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GOP senator joins calls for ethics probe if Moore wins Senate election

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 MORE (R-N.C.) said Thursday that if Roy Moore is elected to the Senate next week, there should be an ethics investigation into the sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

Tillis said on Buzzfeed’s “AM to DM” Twitter morning show that he thinks an investigation should take place before the chamber moves to expel Moore or take other action.

"We need to examine the facts and let those facts lead us where they may,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Poll finds Dems prioritize health care, GOP picks lower taxes when it's time to vote The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan MORE (R-Ky.) has also called for an immediate ethics investigation if Moore wins the Alabama special election, while National Republican Senate Committee Chairman Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats must end mob rule GOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' Democrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die MORE (Colo.) has called for his expulsion from the Senate.

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Moore faces allegations from nearly 10 women who say he pursued them as teenagers when he was in his 20s and 30s, including multiple women who say he assaulted them. 

Tillis originally called for Moore to withdraw from the race and said Thursday that he still stands by that position, but added that until Moore is under the jurisdiction of the Senate, the decision is in the hands of Alabama voters.

"There’s Supreme Court precedent to say that we really don’t have the authority to deny him being seated,” he said. “But we do have jurisdiction over members, and we use an ethics investigation and then we look at what remedies come from that.”

Tillis also criticized colleagues who have stood by Moore on the basis that he will help advance the GOP agenda.

“Anyone that would say, ‘Yeah, he’s got problems but he’s a Republican vote’ really ought to rethink whether or not they should be in this institution,” he said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE threw his support behind Moore this week, saying that Alabama can’t have a “liberal person” like Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the Senate.

Following Trump’s endorsement, the Republican National Committee (RNC) reinstated its support of Moore, giving $170,000 to the Alabama Republican Party to help the campaign, after originally distancing itself from the candidate.

Gardner, the chairman of the Senate GOP's campaign arm, broke with Trump and the RNC on Thursday, saying "we will never" endorse Moore.

Also Thursday, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE (R-Wis.) repeated his calls for Moore to drop out of the campaign, regardless of polls showing a tight race with Jones. 

“I think he should have dropped out,” Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference. “Just because the polling has changed doesn’t change my opinion on that, so I stand by what I said before.”