<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Politics and Political News]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego https://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usThu, 14 Dec 2017 02:26:45 -0800Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:26:45 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Obamacare Sign-Ups Surge; Enrollment Likely Down Next Year]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:51:31 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Healthcare.gov-website.jpg

Over 1 million people chose insurance through the federal health care exchange last week as open enrollment approaches its Dec. 15 deadline. But the total number is likely to fall short of last year, which featured both a longer enrollment period and a far more robust outreach campaign from the White House, NBC News reported.

According to the latest figures, released Wednesday by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), 388,984 new customers signed up between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 while an additional 684,937 renewed existing coverage. The numbers are likely to surge again in the home stretch as customers finalize selections and others who have existing coverage, but have not chosen plans, are auto-enrolled.

Just under 4.7 million people have signed up since open enrollment began Nov. 1, up from 4 million at a comparable point last year. But the previous enrollment period was longer and continued through Jan. 31, reaching a total of 9.2 million. 

Top Trump administration officials have made little public mention of the enrollment period in contrast to the previous White House, where President Barack Obama participated in interviews and events to encourage signups.



Photo Credit: Healthcare.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Pitches Tax Bill for Families, Businesses]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:04:20 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Trump_Pitch_Tax_Cut_Bill_For_Families_Corporations-151319062153300002.jpg

President Donald Trump pitched a tax cut bill drafted by GOP lawmakers, claiming it will bring money back from offshore accounts while giving families a modest tax cut of $2,000. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, are criticizing the bill for favoring the wealthy and large corporations. 

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<![CDATA[Anderson Cooper: Trump Taunt on Twitter Wasn't From Me]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:59:31 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/anderson-cooper-trump.jpg

CNN's Anderson Cooper said Wednesday that someone had "gained access" to his Twitter account and sent out a tweet calling President Donald Trump a "pathetic loser."

The taunt from Cooper's verified account came after Trump had tweeted in the wake of Doug Jones' projected win in Alabama's Senate election. Trump noted that he had first backed Roy Moore's primary opponent, Luther Strange.

"Oh Really? You endorsed him you tool! Pathetic loser," Cooper's Twitter account replied.

Cooper later posted that he "just woke up to find out someone gained access to my twitter account" and was investigating.

Until Wednesday, no messages had been posted to his account since Sunday.



Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Reported Schumer Sex Suit Is 'Completely False': Ex-Staffer]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:19:32 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17318739073690.jpg

A former staffer for Sen. Chuck Schumer said a draft of a sexual harassment lawsuit naming the Senate minority leader and purporting that she was the accuser is "completely false."

Schumer also described the documents and allegations against him as a "phony" smear.

In a statement to NBC News, the staffer named in the document said "the claims in this document are completely false, my signature is forged, and even basic facts about me are wrong.” The development came hours after news site Axios reported the existence of the document and that Schumer's team had turned it over to Capitol Police.

"I have contacted law enforcement to determine who is responsible," the staffer said. "I parted with Senator Schumer’s office on good terms and have nothing but the fondest memories of my time there."

NBC News is protecting the staffer's anonymity at her request, as she says she's a victim of a crime.

"It was a phony allegation, forged from start to finish," Schumer said Wednesday during a news conference.

He did not say who he believed was behind the document but said his office would pursue "every legal path" on the issue. 

Axios earlier reported that Schumer's office disputed basic facts in the documents, including Schumer's whereabouts during two purported allegations in 2011.

”We have turned it over to the Capitol Police and asked them to investigate and pursue criminal charges because it is clear the law has been broken," a spokesman for Schumer told Axios.

He added, "We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same."

Several media outlets were shopped the document, according to The Associated Press. 



Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Black Voter Turnout, Allegations Doomed Moore: Exit Poll]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:29:08 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/election-line.jpg

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore and a Democratic surge boosted by high African-Americans turnout led Doug Jones to his projected election upset win in Alabama, NBC News' exit polls showed.

African Americans made up 29 percent of all Alabama voters, and they broke for Jones by a 96 percent-to-4 percent margin. That essentially matched Barack Obama’s performance with African Americans in the state in 2012.


Ninety-eight percent of black women supported Jones, compared with 34 percent of white women. Still, even that support among white women was more than twice the 16 percent of white women who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, NBC News reported. Overall, 58 percent of Alabama women voted for Jones. 

