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Wake Up To Politics - November 14, 2017

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Tuesday, November 14, 2017. 357 days until Election Day 2018. 1,086 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com. Tell your friends to sign up to receive the newsletter in their inbox at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe!

Fifth Woman Accuses Moore of Sexual Misconduct

An Alabama woman — Beverly Young Nelson, 56 — on Monday accused Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 years old and he was 30, joining four other women who have alleged that Moore made romantic or sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers.

At a televised press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, Nelson said that she met Moore when she was a waiter at a local restaurant he frequented. She said that one day in December 1977, Moore offered to drive her home after work. She accepted, trusting him because of his position at the time as District Attorney of Etowah County. Instead, he drove her behind the restaurant.

"Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts. I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch," Nelson said on Monday. "I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face."

Before allowing her to leave the car, Nelson says that Moore told her: "You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. If you tell anyone about this no one will believe you."

Continued fallout: Moore continued to face pressure from Senate Republicans to step down on Monday. "I believe the women," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared, adding of Moore: "I think he should step aside." Other GOP lawmakers have raised the possibility of a write-in campaign, by either Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) or Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or of expelling Moore if he wins the December 12 special election. One senator, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), has even said he would prefer Moore's Democratic opponent, ex-prosecutor Doug Jones.

Moore has remained defiant, denying the allegations and tweeting that McConnell is "the person who should step aside."

Keep up with all 52 Republican senators and their latest response to the Moore allegations with this spreadsheet I made. The latest count: nine calls for Moore to withdraw, 21 calls for Moore to withdraw "if the allegations are true," five have withdrawn their endorsements of Moore, five have mentioned a write-in campaign, four have mentioned taking action against Moore if he wins, six have yet to respond...

Congressional hearings: Sessions, nuclear weapons, gun control

Sessions: Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee at 10am today. While the hearing is ostensibly on "Oversight of the Department of Justice," Sessions is expected to face questioning related to the Russia probe.

Sessions has previously told congressional panels that he is unaware of any interactions between Russian officials and Trump campaign surrogates, a claim that came into question when the plea agreement between Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Special Counsel Robert Mueller was released.

According to documents unsealed in late October, Papadolopus discussed setting up a meeting between Trump and Putin at a meeting of the campaign's foreign policy team led by Sessions. A week after the Papadolopous unsealing, another member of the foreign policy team, Carter Page, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that he told Sessions about his now-controversial trip to Moscow during the campaign.

Sessions will likely be grilled by Democratic lawmakers on these interactions, as well as his involvement in President Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey and other issues. Sessions' appearance before the House Judiciary Committee comes a day after Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd released a letter to chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) responding to his request for the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate various Hillary Clinton-related scandals, including the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One sale.

The letter revealed that Sessions "has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate" those issues and consider the appointment of a Special Counsel. Less than two weeks ago, President Trump tweeted that "at some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper" and investigate the Clinton scandals, widely seen as an attempt to influence Sessions.

Sessions has been in a tenuous position in the Trump Administration for months due to his recusal from the Russia probe; according to the New York Times, Sessions believes he "might be able to forestall the president's firing him by appointing a special counsel to investigate the uranium deal."

Nuclear weapons: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing today on "Authority to Order the Use of Nuclear Weapons," chaired by chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), a leading Trump critic. The panel will hear testimony from retired Air Force general C. Robert Kehler, former Commander of U.S. Strategic Command; Dr. Peater Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University; and former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon.

According to USA TODAY, the hearing is "the first time in more than four decades that the panel or its House counterpart has specifically reviewed the issue of the president’s powers to order a nuclear attack." Announcing the hearing amid a stare-down between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (both armed with nuclear weapons), Corker called it "long overdue."

Gun control: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a 10am hearing today on "Firearm Accessory Regulation and Enforcing Federal and State Reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS)." The hearing addresses two issues raised by recent mass shootings: the legality of bump stocks, the firearm accessory used by Stephen Paddock in the Las Vegas massacre last month; and the process of reporting to the federal background check system, after the Air Force revealed that it failed to report Teas church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley to the system despite his bad conduct discharge, which should have prevented him from passing background checks to purchase firearms.

Sexual harrasment: The House Administration Committee holds a 10am hearing on "Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Congressional Workplace," as lawmakers and staff members have come forward about their experiences. The panel will hear testimony from Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL), as well as the House Employment Counsel and the chair of the congressional Office of Compliance.

Russia probe: Trump Jr. messaged with WikiLeaks

Via the Washington Post:

"President Trump’s eldest son exchanged private messages with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign at the same time the website was publishing hacked emails from Democratic officials, according to correspondence made public Monday."

"Donald Trump Jr. did not respond to many of the notes, which were sent using the direct message feature on Twitter. But he alerted senior advisers on his father’s campaign, including his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to two people familiar with the exchanges."

"In the messages, WikiLeaks urged Trump Jr. to promote its trove of hacked Democratic emails and suggested that President Trump challenge the election results if he did not win, among other ideas. They were first reported by the Atlantic and later posted by Trump Jr. on Twitter."

"WikiLeaks, which bills itself as an anti-secrecy group, was described in April by CIA Director Mike Pompeo as a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Menendez trial: Deadlocked jury

Via CNN:

"A federal jury in New Jersey informed the judge Monday that it is deadlocked on all 12 counts in Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption case. Judge William Walls ordered the seven-woman, five-man jury home for the day to 'clear their heads' and return Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET..."

"...The New Jersey Democrat faces charges of conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud related to abusing the power of his office. Prosecutors say the senator accepted more than $600,000 in political contributions, a luxurious hotel suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris and free rides on a private jet from a wealthy ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in exchange for political favors."

"Last week, a dismissed juror predicted a hung jury."

The President's Day

After participating in the East Asia Summit in Manila, Philippines early this morning, President Donald Trump is currently returning stateside, as of this publication. Trump departed Manila at 2:20am, and is set to arrive in Hickam, Hawaii at 12:15pm. He will then depart Hickam for Washington, D.C., scheduled to touch down at the White House at 10:45pm.

With that arrival, Trump's 12-day sojurn to Asia concludes, after visiting five nations (Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines) and participating in three international summits (APEC, ASEAN, and the East Asia Summit).

Today in Congress

The Senate: The upper chamber will continue debate on the nomination of Stephen Gill Bradbury to be General Counsel to the Transportation Department, with a confirmation vote possible today. Bradbury headed the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel during President George W. Bush's second term, serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 2004 to 2009 and as Acting Assistant Attorney General from 2005 to 2007.

According to Reuters, "Bradbury was one of the principal authors of the legal justifications for 'enhanced interrogation techniques' called the 'torture memos' by critics."

Bradbury's nomination was advanced in a 50-47 vote on Monday, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) returning to Washington to join Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and all 48 Democrats in voting "nay" due to the "torture memos."

Tax reform: The Senate Finance Committee continues marking up the Senate GOP tax bill, as the House GOP marches towards a Thursday vote on their competing plan to overhaul the tax code. According to reports, both chambers are confident about passage of their legislation. The one wildcard: President Donald Trump.

"We're getting close!" Trump tweeted on Monday, before raising a laundry list of objections, calling for repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate and a top tax rate of 35% (neither goal is met by the House or Senate plan).

All times Eastern