where she says he would order her tropical cocktails at a time when she believes she was younger than 19, the legal drinking age.

“If Mother had known that, she would have had a hissy fit,” says Deason, who says she turned 19 in May 1979, after she and Moore started dating.

This undated family photo shows Wendy Miller around the time she was 16. (Family photo)

Around the same time that Deason says she met Moore at the jewelry counter, Wendy Miller says that Moore approached her at the mall, where she would spend time with her mom, who worked at a photo booth there. Miller says this was in 1979, when she was 16.

She says that Moore’s face was familiar because she had first met him two years before, when she was dressed as an elf and working as a Santa’s helper at the mall. She says that Moore told her she looked pretty, and that two years later, he began asking her out on dates in the presence of her mother at the photo booth. She says she had a boyfriend at the time, and declined.

Her mother, Martha Brackett, says she refused to grant Moore permission to date her 16-year-old daughter.

“I’d say, ‘You’re too old for her . . . let’s not rob the cradle,’ ” Brackett recalls telling Moore.

Miller, who is now 54 and still lives in Alabama, says she was “flattered by the attention.”

“Now that I’ve gotten older,” she says, “the idea that a grown man would want to take out a teenager, that’s disgusting to me.”

This undated family photo shows Debbie Wesson Gibson when she was about 17. (Family photo)

Debbie Wesson Gibson says that she was 17 in the spring of 1981 when Moore spoke to her Etowah High School civics class about serving as the assistant district attorney. She says that when he asked her out, she asked her mother what she would say if she wanted to date a 34-year-old man. Gibson says her mother asked her who the man was, and when Gibson said “Roy Moore,” her mother said, “I’d say you were the luckiest girl in the world.”

Among locals in Gadsden, a town of about 47,000 back then, Moore “had this godlike, almost deity status — he was a hometown boy made good,” Gibson says, “West Point and so forth.”

Gibson says that they dated for two to three months, and that he took her to his house, read her poetry and played his guitar. She says he kissed her once in his bedroom and once by the pool at a local country club.

“Looking back, I’m glad nothing bad happened,” says Gibson, who now lives in Florida. “As a mother of daughters, I realize that our age difference at that time made our dating inappropriate.”


By 1982, Moore was by his own account in his book causing a stir in the district attorney’s office for his willingness to criticize the workings of the local legal system. He convened a grand jury to look into what he alleged were funding problems in the sheriff’s office. In response, Moore writes, the state bar association investigated him for going against the advice of the district attorney, an inquiry that was dismissed.

Soon after, Moore quit and began his first political campaign for the county’s circuit court judge position. He lost overwhelmingly, and left Alabama shortly thereafter, heading to Texas, where he says in his book that he trained as a kickboxer, and to Australia, where he says he lived on a ranch for a year wrangling cattle.

He returned to Gadsden in 1984 and went into private law practice. In 1985, at age 38, he married Kayla Kisor, who was 24. The two are still married.

A few years later, Moore began his rise in Alabama politics and into the national spotlight.

In 1992, he became a circuit court judge and hung his wooden Ten Commandments plaque in his courtroom.

In 2000, he was elected chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, and he soon installed a 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument in the judicial building.

In 2003, he was dismissed from the bench for ignoring a federal court order to remove the monument, and became known nationally as “The Ten Commandments Judge.”

Moore was again elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012, and was again dismissed for ignoring a judicial order, this time for instructing probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Roy Moore speaks during the annual Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit in Washington on Oct.13. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

All of this has made Moore a hero to many Alabama voters, who consider him a stalwart Christian willing to stand up for their values. In a September Republican primary for the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Moore defeated the appointed sitting senator, Luther Strange, who was backed by President Trump and other party leaders in Washington. Moore faces the Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, in a special election scheduled for Dec. 12.

On a visit home in the mid-1990s to see her mother and stepfather in Alabama, Corfman says, she saw Moore’s photo in the Gadsden Times.

“ ‘Mother, do you remember this guy?’ ” Wells says Corfman said at the time.

That’s when Corfman told her, Wells recalls. Her daughter said that not long after the court hearing in 1979, Moore took her to his house. Wells says that her daughter conveyed to her that Moore had behaved inappropriately.