Meanwhile, 52 percent of voters in Alabama said allegations against Moore were either "definitely" or "probably" true, and they broke for Jones, 89 percent to 8 percent.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[In Stunning Upset, Jones Is Apparent Winner of Ala. Senate Race]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:28:51 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_09_12.Still001.jpg

Democrat Doug Jones is the apparent winner of the Alabama Senate race. Jones’ win is an upset in a deep red state that has not had a Democrat in the Senate in 25 years.

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<![CDATA[Senators React to Jones' Victory in Alabama Senate Race]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:03:02 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-890909758.jpg

Senators took to social media after Doug Jones was the apparent winner to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, with many Democrats calling it a political setback for President Donald Trump.

"Congratulations to my friend @GDouglasJones. He'll be a great colleague," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., tweeted. "President Trump went all in for Roy Moore, but proud Alabamians wisely repudiated their behavior."

Most Republicans did not immediately react on Twitter to Jones' win.

When news initially broke of Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct in early November, many GOP senators called for Moore to leave the race. But in the final weeks leading up to the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walked back his original call for Moore to drop out, Trump explicitly endorsed him and and the RNC started to fund his campaign again. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he thinks Jones will be an "outstanding" senator who "will represent Alabama well."

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"As Dr. King said, 'The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice,'" Jones said during his victory speech, as he thanked Alabamians. "Tonight ladies and gentleman, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend the moral arc a little closer to justice."

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was the only GOP senator to explicitly show support for Jones. Days before the election, he tweeted a photo of a check he sent to Jones' campaign with the words, "Country over Party."

On Tuesday, after it appeared Jones won the election, Flake was the first Republican senator to tweet: "Decency wins."

Here's a look at how members of the Senate reacted to the Alabama outcome on Twitter.

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Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty
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<![CDATA[FBI Agent Removed from Russia Probe Called Trump an 'Idiot']]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:33:02 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17342690192155.jpg

Two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel's investigation into Donald Trump's presidential campaign described him with insults like "idiot" and "loathsome human" in a series of text messages last year, according to copies of the messages released Tuesday.

One of the officials said in an election night text that the prospect of a Trump victory was "terrifying."

Peter Strzok, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent, was removed over the summer from special counsel Robert Mueller's team following the discovery of text messages exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was also detailed this year to the group of agents and prosecutors investigating potential coordination between Russia and Trump's Republican campaign.

Hundreds of the messages, which surfaced in a Justice Department inspector general investigation of the FBI's inquiry into Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, were being provided to congressional committees, which had requested copies, and were reviewed by The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The existence of the text messages, disclosed in news reports earlier this month, provided a line of attack for Trump, who used the revelation to disparage FBI leadership as politically tainted. Republicans have also seized on the exchange of texts between two officials who worked for Mueller to suggest that the team is biased against Trump and its conclusions can't be trusted.

The issue is likely to be a focus of a congressional hearing Wednesday involving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May and oversees his team's work.

A spokesman for Mueller has said Strzok was removed from the Mueller team as soon as the allegations were brought to the office's attention, and that Page had already concluded her detail by that time anyway and returned to the FBI. Strzok has been reassigned within the FBI.

Working telephone numbers for Strzok and Page could not immediately be found.

Strzok had been deeply involved in the Clinton inquiry and was in the room when she was interviewed by the FBI. He later helped investigate whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The texts seen by the AP began in the summer of 2015, soon after the FBI launched its email server investigation, and continued over the next year and a half as the presidential race was in full swing and as Trump and Clinton were looking to defeat their primary challengers and head toward the general election.

The messages — 375 were released Tuesday evening — cover a broad range of political topics and include an exchange of news articles about the race, often alongside their own commentaries.

There are some derogatory comments about Democratic officials, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former Attorney General Eric Holder, but some of the harshest comments are reserved for Trump.

In a March 4, 2016, back-and-forth provided to Congress, Page refers to Trump as a "loathsome human" and Strzok responds, "Yet he may win." After Strzok asks whether she thinks Trump would be a worse president than fellow Republican Ted Cruz, Page says, "Yes, I think so."

The two then use words like "idiot" and "awful" to characterize Trump, with Strzok saying, "America will get what the voting public deserves."

In another exchange, on Oct. 18, 2016, Strzok writes to Page and says: "I am riled up. Trump is an (expletive) idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. I CAN'T PULL AWAY. WHAT THE (expletive) HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY??!?!"

