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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, on Sunday said that if allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore were not “credible,” President Donald Trump would be actively campaigning for him.

“You work for the President. Does the President believe the women or not?” George Stephanopoulos asked Short on ABC News’ “This Week.”

“Obviously, George, if he did not believe that the women’s accusations were credible he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore. He has not done that,” Short replied.

He said Trump “has concerns about the accusations, but he is also concerned that these accusations are 38 years old.”

The earliest accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump himself are barely older than that; one woman told the New York Times in October 2016 that Trump groped her on a flight “more than three decades earlier.”

“I don’t think you have seen him go down there and campaign for him. I don’t think you have seen him issue an endorsement. You have not seen him issue robocalls,” Short said. “You should certainly be able to infer by the fact that he has not gone down to support Roy Moore his discomfort in doing so.”

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President Donald Trump on Sunday said he “should have left” three UCLA basketball players in custody in China because one of the player’s fathers suggested Trump did not have much to do with his son’s release.

“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted. “I should have left them in jail!”

LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, a UCLA freshman who was detained in Hangzhou following allegations of shoplifting, on Friday said “Who?” when asked about Trump’s involvement in his son’s release from custody.

“What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Trump on Wednesday tweeted, “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!”

All three players thanked Trump and publicly apologized on Wednesday, a day after they returend to Los Angeles.

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Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has no plans to resign after a radio host accused him of forcibly kissing and groping her years ago, according to a spokesperson.

“No,” a spokesperson for Franken told the Star Tribune on Saturday. “He is spending time with his family in Washington, D.C., and will be through the Thanksgiving holiday.”

According to the spokesperson, Franken is “doing a lot of reflecting.”

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles anchor, on Thursday alleged that Franken “aggressively” kissed her while they were rehearsing for an USO tour in 2006 and later groped her while she was sleeping, an act documented in a photograph she posted.

Franken apologized to Tweeden in two separate statements, asked the Senate for an ethics investigation into himself and said he will “gladly cooperate” with such a probe. Senators in both parties joined his call for an investigation.

Tweeden said she did not come forward “to have him step down.”

“I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the Senate, you know, I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide,” she said on Friday. “I just wanted him to understand what he did was wrong.”

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Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin on Sunday said he “didn’t realize” photographs of himself and his wife, actress Louise Linton, holding a sheet of the first $1 bills to bear Mnuchin’s signature, would be posted online.

“I didn’t realize that the pictures were public and going on the internet and viral,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said that “people have the right to do that.”

“People can express what they want. That’s the great thing about social media today,” Mnuchin said. “People can say and communicate what they want.”

And communicate they did.

Jacquelyn Martin, the photographer, told the Associated Press that she “had a feeling that this would take off.”

“I knew for sure this image would get some interest,” she said.

“Some folks, and I’m looking at the picture here, which you can’t see, say that you two look like two villains from a James Bond movie,” Chris Wallace told Mnuchin. “What were you thinking?”

“I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie,” Mnuchin replied.

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Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said the White House is all right with taking a provision to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate out of Senate Republicans’ tax bill if the provision is “an impediment” to its passage.

“If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill, and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great,” Mulvaney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Mulvaney said that if the provision “becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re okay with taking it out.”

“So I think it’s up to the Senate and the House to sort of hammer out those details,” he said.

“As of now, do you think it’s an impediment?” Jake Tapper asked.

“I don’t, actually,” Mulvaney said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), one of three senators who voted against the Senate’s previous unsuccessful effort to repeal Obamacare, on Sunday said she has not yet decided whether to vote against the tax bill that includes the repeal provision.

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who voted against the Senate’s previous effort to repeal Obamacare, on Sunday said she has not yet decided whether she will vote against a tax bill that includes a provision repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate.

“I haven’t reached that conclusion yet, because I think there are going to be future changes,” Collins said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

She said “the biggest mistake was putting a provision from the Affordable Care Act into the Senate bill.”

“That’s not in the House bill,” Collins said. “And I hope that will be dropped.”

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Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said he finds allegations of sexual misconduct that multiple women have made against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore “credible,” but is not sure “who to believe.”

“Would you believe that the women who’ve come out against Roy Moore are credible?” Andrea Mitchell asked Mulvaney on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“I believe they’re credible. I don’t know who to believe,” Mulvaney replied.

Pressed on that apparent contradiction, he claimed Mitchell has “arrived at a certain conclusion because of a certain political persuasion.”

“I run the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C. You work for NBC News in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “My guess is we’ve not spent that much time looking at the specifics of these allegations.”

“I have no political ax to grind here other than to ask you whether you believe they are credible,” Mitchell replied.

“I believe that the folks who vote in the Alabama election are going to ultimately decide that,” Mulvaney said, returning to the White House line. “And that’s the right folks to make those decisions.”

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Sunday said she hopes Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who several woman have accused of sexual misconduct, “does not end up being” in the Senate.

“I’ve never supported Roy Moore and I hope that he does not end up being in the United States Senate,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Collins said it was “too early to say” whether the chamber would vote to expel Moore if he wins his race in November, but said she did not find his denials of the allegations against him “to be convincing at all.”

“I read his explanation, I listened to his radio interview,” she said. “So from my perspective, these are credible allegations against him.”

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Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, issued a subpoena in October to more than a dozen members of President Donald Trump’s campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, that Mueller requested documents and emails from a number of top officials on Trump’s campaign, but did not ask any of them to testify before his grand jury.

According to the report, the subpoena was a surprise to Trump’s campaign, which is providing documents on an “ongoing basis” in response.

A spokesperson for Mueller did not respond to the Wall Street Journal’s request for comment.

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Another woman on Thursday accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping her in 1992, when he was in office, during a photo op, according to a CNN report.

CNN reported that the woman, who requested that her name be withheld, was at a Michigan fundraiser for Bush’s re-election campaign and took a “family photo.”

The woman told CNN that everybody in the photo, including her father and herself, “got closer together” for the photo.

“It was like ‘Holy crap!'” she said, according to CNN, referring to the moment when Bush grabbed her rear. “It was like a gentle squeeze.”

The woman said that she smiled for the photo, according to the report, and told herself “it was probably an accident.” She told CNN that she reconsidered that evaluation after other women came forward with accusations against Bush.

“All the focus has been on ‘He’s old,'” she said. “OK, but he wasn’t old when it happened to me.”

Her ex-husband and best friend both told CNN that the woman told them about the incident shortly after it took place.

Bush’s spokesman Jim McGrath declined to comment to CNN on the woman’s allegation.

Six other women have accused the former President of grabbing them during a photo op. One woman, Roslyn Corrigan, said she was 16 years old when Bush inappropriately grabbed her.

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