White House: Pres. Trump thinks voters should decide Moore’s fate

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore waits to speak the Vestavia Hills Public library, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. According to a Thursday, Nov. 9 Washington Post story an Alabama woman said Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14. Moore is denying the allegations. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on Republican Roy Moore and the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump believes the voters of Alabama should decide Roy Moore’s fate and finds the allegations against the Republican Senate candidate “very troubling.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that Trump isn’t calling on Moore to exit the race amid allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago with teenage girls when he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. Moore denies the allegations.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have called on Moore to step aside.

Sanders says Trump “thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.” She declined to say whether Trump continues to back Moore.

Sanders says Trump supported the Republican National Committee’s decision to withdraw its resources from the race.

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2:40 p.m.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying “to steal this election” by calling for him to step down amid allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago.

A defiant Moore appeared at a news conference on Thursday to reiterate that he would be staying in the Alabama race.

It comes as the Republican National Committee, the Senate GOP campaign committee and the party’s leading voices in Congress have called on the 70-year-old former judge to quit the race.

At least three new allegations of misconduct were reported on Wednesday, including one by Tina Johnson, who told AL.com that Moore groped her during a 1991 meeting in his law office.

The special election is scheduled for Dec. 12. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones.

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2:10 a.m.

With President Donald Trump standing on the sidelines, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his allies in Alabama are bracing for an extended conflict — not with Democrats, but with their own party in Washington.

The divide between the state and national GOP reached new depths Wednesday as more allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Moore, an outspoken Christian conservative. Already, the Republican National Committee, the Senate GOP campaign committee and the party’s leading voices in Congress have called on the 70-year-old former judge to quit the race.

Moore offered fighting words in a tweet addressed to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell. At least three new allegations of misconduct were reported Wednesday, including one by Tina Johnson, who said Moore groped her during a 1991 meeting in his law office.

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