Weeks later, on election day, as it seemed to become clearer that Trump could defeat Clinton, he says, "OMG THIS IS (expletive) TERRIFYING: A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible..."

Page replies, "Yeah, that's not good."

In August 2016, Strzok responded to a New York Times story that carried the headline of "Donald Trump is Making America Meaner" by saying, "I am worried about what Trump is encouraging in our behavior."

But he also adds, "I'm worried about what happens if HRC is elected," using the initials for Hillary Rodham Clinton.



Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[US Open to NKorea Talks 'Without Precondition': Tillerson]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:08:51 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/876790472-Rex-Tillerson-White-House.jpg

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the United States is open to talks with North Korea without preconditions, saying it is unrealistic for the country to give up its nuclear weapons program before discussions can begin.

"It's not realistic to say we're only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program, they have too much invested in it," Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council think tank, NBC News reported.

Tillerson said President Donald Trump "is very realistic about that as well."

"We've said from the diplomatic side, we're ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition," Tillerson said.



Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Families May Lose CHIP Children's Health Insurance]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:06:12 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chip-anniversary.jpg

Officials in several states started warning families this week that funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is about to run out.

The joint state-federal health plan designed to help uninsured children from low-income households was not renewed by Congress, and, as NBC News reports, for many families that may mean an end to their children’s health coverage.

“I would say most families, their children will go without insurance,” said Linda Nablo, chief deputy director at Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services.

A resolution passed by Congress last week keeps the federal government open for business until Dec. 22 and included a patch for CHIP, but that was just to move money from states that have not yet run out of cash to states whose CHIP programs were about to go broke.



Photo Credit: Keith Srakocic/AP]]>
<![CDATA[White House: ‘No Way’ Trump Tweet to NY Sen. Is Sexist]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:35:47 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_SHS_BRIEF_GILLIBRAND2-151311313446300002.jpg

President Donald Trump tweeted that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would “do anything” for campaign contributions on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Later in the day, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump’s tweet was not sexist.

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<![CDATA[Moore Accuser: I Dated Him at 17. Today I'm Saying #NoMoore]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:57:53 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-885916584.jpg

Debbie Wesson Gibson is one of the women accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. She offered her personal account of Moore in an essay for NBC News' THINK section:

I’ve known Roy Moore since 1981, so perhaps you can imagine my shock when he decided to lie — twice — about not knowing me, or knowing any of the women The Washington Post spoke with in November.

Having claimed no sexual misconduct myself, I simply answered honestly that I had dated Moore for a few months when I was 17 and he was 34. I did not “wait 36 years to come out,” as some people have claimed; there was nothing to come out about, as he dated me very publicly. From the Catfish Cabin restaurant in Albertville on our first date is March of 1981 to my high school graduation night on May 22, 1981 to the kisses we exchanged at the Attalla Country Club pool concession area, there was nothing secret about our relationship. With 180 fellow graduates and a stadium full of family and friends and well wishers, it would be more challenging to find someone in Etowah County, Alabama in the spring of 1981 who was not aware that we dated.

Initially, I merely helped establish for reporters that Moore had a pattern of dating very young girls when he was in his 30's. Note that the age of sexual consent in Alabama has been 16 since 1920. The age of majority in Alabama in 1981 was 19, and Moore’s own legal decisions have contained language in which he refers to 17 year olds as children.



Photo Credit: Jon Gerberg/The Washington Post via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Immigrants Fear Raids as City Fails to Destroy ID Card Records]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:16:47 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NYC-ID.jpg

A program designed to help undocumented immigrants living in the New York City area may facilitate their deportation under the Trump administration.

Documents collected for an ambitious city identity card system set up by the mayor in 2015 contain information on the million or so undocumented people living in or near the city — information they themselves willingly handed over.

As President Donald Trump fights to deliver on his pledge to quickly deport 2 to 3 million living in the U.S. without visas, the information collected through the city program could lead federal immigration officials right to their front doors, NBC News reported.

On a server in an undisclosed location in New York, the city's administration collected digital copies of 387,000 foreign passports, 346,000 driving licences and thousands of birth certificates, visas, military photo ID cards, consular documents and work permits, according to a report from NBC News and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.



Photo Credit: New York City Hall via AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[A Confident Roy Moore Rides to Vote on Horseback]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:53:46 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/US-AL-Moore-Voting-CR_1200x675_1114952259973.jpg

Republican candidate Roy Moore rode his horse to the polls as he's done in past elections to cast his ballot in the U.S. Senate race. Moore was accompanied by his wife Kayla Moore as he expressed confidence in a win Tuesday night.

