The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
© Greg Nash

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fallout from Roy Moore allegations | Alabama official uses Mary, Joseph to defend Moore | GOP retirements threaten House majority | Senate unveils tax bill | Key differences with House blueprint | Melania visits pandas at Beijing zoo | Stephen Bannon look-alike | Latest Twitter changes



Fallout over Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations: The Washington Post's Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites published a bombshell investigation about the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, alleging he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old, Leigh Corfman, when he was 32 years old. Three other women also accused him of pursuing relationships when they were teens. The full story is worth reading if you haven't:

Context on the report: "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's response: He's denied all of the allegations and said he will not stand down. "These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign," Moore said Thursday.

When's the election: Dec. 12

What the race looked like before yesterday's bombshell: The RealClearPolitics average had Moore up by 6 points.

Can Moore be replaced on the ballot?: "Moore's name will appear on the ballot -- it's too late to switch it out for the Dec. 12 election -- but there's certainly still a chance for Republicans to launch a write-in campaign."

Can Moore still be charged?: "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 ... Corfman never filed a police report or a civil suit."


Republican senators -- step down 'if': A cascade of Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.), have called for Moore to step aside if the allegations are true.

Except Sen. McCain, who went further: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) went the furthest of Senate Republicans on Thursday, calling on Moore to immediately step down.

From the White House, step down 'if': White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that President Trump does not believe "a mere allegation" from many years ago should "destroy a person's life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."

Wow from Mitt Romney: "Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside." Keep in mind: Romney is mulling a 2018 Senate run in Utah, according Politico.

But Moore also has defenders. This defense is pretty stunning: "Alabama auditor defends accusation Roy Moore at 32 had sexual contact with a 14 year old girl by saying 'Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.'"

^^ Context from CNN's religion editor: "I've covered religion for a long time. Never heard anyone use the Holy Family to defend statutory rape before. Almost surreal."

From an Alabama state rep -- charge the accusers: State Rep. Ed Henry (R) argues that the accusers should be prosecuted because he finds their story unbelievable. "If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can't be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion," Henry said.

Happy Friday -- tomorrow is Veterans Day. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.



Why the GOP should start recruiting at the D.C. networking happy hours: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Scott Wong, a retirement wave has hit House Republicans, threatening their majority and emboldening Democrats who have become increasingly bullish about their prospects of winning back a majority in 2018. The numbers for context: 29 Republicans will not seek reelection to their House seats, compared to only 11 for Democrats. Fifteen Republicans are retiring outright, rather than seeking other political offices or positions. Only two Democrats are doing the same.

Latest with tax reform -- differences to know: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, here's a list of the key differences between House Republicans' tax reform bill and the Senate's newly released counterpart:

Full text of the Senate's tax reform bill: It's 247 pages long.

Full text of the House's tax reform bill: It's 429 pages long. 

It's not you, it's Twitter...: Via The Hill's Ali Breland, Twitter announced it would temporarily stop verifying users (the blue check mark) out of concern over how its verification process is interpreted. "Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance," the company tweeted on Thursday. "We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it." What sparked this: The decision comes less than one day after outcry over Twitter's decision to verify Jason Kessler, the white supremacist who organized the August "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned violent.

ANOTHER CHANGE TO TWITTER: The company tweeted, "Starting today, your Twitter display name can be up to 50 characters in length! Go ahead, add that middle name or even a few more emojis."

Latest from the president's Asia trip -- I love the zoo!: First lady Melania Trump finished the solo portion of her trip to China on Friday with a visit to the Beijing Zoo. What she did: She spent some time at the Beijing Zoo's panda exhibit, getting the opportunity to interact behind the scenes with a panda "goodwill ambassador of the zoo" named Gu Gu. After leaving the zoo, Trump visited the Great Wall, where she took in the view from a watchtower. Where was Trump: In Vietnam.



I love pumpkin spice just as much as the next guy, but has gone TOO far:


Lol, I bet this guy has great stories:

Here's the story in the photo:



The House and Senate are out.

President Trump is in Vietnam. Sunday, he heads to the Philippines. His schedule:

Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

Fun fact: According to NBC News, Vice President Pence regularly speaks with former Vice Presidents Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Trump: Why didn't Obama 'do something about Russian meddling?' 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states MORE and Dick Cheney to exchange ideas and advice.

Saturday: President Trump attends two APEC economic leaders retreats in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Sunday: Breitbart News head Stephen Bannon is speaking to the Zionist Organization of America, his first public appearance booked since leaving the White House.



Tuesday: The Hill is hosting an event on digitalizing infrastructure featuring Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoAt least Alzheimer’s research is bringing Washington together Overnight Tech: Intel chief says 'no doubt' Russia will meddle in midterms | Dems press FCC over net neutrality comments | Bill aims to bridge rural-urban digital divide | FCC to review rules on children's TV Senators offer bill to close rural-urban internet divide MORE (R-W.Va.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands). Details and how to RSVP: Livestream:



Today is National Vanilla Cupcake Day. Tomorrow is National Sundae Day.

Guys, I really thought you deserve to know this: Every month, the National Aquarium of New Zealand selects a good penguin of the month and a bad one. The best part: There's a sign explaining why. Lol, this photo:

And because you've almost made it to the weekend, here's a baby who keeps falling asleep while taking a bath. The reactions are great: 


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