“I was horrified,” Wells says.

Years later, Corfman says, she saw a segment about Moore on ABC News’s “Good Morning America.” She says she threw up.

There were times, Corfman says, she thought about confronting Moore. At one point during the late 1990s, she says, she became so angry that she drove to the parking lot outside Moore’s office at the county courthouse in Gadsden. She sat there for a while, she says, rehearsing what she might say to him.

“ ‘Remember me?’ ” she imagined herself saying.

Corker Stands by Comments About Trump Stability, Competence

October 1, 2017


By Mark Niquette

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  • Retiring U.S. senator makes statements in NBC interview
  • Republican says president fueling voter resentment in party

Republican Senator Bob Corker said he stands by his comments that Donald Trump hasn’t shown the stability or competency to succeed as president, and that Trump’s criticism of Republican congressional leaders is fueling resentment within the party.

Senator Corcker

Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc. via Getty Images

Corker, a former Trump ally who announced on Sept. 26 that he won’t seek re-election in 2018 as a Tennessee Senator, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press’’ on Sunday that Trump has made positive changes in the White House with new chief of staff John Kelly, responded well to hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida, and showed courage in changing his position on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan.

But Corker said he’s not backing off his critique of Trump following the president’s response to a violent white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The country needs for him to be — the world needs for him to be — successful,’’ Corker said, according to a transcript provided by NBC. “I’m seeing changes. But I made the comment. I stand by the comments I made at the time.’’

Corker also said the president “mocking the leadership on both sides of the aisle’’ in Congress fueled Republican resentment that helped Roy Moore defeat U.S. Senator Luther Strange – who was backed by both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — in a primary runoff election on Sept. 26.

“I hope that the election of the type of candidate that was elected there doesn’t say that much about the Republican Party,’’ Corker said of Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice who was removed twice as chief justice for refusing to follow federal court rulings. “I think it’s more about the resentment that people have towards the fact that they don’t see Washington solving problems.”

Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also had a warning about North Korea’s expanding nuclear program, saying the standoff with the U.S. is “moving to a place where we’re going to end up with a binary choice soon.’’

“There’s got to be a diplomatic breakthrough of some kind here,’’ Corker said. “I mean, while all this is happening, they’re getting stronger, and stronger and stronger and developing better and better technology.’’


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Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.)

Conservative victory in Alabama deepens split among Republicans, as insurgents challenge incumbent senators — Republicans and Democrats Aim To Throw the Senate Out

September 28, 2017
  Los Angeles Times

Roy Moore’s upset victory in the Alabama Senate primary sent shock waves through the Republican establishment Wednesday, portending a GOP civil war as outsider candidates in other states threaten to challenge incumbents.

The potential showdowns are reminiscent of the tea party uprising that just a few years ago cost Republicans the majority in the Senate. Now President Trump’s populist rise to power — honed by his former advisor Stephen K. Bannon — has generated a new wave of long-shot candidates capable of upending the 2018 midterms.

In Mississippi, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who met with Bannon to consider challenging two-term incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker, called the results in Alabama “a great awakening.”

“The GOP establishment’s stranglehold on American politics is finally coming to an end. It should encourage conservative challengers all across the republic,” he said. “The environment couldn’t be any better.”

Arizona’s Kelli Ward, who is challenging Sen. Jeff Flake, said after Alabama she felt “inspired and motivated.”

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Jeff Flake

“Voters elected President Trump to shake up the status quo and get big things accomplished,” she said.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is another incumbent who faces a challenge by a candidate, Danny Tarkanian, with potential backing from Bannon’s allies.

And in Tennessee, incumbent Sen. Bob Corker’s sudden retirement, announced hours before the polls closed in Alabama, sent several potential candidates scrambling for what promises to be an intense primary.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans braced for more incumbents to resign rather than face challenging nomination fights.

As a result, Republican professionals who until recently felt that their control of the Senate was secure because the states holding elections in 2018 mostly lean red have started to worry. The departure of incumbents and the rise of candidates who Democrats easily can attack as extreme might put their majority at risk, they fear. At minimum, the new wave of challengers likely means more money spent and a Senate Republican Caucus that will lean further right, and be harder to control, after the next election.