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<![CDATA[New Generation Calls for 'Passing of the Torch' in Congress]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:48:14 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nysenate_triptych.jpg

Amid sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked Capitol Hill, a generational divide is becoming increasingly evident in Congress. The upheaval has spurred a wave of younger lawmakers to demand institutional reform and call for top Congressional leaders to step down and make way for the next generation.

"Given the current age profile of the Democrats, it seems like there will be a generational shift," Gregory J. Wawro, a professor of political science at Columbia University, told NBC. "That seems inevitable now. To what extent that will bring about changes in Congress or changes in the Democratic Party, that remains to be seen."

While longtime Congressional leaders stumbled over their responses to the allegations that shook Capitol Hill and resulted in three lawmakers stepping down, younger legislators immediately demanded action.

Rep. Kathleen Rice, 52, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 50, both representing New York, were among the first to call for the resignations of Rep. John Conyers and Sen. Al Franken. Both announced their resignations last week.

In contrast, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 77, initially questioned the claims made against Conyers after ex-staffers accused him of inappropriate touching.

“Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country,” Pelosi said on NBC's “Meet the Press.”

Rep. James Clyburn, 77, the assistant Democratic leader from South Carolina, echoed Pelosi's remarks, initially saying the allegations could have been made up before calling for him to resign. 

Although Pelosi later said she believed Conyers' accusers and also eventually called for his resignation, Rice blasted her response.

“I think that her comments on Sunday set women back and — quite frankly, our party back — decades,” she told reporters at the Capitol on Nov. 29, Politico reported. 

Rice is part of an increasing number of young lawmakers pushing for longtime Congressional leaders to move aside for a new generation of leaders.

“I’ve been vocal about the fact that I think we need new leaders stepping up to offer new strategies and new ideas for our caucus, our party, and most importantly for the people we serve,” Rice told NBC.

Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez, 48, called for Pelosi’s resignation in an October speech.

“Our leadership does a tremendous job, but we do have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus and I do think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders,” said Sanchez, 48.

Pelosi, who has served in Congress for 30 years and has held the top Democratic leadership position since 2003, continues to be a top fundraiser for the Democratic Party. She made history as the first woman speaker of the House and has been credited with shepherding the Affordable Care Act into being. But she has been facing mounting criticism that she is out of touch with younger, working-class voters.

“Pelosi is still indebted to the same cadre of donors and party professionals whose perception of the political dynamics in the country is highly distorted,” said journalist Michael Tracey, who wrote a June CNBC op-ed titled “How Nancy Pelosi is helping Republicans win.”

Pelosi said earlier this year she would have retired from Congress if Hillary Clinton had been elected president in 2016. 

“One of the reasons I stayed here is because I thought Hillary Clinton would win, we’d have a woman president and so there would be a woman not at a seat at the table, but at the head of the table for the world,” Pelosi said in a September interview with The New York Times.

A spokesman for Pelosi said that she has no plans to retire.

"[Pelosi] feels it’s important that there be a woman at the table," Drew Hammill told NBC. "She’s the highest ranking woman in American government to this day."

The age of Pelosi and other Democratic leaders is as much of a factor in the criticism against them as their decades of entrenchment in political institutions.

“Our leadership is old and creaky, including me,” former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, 69, told MSNBC in February.

Hammill said that Pelosi has continuously sought to invigorate younger leadership in Congress and that he sees a disparity between criticism toward Pelosi and toward her male colleagues such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, 76, and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 75.

The 115th Congress is among the oldest in history, with nearly 35 percent of its members aged 65 or older. In 1981, the average representative was 49 years old and the average senator was 53, according to a report by Quorum, which pulled data from lawmakers’ official biographies. Today, those averages have gone up to 57 years for representatives and 61 for senators.

Democratic leaders tend to be older than their Republican counterparts.

In the House, the average age for Democratic lawmakers in leadership positions is 72 years old, while the average age of Republican House leadership is 48. Three of the four House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and James E. Clyburn, are all in their late 70s.

“The Democrats' geriatric tilt in Congress and their leadership is a handicap,” Robert S. Erikson, a professor of political science at Columbia University, told NBC. “Sometimes I wonder if the Democrats' Congressional leadership is itself aware of the optics of this, whether this is for them a cause for concern.”

