Fox News host Sean Hannity has provided perhaps the most sympathetic media space for embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to respond to multiplying, credible allegations of his sexual misconduct toward girls as young as 14. It was on Hannity's show, for example, that Moore felt comfortable revealing he doesn't "remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother," an unusual detail when one dates adults.
Still, Hannity's confidence in Moore seems to have been shaken, especially as his show bleeds advertising revenue because of the Moore scandal. This is perhaps why his staff reached out to one of Moore's accusers asking for an interview. The response from her attorney, Paula Cobia, was swift and brutal.
"Mr. Hannity has belittled, defamed, and engaged in an on-air intimidation campaign against the victims of Mr. Moore," Cobia wrote. "He is totally uninterested in discovering the truth. He gave Mr. Moore a lazy, softball interview which his own panel did not find credible. In fact, the panel mocked Mr. Moore over his inconsistencies and lies." Read the full response below, knowing that somewhere, right now, Hannity may be taking out his anger on a coffee machine. Bonnie Kristian
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) November 19, 2017
Steven Mnuchin didn't think the cartoonishly villainous AP photo of him and his wife holding cash would go public
Last week, an Associated Press photographer captured a photo of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, holding up a sheet of freshly printed $1 bills. The photos caused quite a splash. "Some folks," Chris Wallace told Mnuchin on Fox News Sunday, "say that you two look like two villains from a James Bond movie. ... I guess my question is: What were you thinking?" It's unclear what a real (fictional) Bond villain would say, but Mnuchin — who has produced several Hollywood hits — was apparently pleased with the comparison.
"I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie," Mnuchin said. "But let me just say, I was very excited of having my signature on the money." He actually changed his signature to be legible, he told Wallace. But when it came to the photo, taken by the most famous American wire service at a public event, "I didn't realize that the pictures were public and going on the internet and viral," Mnuchin said. "But people have the right to do that. People can express what they want. That's the great thing about social media today."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 19, 2017
The AP photographer, Jacquelyn Martin, wasn't surprised that the photo went viral — but she was surprised Mnuchin and Linton posed for it. "When I got to the assignment, I didn't envision an image quite like this," she wrote. "Once I was there and Mnuchin gestured for Linton to come over and be in the photo op, then I knew for sure this image would get some interest. Based on their history and previous images that have been put out there — I had a feeling that this would take off. There is something about this couple that people are just fascinated by." Something, yes. Peter Weber
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leveled a fresh round of criticism at her erstwhile campaign rival, President Trump, in two sets of comments this weekend.
In an interview published Friday, Clinton said she stands by her past comment that Trump is Russian President Vladimir Putin's "puppet," calling the president "naive" for believing Putin's denials of election meddling. "I think that he hopes or expects the rest of us to be naive, or at least the people who support him to be naive," she continued, "but this is a serious cyberattack on America.”
Then, at an appearance in Arkansas on Saturday, Clinton said Trump is, like, totally obsessed with her. "Apparently, you know, my former opponent is obsessed with my speaking out," she said. "Apparently there was another, somebody told me, tweet today. Honestly, between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done?"
Air Force General John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), on Saturday at a national security conference in Canada said there are circumstances under which he would resist obeying a nuclear strike directive from President Trump.
"I provide advice to the president," Hyten replied to a question about a nuclear order scenario. "He'll tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm gonna say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' Guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."
Watch Hyten's comments below, and read about the recent Senate hearing on the president's nuclear strike authority here. Bonnie Kristian
Top general: I'd resist illegal nuclear order from Trump https://t.co/WxOhN3q1So
— POPTOP #tv (@poptopittv) November 19, 2017
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was caught on a hot mic Saturday commenting that the Republican Party is "toast" if it becomes the party of President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, both of whom are subject to multiple serious allegations of sexual misconduct.
Flake was speaking to an Arizona ally, Mesa Mayor John Giles, after a town hall meeting with constituents. "If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast," Flake can be heard saying.
"And I am not throwing smoke at you, but you're the guy that could, just for fun — think about how much fun it would be — just to be the foil, you know, and to point out what an idiot this guy is," Giles replied. The mayor appeared to be referring back to a town hall question he asked about Flake running for president in 2020, a reference which would make Trump, rather than Moore, the "idiot" in question. After Giles' comment, a third man made Flake aware his microphone was still on so he could turn it off.
The senator has not been shy about his opposition toward Trump. In October, he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate in a dramatic speech condemning the president on the Senate floor. Watch Flake's hot mic moment below. Bonnie Kristian
White House defends Trump against past sexual misconduct allegations by saying he hasn't admitted doing anything wrong
Following an outpouring of sexual harassment and assault allegations made across industries and professions over the past several weeks, many critics of President Trump have returned to accusations of misconduct made against him by more than a dozen women during his presidential campaign. On Friday, though, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a distinction between the commander in chief and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who was accused Thursday of kissing and groping a woman for the camera in 2006.
"I think specifically in one case, Sen. Al Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't," Sanders told the reporters. "I think that's a very clear distinction."
It isn't, strictly speaking, entirely true: Trump was caught on tape making vulgar comments about women and bragging about groping and kissing them without consent, telling Access Hollywood's Billy Bush in 2005: "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... grab them by the pussy." Watch Sanders' defense below. Jeva Lange
Asked if Pres. Trump should be investigated for sexual assault allegations made by more than a dozen women, @PressSec says: "Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't. I think that's a very clear distinction." https://t.co/IlG308YAro pic.twitter.com/940YoZ12H4
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 17, 2017
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the American people ought to be worried about another Saturday Night Massacre during Sessions' testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "What you've told us today, and just this exchange, what we should all be concerned about is another Saturday Night Massacre if you can't tell us the president shouldn't fire the special counsel and everyone who works for him," Deutch said. "We should be worried if you're telling us the president should be able to pardon in advance all of those who are being investigated. We should be worried about the pursuit of the rule of law."
The invocation of former President Richard Nixon's decision to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox during Watergate didn't ruffle Sessions. "Just briefly," he said, "one of the things if you respect the rule of law is the attorney general should not be giving legal opinions from the seat of his breeches." Watch below. Jeva Lange
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he believes the women who have accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. McConnell said Moore, the Republican candidate in Alabama's Dec. 12 race, "should step aside." He also told reporters that pursuing a write-in candidate for the election was "an option."
On Saturday, Axios reported that Senate Republican leaders were skeptical that they'd be able to convince Moore to step down — adding that McConnell was "willing to lose the seat to prevent someone who's guilty of these things from taking it." During the Republican primary in the Alabama Senate race, McConnell threw his support behind the incumbent, Sen. Luther Strange.
Moore, whose name cannot be removed from the ballot under Alabama law, has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct. "I don't remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother," Moore told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Friday. Per RealClearPolitics, polls taken since Thursday show Moore leading his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, by just 2 percentage points. Kelly O'Meara Morales