“You’re going to see in state after state after state people who follow the model of Judge Moore,” Bannon told a cheering crowd at Moore’s election night party in Montgomery. They are candidates “that do not need to raise money from the elites, from the crony capitalists, from the fat cats in Washington, D.C., New York City, in Silicon Valley,” he said.

The night before the election, Bannon specifically denounced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has also been the target of Trump’s anger for the Senate’s failure to pass key elements of his agenda.

“Mitch McConnell and this permanent political class is the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country,” he told a crowd of Moore’s supporters. “They think you’re a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes.”

In the aftermath of Moore’s victory, Bannon’s allies continued to press that theme. “This is a repudiation of the Republican establishment,” said Andy Surabian, an ally of Bannon’s and now senior advisor at the Great America Alliance, which backed Moore’s campaign and is looking at other races.

“It’s a win for Trump and an absolute rejection of Mitch McConnell and the establishment.”

More establishment-oriented Republican strategists cautioned against reading too much into the outcome in Alabama, noting that special circumstances helped shape the race: Moore benefited from Luther Strange’s appointment to the Senate by a governor who named him just before resigning his own job in the midst of scandal. And Moore has a long history in Alabama politics, which gave him what one Republican strategist described as a “cult-like following” of evangelical Christians that is unlikely to be replicated.

As the former chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, Moore was dramatically removed from the bench in 2003 for refusing to take down a display of the Ten Commandments at the courthouse. After being reelected by voters, he was suspended in 2015 for failing to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling favoring same-sex marriages. He ultimately resigned.

Longtime Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) downplayed the ability of outsiders like Bannon to shape statewide races or claim credit in Alabama.

“I don’t know if he’s on Moore’s wagon,” Shelby said in an interview ahead of the election, “or if he’s creating a wagon for Moore.”

Still, the Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee allied with McConnell, poured $9 million into the race, mainly on attack ads, but failed to dent Moore’s ramshackle campaign.

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Mitch McConnell

That’s an indication of the limits of the establishment’s weapons, some Republican strategists suggested.

“Steve Bannon has declared war on the establishment, and so far he has one scalp on the rail,” said Rick Tyler, a Republican campaign consultant who previously worked for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “I would suspect he can do very well in Tennessee and the other states, and his patrons appear to be ready to part with their dollars to make that happen.”

The danger signal for Republican leaders is that even as Trump mused publicly and privately about being blamed for Strange’s loss — at a rally ahead of election day Trump suggested he may have made a mistake and endorsed the wrong candidate — the race in Alabama turned into a referendum on the failure of the GOP majority in Congress to deliver on the president’s agenda.

McConnell, in particular, loomed large as a symbol of the Republican logjam in Congress. The majority leader has become a favorite punching bag for conservative grass-roots challengers who take aim at their own party.

Republican leaders allied with McConnell are gearing up for a fight, much as they did to block the rise of tea party candidates in 2014 whom they saw as popular in primaries, but unable to win statewide general elections.

At the same time, they were rushing Wednesday to embrace Moore, determined not to give Democrats an opening in a red state such as Alabama in an election cycle in which Republicans were hoping they could spend their money on offense against incumbent Democratic senators.

“I urge all of our friends who were active in the primary to redouble their efforts in the general election,” McConnell said late Tuesday, after Moore’s victory, in a message to supporters.

The Democratic candidate in Alabama, former federal prosecutor Doug Jones, who is known in the state for having won convictions against former Ku Klux Klan leaders after reopening an investigation into the bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, hit the campaign trail Wednesday greeting the lunchtime crowd at a popular diner in downtown Birmingham.

The general election in Alabama, which takes place in mid-December, remains a long shot for Democrats — the Deep South state hasn’t elected a Democratic senator in 25 years — but Moore’s nomination now gives Jones a chance to peel away centrist Republicans who don’t share his far-right views. Democrats are likely to step up their efforts. Former Vice President Joe Biden is headed to Alabama to campaign for Jones.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden

“There’s an energy, I think, right now for change that we haven’t seen in this state in decades,” Jones said in a recent interview at his campaign headquarters in Birmingham.

“They’re realizing that a one-party state just hasn’t worked… and they’re looking for a little bit of political checks and balances.”