Saturday Night Live took on the optics of this "geriatric tilt" in a November skit, with the fake Democratic National Committee touting “fresh new ideas delivered by fresh new faces.”

These faces, portrayed by SNL actors, were some of the party's most prominent members, including Pelosi, “hot young thing” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 68, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, 59, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 76.

Congress needs to adapt to keep up with changes in society, experts say.

“There’s always been a reluctance [in Congress] to change the status quo, Wawro said. “But society is moving very quickly on some of the issues, especially with respect to sexual harassment, and it seems like inevitably the institution will be forced to change, just as the larger society and the workplace that are being forced to change because of increased awareness and victims of harassment becoming more vocal.”

Experts agree that some new leadership in Congress would be beneficial, especially for Democrats.

“I think it would be good if they did have younger members of the party assume leadership positions, assuming those individuals are qualified and have a vision for the party in the current context,” Wawro said.

But he said that the question of whether Pelosi or other top leaders should step aside is a complicated one.

"They got where they are and have stayed where they are for a reason and it’s risky to lose their experience and fundraising prowess if they were to step aside," said Wawro. 

William H. Frey, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, said that although some existing Congressional leaders do have the power to pass laws that would benefit the younger generation, leadership inevitably shifts toward the younger generation over time.

"I do think it would be helpful to have some new blood," Frey said. "And there is some new blood around. From what I understand, there are a lot of younger people who haven’t run before running in 2018 in both parties, particularly in the Democratic party, which I think is good news," Frey said.

Rice is one of the newest members of Congress, having represented parts of New York for just two years.

"When you’re newer to an institution like this, I think you’re naturally inclined to look at the status quo and think about how we can make it better," she said.

Rice and Gillibrand are among several younger lawmakers pushing for reform in Congress in how it deals with sexual harassment claims.

Rice, along with four other House members, two of whom are in their 30s, introduced a bipartisan bill to force the House to reveal the names of lawmakers who have settled harassment claims paid out with taxpayer dollars.

“The American people have a right to know if their tax dollars are being used to protect a member of Congress and silence victims of sexual harassment and assault,” Rice said.

Gillibrand introduced a bill last month that would reform the sexual harassment complaint process and increase transparency. She has previously tried to pass legislation to change how sexual assault allegations are handled in the military.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 47, has been another sharp critic of Congress' handling of harassment claims.

“There is a broken system,” Jeffries said on MSNBC on Dec. 5. “It has not delivered accountability. It has been intimidating for women to come forward who have experienced a hostile work environment or inappropriate behavior and I think our focus should be on fixing that.”

Jeffries, who has represented part of New York in Congress for four years, said that Conyers' decision to retire was the right one and that Congress needs to hold all members accountable to the same standards.

On the Republican side of the aisle, lawmakers have been grappling with sexual misconduct of their own, but are not under the same generational pressure as the Democrats.

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks quit Thursday after complaints of sexual misconduct by two women. His resignation came after House Speaker Paul Ryan confronted him and told him he was recommending an ethics investigation.

Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold from Texas is facing his own ethics investigation, which began in 2015 after a settlement with a former staffer who accused him of sexual harassment and discrimination based on her gender. 

Democrats are quick to accuse Republicans of tolerating alleged abuse. President Donald Trump was elected after he was accused of sexual misconduct by at least 16 women. Trump endorsed Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of making sexual advances toward teenage girls. Moore has repeatedly denied the claims and ignored calls to drop out of the race.

On Monday, Gillibrand joined four other senators calling on Trump to resign over his own sexual misconduct allegations, prompting the president to call her a “lightweight Senator” and “total flunky” in a tweet early Tuesday.

He said Gillibrand, "who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump."

Gillibrand fired back that she would not be silenced by a "sexist smear."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Alabama Democrat Doug Jones Votes in Senate Race]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:06:55 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/US-AL-Jones-Voting-cR_1200x675_1114942019785.jpg

Democratic Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones says he feels “very confident” on Election Day as he runs against Republican Roy Moore. Supporters greeted Jones as he arrived to vote at a church in Mountain Brook, Alabama, on Tuesday.

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<![CDATA[Ala. Dad Makes Emotional Appeal: Don't Vote for Roy Moore]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:45:10 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Nathan+Mathis+on+Roy+Moore.jpg

Standing outside of a Roy Moore rally in Midland City on the eve of Alabama’s special Senate election, peanut farmer Nathan Mathis held a photo of his daughter and a sign with a message for voters: Please don’t vote for Moore.

