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Sen. Collins: If Moore is elected, 'no choice but to seat him'

Sen. Collins: If Moore is elected, 'no choice but to seat him'
© Camille Fine

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (R-Maine) said Wednesday that the law prohibits the Senate from refusing to seat Roy Moore, the Alabama GOP candidate accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls, if the state's voters elect him next month.

Collins told reporters on Capitol Hill that she had studied the law, and that “we would have no choice but to seat him" were he to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the special election next month, according to a tweet from NBC's Frank Thorp.

The senator's comments come days after Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerFirst release from Fox News Books reaches No. 2 on Amazon top-seller list GOP lawmaker says colleagues 'waiting' for Trump to come to terms with loss GOP lawmaker: Trump implementing a 'loyalty purge' amid firing of top cybersecurity official MORE (R-Ill.) called on members of his party in the upper chamber to expel Moore from the Senate were he to win on Dec. 15. Democrats and Republicans alike have said that they believe an ethics investigation would be necessary for such an action to be taken.

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“I think Roy Moore needs to step aside now, these allegations are disgusting and I believe them," Kinzinger told CNN last Friday. "There's no way to defend this. And second, I think the Senate should say that they will refuse to seat him, or in fact expel him if he is the senator from Alabama."

Moore has repeatedly denied accusations from five women who say Moore pursued them when they were minors, with one woman saying Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old.

The former Alabama Supreme Court justice told Sean Hannity last week that the accusations were an effort from the Jones campaign and the media to derail his Senate bid.

Prior to the allegations, Moore was the favorite to win the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTime to bring federal employees home for every holiday Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 MORE, after defeating incumbent Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Sessions hits back at Trump days ahead of Alabama Senate runoff The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE (R-Ala.) in a primary runoff in September.

"I had nothing to do with this, this is a completely manufactured story meant to defrock this campaign," Moore told Hannity. "They are losing, they are 11 points behind, they don’t like my acknowledgment that there is a God."

"These allegations are completely false and misleading," he added.

Republicans are still hoping that President Trump can give them a way out and convince Moore to drop out of the race.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he has talked with the president about Moore and would continue conversations after Trump returns to Washington on Wednesday.

A senior Senate GOP aide said leaders want Trump to join them in pressing Moore to step aside, but it’s not clear whether Trump will pressure Moore to drop out, or if he has any interest in getting involved.