But Moore is also preparing for the fight ahead, well aware that his race has set the tone for those to come.

“Washington is watching this very closely because it’s a prelude to the 2018 elections,” Moore said after a campaign rally in Florence, in the far northern part of the state. “There’s a lot of people in these states – out West and across the South and the midsection — they’re waiting to see if someone can take on the Washington establishment. For better or worse, I’ve taken on the Washington establishment — or they’ve taken me on.”


Roy Moore Wins Alabama’s GOP Senate Primary

September 27, 2017


  • Sen. Luther Strange conceded the Alabama primary runoff just after 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Roy Moore has been a lightning rod for controversy for more than a decade

Montgomery, Alabama (CNN) — Roy Moore, the bombastic evangelical Christian who was twice ousted as Alabama’s chief justice, has beaten Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican primary, CNN projected Tuesday.


Moore’s win is sending shockwaves through the GOP establishment — including at the White House, where President Donald Trump had poured his own political capital into helping Strange survive.
As of 11:10 p.m. ET, Moore had 55% of the vote to Strange’s 45%, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, with 92% of precincts reporting.
At his victory party, Moore said he’d spoken Tuesday night with Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas. He also offered a national audience a glimpse of his religious-themed rhetoric.
“We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” Moore said.
“I believe we can make America great, but we must make America good,” he said. “And we cannot make America good without acknowledging the sovereign source of that goodness … which is almighty God.”
Strange conceded shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time, 9:30 p.m. ET.
“I am especially grateful for the support of President Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as the strong example set by my friends Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions. I congratulate Roy Moore on the result this evening,” Strange said in a statement. “May God be with him and may God continue to bless Alabama and the United States of America.”
Trump, who campaigned for Strange last week and has tweeted in support of his candidacy, congratulated Moore on Twitter.
“Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” he tweeted.
Moore later tweeted that he spoke to Trump, who endorsed his opponent, after his victory tonight.
He tweeted, “Great to talk with President Trump tonight about #ALSen! I very much look forward to working with the President to win in December!”
A source familiar with the call confirmed they spoke, saying Trump congratulated Moore on the victory.
It sets the stage for a spate of intra-party bouts in 2018’s midterm elections. Already, conservative outsiders in Nevada, Arizona and elsewhere say they see in Moore’s win a roadmap they can follow. And, like Moore, they have support from Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House chief strategist who has portrayed the contests as rebukes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and congressional leadership that has failed to enact Trump’s agenda.
Moore now faces Democratic nominee Doug Jones in a December general election in the race to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Moore’s win Tuesday night will thrust his long history of homophobic and racially tinged remarks into the spotlight.
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See also:
Moore crushes Strange in Alabama Senate primary

NFL head: Trump’s ‘divisive comments’ show a ‘lack of respect’

September 23, 2017
NFL head: Trump's 'divisive comments' show a 'lack of respect'
© Getty

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump on Saturday for encouraging league owners to remove players who take a knee during the national anthem, saying Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.”

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

The NFL chief’s comments came the morning after Trump told a crowd at a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange (R) that NFL players will stop kneeling if fans left games.

“When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium,” Trump said. “I guarantee things will stop.”

Trump also said NFL owners should fire players if they refuse to stand during the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now,'” he continued, adding, “‘He is fired.'”

The comments came during a broader critique of the league’s actions, during which he also accused NFL referees of “ruining the game” by penalizing players who “hit too hard.”

“Today, if you hit too hard … 15 yards, throw him out of the game,” Trump said. “They are ruining the game, right?”

Multiple NFL players have fired back at Trump, with one Washington Redskins player telling him to “stay in your place” following his comments.

The head of the NFL Players Association, the union representing professional football players, also hit back at Trump, vowing the union “will never back down” from protecting players’s right to protest.

Trump has previously attacked NFL player Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem to protests the treatment of people of color in America, suggesting Kaepernick was still a free agent because he wouldn’t stand for the anthem.


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Marc Buoniconti, paralyzed since 1985, writes of football’s dangers

Football left Marc Buoniconti paralyzed from the shoulders down in 1985, but it was not until the past several years that he came to believe football might simply be too dangerous for human beings to play.


© AFP/File / by Marlowe HOOD | The brain scans detected lingering alterations in the white matter

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