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  • ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump spoke publicly about embattled Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore for the first time Tuesday, saying of the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him: "You have to listen to him also" and "He totally denies it."Speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn before leaving Washington to travel to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump stopped short of fully endorsing Moore — whose candidacy and two stints as Alabama chief justice attracted controversy even before the sexual impropriety allegations — but attacked Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones."We don't need a liberal person in there," said Trump. "Jones — I've looked at his record, it's terrible on crime. It's terrible on the border. It's terrible on the military."The White House earlier said that Trump believes that "the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their senator should be" but added that "if the allegations are true," he believes Moore would step aside.Trump called attention to the position Moore has taken since the accusations emerged two weeks ago."Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. By the way, he totally denies it," Trump said.He teased that he will let reporters know "next week" whether he will campaign for Moore.Asked if he had a message for women as he addressed the accusations, Trump called it "a very special time because a lot of things are coming out," referring to the numerous public figures who have been accused of sexual misconduct over the past several weeks."I think it's very, very good for women," he said. "And I'm very happy a lot of these things are coming out. I'm very happy it's being exposed."Moore again denied the allegations against him Tuesday night in an interview on the Alabama Cable Network, saying, "I never dated underage women and I never engaged in sexual misconduct with anybody. I mean, you have to understand, I was deputy district attorney, then a circuit judge. I go by the law."The candidate, who held a press conference to refute allegations Tuesday afternoon, also said further proof of his innocence would be coming soon."It takes time to develop a case and file a case because you just don't go file a case without some proof," Moore said. "And we're getting proof, we're getting things. In fact today we had a conference, press conference, where a lot of this was brought out. And we'll continue to do that. And there are things coming out in the future that I can’t talk about."The allegations against Moore began with the publication of a Washington Post report on Nov. 9, in which it was claimed he made sexual advances on a 14-year-old girl in the late 1970s. Moore has since been accused of sexual misconduct by additional women and has had several prominent members of his party call for him to withdraw from the Senate race. Moore has denied all the allegations against him.Trump was accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women during last year's presidential campaign, claims he has denied.On the allegations facing Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., Trump said he only recently learned about the ones against Conyers and, on Franken, said he would let the senator "speak for himself."Conyers said in a statement Tuesday that he "expressly and vehemently" denies a report that he harassed a female aide and that the accusation was resolved with an "express denial of liability.
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  • Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News reported this week that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has now told the Justice Department to turn over any emails and other documents related to, among other things, the May 9 firing of James Comey as FBI director.The move is a strong signal that Mueller’s team is actively investigating whether President Trump tried to obstruct a federal criminal probe over Russia’s attempts to influence last year’s presidential election.But what exactly is known about the controversial move to ax Comey, and what could it mean for what Mueller’s team is still hoping to uncover? Shifting narratives and conflicting messages about possible intentions and directives before the May firing took place have helped make it all quite murky.Here is a breakdown of the known facts, and the unanswered questions, about the whole matter.What the White House said publiclyThe White House released a statement after the firing, pointing to recommendations from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as key motivating factors."President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions," the White House statement read.Rosenstein wrote a memorandum, dated May 9, to Sessions, criticizing Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, as well as Comey’s July 5, 2016, news conference on the FBI’s ultimate findings in that probe.“I cannot defend the director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken,” Rosenstein wrote.The White House released its statement, a letter that Trump wrote to Comey, including the president’s claim that Comey told him he was not under investigation in relation to the Russia probe, as well as the memos from both Rosenstein and Sessions urging the president to fire Mueller."While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau," Trump wrote in his letter to Comey."It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”When the official word arrivedShortly after 5 p.m. ET May 9, Trump called several members of Congress to inform them of his decision. According to then-press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump reached out to House and Senate leadership. Trump called House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and left a message for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.He also spoke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Dianne Feinstein of California.Comey's termination was read to him over the phone while he was traveling for the bureau in Los Angeles, two FBI sources told ABC News. He was there for a field office inspection and a recruitment event that evening as part of the FBI's efforts to boost diversity.A different FBI official told ABC News that Comey first learned of his firing by seeing news reports on TV. Comey was "surprised, really surprised" and was "caught flat-footed," the official said.A White House official confirmed to ABC News that Keith Schiller, the president's longtime bodyguard and then-Oval Office director of operations, hand-delivered Trump's termination letter to FBI headquarters.FBI agents and staff were stunned by the news, FBI sources told ABC News.Motivations for the memoIn the days immediately after Comey’s firing, different White House officials, including Spicer and then-deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, denied that Trump had influence
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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is facing a new ethics investigation after denying a report on Tuesday that alleges he sexually harassed a female aide, leading to a five-figure payout funded by taxpayers."The committee is aware of public allegations that Representative John Conyers, Jr. may have engaged in sexual harassment of members of his staff, discriminated against certain staff on the basis of age, and used official resources for impermissible personal purposes," Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the chair and ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, announced Tuesday. "The committee ... has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding these allegations."Conyers, the longest-serving current member in the House of Representatives, said in a statement that he “expressly and vehemently” denies the allegations, which were first reported by Buzzfeed.On Monday, Buzzfeed published a report that said Conyers' office paid a female aide more than $27,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement to settle a complaint.In his statement, Conyers, 88, said that his office “resolved the allegations,” though with an “express denial of liability, in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.”