In a Tuesday testimony before the House Judicial Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked about whether the Department of Justice would pursue charges against Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore. Moore has been accused by five women of different degrees of sexual assault and harassment.
“We will do our duty,” Sessions said when asked by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) if he would have the Department of Justice investigate the accusations against Moore.
When asked if he had believed Moore’s accusers, Sessions delivered a major blow to Moore’s campaign: “I have no reason to doubt these young women.”
Sessions did not go so far as to say that Moore should step aside in the race. Moore is running to win Sessions’ seat that was vacated when he was confirmed as attorney general.
Sessions’ statements represent the highest level of doubt yet placed on Moore’s insistence that he is innocent of all the allegations. President Trump has yet to definitively weigh in on the allegations against Moore, and it’s possible that a statement saying Trump believes the allegations could prove deadly for Moore’s Senate hopes.
On Monday, a fifth woman, accompanied by famed lawyer Gloria Allred, came forward alleging that Moore sexually assaulted her in the late 1970s while she was a 16-year-old, adding to the previous four accusations that had swirled around Moore.
“I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. … I had tears running down my face,” Beverly Young Nelson told reporters.
Moore has been called on to step down by many within his party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Following the new developments, Bill Armistead, Moore’s Senate campaign chairman, pushed back on the allegations.
“Gloria Allred is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt, and she is only around to create a spectacle,” he claimed.
“We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Judge Moore is an innocent man and has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone.”