NEW YORK -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is discussing the idea of having Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed to his old Senate seat if Alabama GOP candidate Roy Moore wins election and is immediately removed from office, said a person familiar with the exchange.
McConnell raised the idea in a call on the GOP tax bill with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, the person said, adding that Pence didn't advocate for or against the idea. The person said McConnell also floated the idea of Sessions running as a write-in candidate for the seat.
Five women have said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was a county prosecutor, and two of them have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct.
McConnell said publicly on Monday that the former Alabama judge should drop out of the Senate race to fill the seat vacated by Sessions when he became attorney general. McConnell said he thought a write-in campaign was a possibility, and other Republicans, including Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, have backed the idea of the Senate voting to expel Moore if he wins.
It's too late to remove Moore's name from the ballot under Alabama law. If Moore wins, senators could vote to expel him, which under the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote. Then the governor of Alabama could appoint a temporary replacement, such as Sessions or current Alabama Sen. Luther Strange.
A person close to Sessions said Monday that he has told people at home in Alabama that he's not interested in returning to his old Senate seat. Sessions said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday that he has "no reason to doubt" Moore's accusers.
President Donald Trump will discuss with aides how the White House and Republicans should deal with their embattled Senate candidate, an administration official said Tuesday. Trump is currently on a flight back from a 12-day trip to Asia and has said he will comment further on the allegations against Moore after he returns to the U.S.
The White House issued a statement on Friday saying that Trump believes Moore should step aside "if these allegations are true."
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