“The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment,” Conyers said.Prior to the ethics committee's announcement, several Democrats demanded an investigation, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. -- two of Conyers’ colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee -- as well as Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.“As members of Congress, we each have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the House of Representatives and to ensure a climate of dignity and respect, with zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying or abuse,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “As I have said before, any credible allegation of sexual harassment must be investigated by the ethics committee.”Speier called into question the amount of money that is used to settle sexual harassment cases, and whether members have used their taxpayer-funded office budgets “to make settlements under the guise of severance payments.""If this is true, the amount of taxpayer money used to settle these cases is even higher than the number that’s been provided by the Office of Compliance,” she said.Lofgren released her own statement on the allegations, writing, “The reports about Congressman Conyers are as serious as they get. The Committee on Ethics should take up this matter immediately with a goal of promptly assessing the validity of the news account. This reported behavior cannot be tolerated in the House of Representatives or anywhere else.”Conyers pledged to “fully cooperate with an investigation” before the committee's announcement Tuesday afternoon.“The process must be fair to both the employee and the accused. The current media environment is bringing a much-needed focus to the important issue of preventing harassment in workplaces across the country,” he said. “However, equally important to keep in mind in this particular moment is the principle of due process and that those accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent unless and until an investigation establishes otherwise. In our country, we strive to honor this fundamental principle that all are entitled to due process.”House Speaker Paul Ryan called the Conyers report “extremely troubling,” and pointed to an ongoing review of “all policies and procedures related to workplace harassment and discrimination.”“People who work in the House deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination,” Ryan
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  • Design Pics/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Communication Commission appears bound to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules prohibiting internet service providers from slowing or blocking certain websites. The action is led by President Donald Trump appointee FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former commission official and Verizon attorney, who previously said the new Republican majority FCC leadership would "fire up the weed whacker" and dismantle industry regulations.The action is expected to put more power in the hands of the internet service providers, allowing companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast to block or slow certain websites, giving priority to those who pay for it.Under the proposed rule, the providers would have to disclose whether they engage in certain types of conduct, such as blocking and prioritization, and explicitly say what is throttled and what is blocked. This information would have to be on an easily accessible website hosted by the company or the FCC.Pai argues the previous administration's "heavy-handed" rules holding back such power from the telecommunications companies hinder investment, innovation and job creation.Critics say the proposal puts too much power in the hands of just a few massive corporations and small businesses will suffer from the prioritization. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., went as far as to call it "a disaster."On a call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, a senior FCC official said the ban on prioritization of websites led to higher prices for households purchasing high-speed internet.The additional revenue point for internet service providers would allow the companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast to lower their prices, the official suggested.A different FCC official, not on the call, opposed the announcement. He said regardless of the impact on internet provider prices, costs for services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon could rise because those companies would have to pay the fees for prioritization.INCOMPAS, a trade group with members including Netflix, Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft, came out against the proposal."Since the 2015 Open Internet Order, we have seen an unprecedented increase in streaming services that save consumer’s money," INCOMPAS said in a letter to the FCC after calling the action "a violation of bipartisan principles that have governed a free and open internet for decades."The draft order is expected to be released on Wednesday, 22 days before the scheduled vote on Dec. 14. The senior official said the commission is showing more transparency than the Democratic-majority version of two years that passed the original net-neutrality rules. That 2015 order was not released to the public until after the commission voted on it.The vote next month is expected to pass on a 3-2 vote, along party lines, but at least one FCC Commissioner has pledged to fight to it.Jessica Rosenworcel, who first joined the FCC as an Obama appointee and was nominated again by Trump, called the proposal is "ridiculous and offensive."A Google spokesperson told ABC News "the FCC’s net neutrality rules are working well for consumers and we’re disappointed in the proposal released today."Netflix also came out against the proposal.USTelecom, a trade association representing much of the telecommunications industry such as AT&T and Verizon, came out in support of the action.At one point on Sunday afternoon, #netneutrality was the leading trend on Twitter in the U.S., running at approximately 54,000 tweets per hour.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The tax plan advanced by House Republicans last week will spur economic growth, but still add more than $1 trillion to the deficit, according to a new study released Monday.The macroeconomic analysis from the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, finds that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would boost economic output by .6 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, and .3 percent in a decade.The economic growth would provide $169 billion in additional tax revenue for the federal government over the next decade, according to the analysis. The entire tax package is expected to add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the same period of time.The White House and congressional Republicans, who have criticized the Tax Policy Center’s findings in the past, have said passing the plan will spur economic growth that will offset the tax cuts in the package.The TPC had to revise its initial analysis of the House plan over a computing error.The House plan will not make it to President Donald Trump’s desk unchanged: Senate Republicans will vote next week on their own version of the tax bill, which will then be reconciled with the House-passed proposal.While Senate Republicans and the White House also support repealing Obamacare’s individual health insurance mandate as part of the plan, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that Trump could also forego the mandate repeal to help the proposal clear the House and Senate.“If a good tax bill can pass with that Obamacare mandate repeal as part of it, great. If it needs to come out in order for that good tax bill to pass, we can live with that as well,” Mulvaney said in an interview with CBS News’ "Face the Nation."In a separate study released Monday, the Tax Policy Center found that the Senate proposal would reduce taxes on average for all income groups in 2019 and 2025.Roughly 10 percent of taxpayers would pay higher taxes compared to current law under the proposal in 2019, a number that would rise to 50 percent in 2027, according to the analysis.
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