Mathis’ daughter, Patti Sue Mathis, died by suicide when she was 23 because "she was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of," for being gay, he wrote in an open letter to the Dothan Eagle, a local Alabama newspaper, in 2012.

Speaking to NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard, Mathis condemned Moore’s past comments on homosexuality while revealing he too was once anti-gay. "I said bad things to my daughter, which I regret,” Mathis lamented.

"Judge Roy Moore called her a pervert for one reason: because she was gay," Mathis said. "If he called her a pervert, he called your child a pervert if she was gay or if your son was gay. This is something people need to stop and think about. He’s supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men are created equal. Well, how’s my daughter a pervert just because she was gay?”

He continued, "He didn’t call my daughter by name, but he said all gay people are perverts, abominations. That’s not true. We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington. That’s why I’m here."

The Wicksburg resident's sign noted "a 32-year-old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind," a reference to allegations by several women that Moore made sexual advances toward the when they were teenagers. Moore has denied the accusations.

Moore has a long history of making anti-LGBTQ statements, including saying homosexuality should be illegal and that “homosexual behavior is a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”

He was also removed from his state’s Supreme Court for urging state probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized it.



Photo Credit: @VaughnHillyard
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<![CDATA[Alabama Candidates Cast Their Ballots]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:52:42 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_jonesmoore_1500x845.jpg

Republican Roy Moore, facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, and Democrat Doug Jones cast their ballots in the vote that will send one of them to the U.S. Senate. NBC's Chris Pollone reports.

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<![CDATA[NY Senator Calls Trump Response a 'Sexist Smear']]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:56:39 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2017-12-12+at+12.55.58+PM.png

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called President Donald Trump's tweet a "sexist smear," after Trump tweeted insinuations against Gillibrand on Dec. 12, 2017, claiming she went to his office "begging" and that she "would do anything for [campaign contributions]."

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<![CDATA[Wife of Roy Moore: Our Attorney Is a Jew]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:04:58 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2017-12-12+at+11.57.01+AM.png

Kayla Moore, wife of Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, pushed back against charges of anti-Semitism and racism against her husband in a rally before Alabama's special election, noting that Moore had appointed the first black marshal to the state supreme court, had a Jewish attorney and that the couple had both black and Jewish friends. 

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<![CDATA[Three Strange Moments From Roy Moore's Election-Eve Rally]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:05:57 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/roy-moore-and-wife.jpg

That time in 2017 when political testimonials include a brothel in Vietnam and love for your Jewish attorney. 

Senate candidate Roy Moore's final campaign event Monday on the eve of Alabama's special election produced a trio of eyebrow-raising moments that caught fire on social media.

Moore's surrogates, speaking from what Al.com described as a barn-style building in Midland City, championed their candidate in sometimes unorthodox ways. Let's roll the tape: 

The Brothel Story
Bill Staehle, who served with Moore in Vietnam, recalled from the stage an experience with another officer who had invited the pair to a "private club" to celebrate his last night in the country. 

"He took us to this place which turned out to be a brothel," Staehle said. "We walked inside. I could tell you what I saw, but I don't want to. It was clear to us what kind of place this was." 

He went on to describe the place. 

"There were certainly pretty girls and they were young," Staehle said. "Some were probably very young." 

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. He has denied all allegations.

Staehle said that Moore told him, "we shouldn't be here. I'm leaving." 

Both left in the other officer's Jeep. 

"That was Roy - honorable, disciplined, morally straight and highly principled," Staehle said. 

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The Jewish Attorney
Roy Moore's wife Kayla fought back against claims that her husband was anti-Semitic after suggesting during the campaign that George Soros, a liberal billionaire and Holocaust survivor, was going to hell. 

"Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews," Kayla Moore said. "I tell you all this because I’ve seen it all and I just want to set the record straight while they’re all here." 

She proceeded to outline the case. 

"Well, one of our attorneys is a Jew," Moore said, adding heft to her pronunciation of Jew. "We have very close friends who are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them.” 

Moore earlier noted friendships with black people and touted that her husband appointed the first black marshal to the state Supreme Court. 

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Steve Bannon's Education Swipe
The pro-Moore barnstorm also featured former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who argued that Tuesday's election is a referendum on President Donald Trump's agenda. 

His comments about MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough may have stepped on the message. 

