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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 CollinsGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked 'Suspicious letter' mailed to Maine home of Susan Collins 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 KinzingerOvernight Defense: Officials rush to deny writing anonymous op-ed | Lawmakers offer measure on naming NATO headquarters after McCain | US, India sign deal on sharing intel Lawmakers introduce resolution to back naming NATO headquarters after McCain Satellite images raise alarms about North Korean nukes 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 SessionsDepartment of Justice right to go after Hezbollah Sessions defends media following disappearance of Saudi journalist Trump goes on 12-tweet Twitter tirade MORE, after defeating incumbent Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeTrump: 'I could pick a woman,' and she could be accused of misconduct Ann Coulter believes Kushner wrote anonymous op-ed bashing Trump Mulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost 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.