B3fcbygfyul3rihsge5b

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

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday said he does not think the “threshold” has been met to appoint a special counsel to look into matters related to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

“You can investigate something without special counsel,” Gowdy said on Fox News. “There is a threshold that has to be met, and I don’t think it has been met.”

During a House Judiciary hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) grilled Attorney General Jeff Sessions about what it would take to get a special counsel investigation into the so-called Trump dossier and various Clinton-related accusations.

Sessions on Tuesday pushed back, and told Jordan that there must be a “factual basis” to appoint a special counsel.

“‘Looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel,” Sessions said. “You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it meets the standard that requires a special counsel.”

Gowdy said he did not sign a letter Republican lawmakers sent Sessions asking for a special counsel’s appointment to investigate those matters.

“Jim Jordan is a great friend. I have tremendous respect for him. I didn’t sign the letter, because I don’t think the threshold has been met for an appointment of special counsel,” he said. “To say we’re not going to appoint special counsel is not to say we aren’t going to look into anything.”

Read More →

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday withdrew from a joint fundraising agreement with Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore after five women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

According to a Federal Election Commission filing, the RNC was no longer listed as a member of the fundraising agreement with Moore’s Senate campaign as of Tuesday.

Politico reported, citing an unnamed senior party official briefed on the decision, that the committee is also canceling a field program and will no longer give money to the Senate race.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) dropped its fundraising agreement with Moore last week, and NRSC chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Monday called on the Senate to “expel” Moore if he refuses to withdraw from the race and wins.

Four women alleged last week that Moore pursued them sexually while they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One woman said that Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 years old. A fifth woman on Monday accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 years old.

Read More →

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday announced that the House will adopt “mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training” for lawmakers and staff after a hearing earlier Tuesday on a bill that would make such training mandatory.

“Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all Members and staff,” Ryan said in a statement.

He said Tuesday’s hearing “was another important step in our efforts to combat sexual harassment and ensure a safe workplace” and said that “harassment in any form has no place in this institution.”

“I want to especially thank my colleagues who shared their stories,” Ryan said. “We will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment.”

During a hearing by the House Administration Committee on Tuesday, Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA), both women, said several men who are current members of Congress have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Comstock said she heard a story from a trusted source about a male lawmaker who answered the door wearing only a towel to a female staffer delivering documents to his home. The lawmaker then invited the staffer inside and exposed himself to her, according to Comstock.

Speier said she heard allegations this year of interns getting propositioned for sex and “victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor,” and will introduce a bill later this week to reform the current process for reporting sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.

Read More →

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday announced he will give away hundreds of Keurig coffeemakers to fans of his show, who have been smashing the machines en masse in protest of the company’s decision to pull advertising from the conservative commentator’s show.

“To all of my supportive and devoted fans of the show, I am giving away 500 Keurig machines as a thank you for always standing by me,” Hannity tweeted. “We accept the apology of the Keurig CEO, and look forward to enjoying a nice cup of apolitical Joe.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the contest was closed, according to Hannity’s site.

Diehard fans of Hannity’s show posted videos of themselves smashing their Keurig machines over the weekend after Keurig announced it was pulling ads from Hannity’s show over his coverage of sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Hannity cheered on the destruction over the weekend, but urged fans to leave their Keurigs intact after the coffee maker company’s CEO Bob Gamgort on Monday said it was “unacceptable” for the social media team to broadcast the company’s decision to yank ads.

Despite Hannity’s claim, Gamgort did not apologize to Hannity. In a letter to staff obtained by the Washington Post, the CEO apologized to employees “for any negativity” they experienced as a result of the announcement.

Read More →

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday said he has “no reason to doubt” the women accusing Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually pursuing them when they

“I have no reason to doubt these young women,” Sessions said in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Sessions previously represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Moore is the Republican nominee in the race to fill Sessions’ old seat.

Four women last week accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 years old — two years younger than the age of consent in Alabama — when Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her.

A fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, on Monday  alleged that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old and attempted to force her to have sex with him.

Moore has denied the allegations and remains in the race, amid Republican officials’ calls for him to step down.

Asked whether the Department of Justice would consider a federal review of the allegations against Moore if he wins his Senate race, Sessions said, “We will do our duty.”

Read More →

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday said allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore are “credible,” and he called on Moore to step down from the race.

“He should step aside,” Ryan said at a press conference with House Republican leaders. “Number one, these allegations are credible. Number two, if he cares about the values and the people he claims to care about, then he should step aside.”

Four women last week accused Moore of sexually pursuing them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old.

A fifth woman on Monday alleged that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. Beverly Young Nelson said Moore attempted to force her to have sex with him, and said she thought he was going to rape her.

Moore has denied all the allegations and remains in the race.

Read More →

Two more Republican senators on Monday joined a flood of lawmakers calling for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore to drop out of his race amid allegations that Moore sexually pursued teenage girls while he was in his 30s.

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) on Monday said the Senate must “act to protect the integrity” of the chamber if Moore does not drop out.

“Roy Moore should immediately drop out of the race,” Young tweeted. “If he does not step aside, we need to act to protect the integrity of the Senate.”

He said the allegations that five women have made against Moore are “far more persuasive” than Moore’s denial that he ever engaged in such behavior.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) also called on Moore to “immediately withdraw from the race.”

Tillis’ and Young’s comments came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on Monday for Moore to “step aside.” Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) also called for Moore to withdraw from the race after McConnell’s remarks, and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Monday called on the Senate to “expel” Moore if he refuses to withdraw and wins the race.

A fifth woman came forward Monday with allegations of misconduct against Moore. Beverly Young Nelson told reporters that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager and left bruises on her neck when she resisted.

Moore has denied the allegations against him.

Read More →

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Monday called on the Senate to “expel” Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore if he refuses to withdraw from the race and wins in December.

In a statement, Gardner said Moore is “unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office.”

“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” Gardner said.

Gardner said the women accusing Moore of sexually pursuing them while he was in his early 30s and they were teenagers “spoke with courage and truth.”

A fifth woman on Monday accused Moore of pursuing sex with her when she was a teenager. Beverly Young Nelson alleged that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old and left bruises on her neck when she resisted his attempts to push her head toward his crotch.

“I was terrified,” Nelson said in a press conference. “I thought that he was going to rape me.”

Four other women last week alleged that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) dropped its joint fundraising agreement with Moore last week in the wake of the allegations, which Moore has denied. His supporters have jumped to his defense while elected Republicans have hurried to distance themselves from Moore and called on him to drop out.

Read More →

Brett J. Talley, a lawyer with no trial experience who is nevertheless President Donald Trump’s pick for a lifetime federal district judgeship, did not disclose to the Senate that he is married to a senior lawyer who is chief of staff to the White House counsel.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Talley did not disclose his marriage to Ann Donaldson, chief of staff to top White House lawyer Don McGahn, either in his Senate questionnaire or during his nomination process.

Talley did not name Donaldson in response to a question on the questionnaire asking him to list any “family members or other persons, parties, categories of litigation, and financial arrangements that are likely to present potential conflicts-of-interest.”

Democratic lawmakers have harshly criticized Donaldson’s nomination to a lifetime position, based on the 36-year-old lawyer’s total lack of trial experience and the fact that the American Bar Association has rated him “not qualified.”

“How can you claim to be qualified for a lifetime appointment to supervise federal trials on a daily basis when you have never yourself tried a single case?” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Talley in another written questionnaire.

In response, Talley cited his other legal work and said, “If I am confirmed, I will work diligently to supplement that experience in areas where I have less familiarity.”

In response to a question about the judicial offices he has held, Talley responded on his Senate questionnaire, “I have never held judicial office.”

In the questionnaire’s subsection on trial experience, he left all further questions unanswered.

Read More →

LiveWire