Bannon mocked the former GOP Florida congressman by saying that he had gotten into better schools — Georgetown and Harvard. 

It turns out Scarborough graduated from the University of Alabama. So did Bannon's guy Roy Moore, who graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law. 

Scarborough didn't let the gaffe go unanswered. 

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Meanwhile, Moore's Democratic opponent Doug Jones held his final rally on Monday. It featured Alabama native Charles Barkley, who also delivered a notable moment on the trail. 

"I love Alabama, but at some point we've got to draw a line in the sand and say, 'We're not a bunch of damn idiots,'" Barkley said.

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Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[56 Dems Ask House to Investigate Trump Sexual Misconduct]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:11:26 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/demsGettyImages-874578160.jpg

Over 50 Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked the House oversight committee to investigate sexual misconduct allegations made against President Donald Trump.

The Democratic Women’s Working Group wrote that the country deserves "a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations" in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

“At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct,” said the letter, which was signed by 56 lawmakers. “We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations.”

The letter added that Trump should be allowed to present evidence in his own defense. 

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump denied he knows or ever met his accusers: "Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!"



Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump on NYC Subway Bombing: 'End Chain Migration']]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:45:51 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NYC+explosion.jpg

President Donald Trump said in a statement that Monday's underground explosion near Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal "highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms" on immigration.

In the statement issued just before 5 p.m., the president said Congress needs to end what he called "chain migration" and increase immigration security after police said Akayed Ullah -- a 27-year-old man of Bangladeshi descent with a last known address in Brooklyn -- detonated a crude explosive device in the tunnel between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Times Square/42nd Street subway station about 7:15 p.m. Monday. 

"First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country," Trump said in the statement.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that an attack on the New York City subway system showed in the "starkest terms" that the failures of the U.S. immigration system are a national security issue.

Speaking at a news conference with the new chief of Homeland Security, Sessions said two terrorist attacks in New York in recent months were each carried out by men who were in the U.S. "as a result of failed immigration policies."

Ullah is not a U.S. citizen but had attained permanent residency. He came to the country on Feb. 21, 2011, on a F43 family immigrant visa. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said he benefited from "family chain migration."

"Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security," Trump said in the statement.

The president, who often takes to Twitter after terror attacks, has yet to tweet about Monday's explosion.

After Halloween's attack in Tribeca that left 8 people dead, the president likewise zeroed in on immigration, tweeting that he wanted to end the diversity visa lottery program that suspect Sayfullo Saipov used to enter the country.

Read the president's full statement below:

Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City—the second terror attack in New York in the last two months—once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people.

First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country. Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security. My Executive action to restrict the entry of certain nationals from eight countries, which the Supreme Court recently allowed to take effect, is just one step forward in securing our immigration system. Congress must end chain migration. Congress must also act on my Administration’s other proposals to enhance domestic security, including increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, enhancing the arrest and detention authorities for immigration officers, and ending fraud and abuse in our immigration system. The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear. I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first.

Second, those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases. America should always stand firm against terrorism and extremism, ensuring that our great institutions can address all evil acts of terror.



Photo Credit: AP/Andres Kudacki]]>
<![CDATA[White House Denies Sexual Misconduct Claims Against Trump]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:58:28 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SHS+Denies.jpg

Three women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct came together on Dec. 11 to share their stories. The White House denied the accusers’ claims.

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<![CDATA[Mueller Probing the 18 Days Up to Flynn's Firing: Sources]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 03:32:40 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/632934656-Donald-Trump-Michael-Flynn-White-House.jpg

Special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to piece together what transpired inside the White House over a critical 18-day period that began when senior officials were told that national security adviser Michael Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russia, multiple people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The questions about what happened between Jan. 26 and Flynn's firing on Feb. 13 appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, say two people familiar with Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

Multiple sources say that during interviews, Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses, including White House counsel Don McGahn and others who have worked in the West Wing, to go through each day that Flynn remained as national security adviser and describe in detail what they knew was happening inside the White House as it related to Flynn.

Some of those interviewed by Mueller's team believe the goal is in part to determine if there was a deliberate effort by Trump or top officials in the West Wing to cover up the information about Flynn that Sally Yates, then the acting attorney general, conveyed to McGahn on Jan. 26. In addition to Flynn, McGahn is also expected to be critical to federal investigators trying to piece together a timeline of those 18 days.

Neither McGahn's lawyer nor the White House responded to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Special Counsel's office declined to comment.



Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images]]>