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Roy Moore Files Lawsuit Contesting Alabama’s Senate Election Results

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Former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore filed a lawsuit on Wednesday night contesting the outcome of the state’s special election.

According to The Associated Press, the suit was filed in Montgomery Circuit Court less than a day before the state is expected to officially declare Moore’s opponent Doug Jones the winner. Moore wants the state to launch a fraud investigation and hold a new election.

The certification for the Alabama special election is scheduled to occur at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said that he has no plans to delay declaring Jones the winner.

“The short answer to that is no,” Merrill told CNN on Thursday. “Doug Jones will be certified today.”

Moore lost the Dec. 12 contest to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacated Senate seat to Democratic candidate Doug Jones. During the contentious campaign, the former judge faced accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct from multiple women who claimed he preyed on them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Moore, who was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for failure to follow judicial orders, largely disappeared from the campaign trail in the days leading up to the election.

Although the Republican National Committee originally withdrew its formal support of Moore, the party decided to once again fund his campaign after President Donald Trump officially endorsed him.

Still, Moore’s critics urged voters to choose someone else. Just before the election, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced that he did not vote for Moore.

“I’d rather see the Republican win, but I’d rather see a Republican write-in,” Shelby told CNN’s Jake Tapper about the vote he cast two days before the special election.

Jones, a civil rights advocate and former prosecutor, ultimately won the race by about 20,000 votes, a result Moore still has not accepted. Following the stunning victory, Jones became Alabama’s first Democratic senator in 25 years.

In the complaint filed Wednesday, Moore’s lawyers say they are certain voter fraud occurred, and that the only question is whether there was enough to sway the election. Moore’s lawyers did not elaborate on exactly how they believe fraud occurred.

The complaint cites a viral interview with a man the night of the election who indicated in an off-the-cuff comment that people from all over the country had come to vote and canvass for Jones in Alabama. After tracking down the man in the video and determining he was a registered voter in the state, Merrill declared the case was “nailed shut.” Moore, however, says Merrill should have done more to investigate the claim

The suit also alleges that large numbers of out-of-state voters came to Alabama and illegally voted in the election. It includes a sworn affidavit from a poll worker saying she had never seen so many people vote with out-of-state driver’s licenses. Alabama law permits people to vote with a state-issued ID from any state.

As a supposed example of voter fraud, the complaint also cited an incident where sample ballots filled out for Jones were on display in a probate judge’s office prior to the election. The ballots were removed after a complaint from Moore, and Merrill said he didn’t believe the incident was a case of voter fraud. Moore also claimed there was Democratic “voter intimidation” in the race, pointing to a super PAC ad that incorrectly told Alabamians their votes would be a matter of public record. Google removed the ad from the internet before the election after Merrill complained.

Moore also took aim at the higher-than-expected turnout in Jefferson County, the state’s most populous, saying it was “inexplicably substantially higher” than places in other parts of the state. Moore implied it was suspicious that turnout in the race far exceeded what was projected. He also pointed to 20 precincts in Jefferson County where he received substantially less of the vote share than the Republican Party.

Read the complaint below:

Roy Moore Complaint by KentFaulk on Scribd

This article has been updated with comments from Merrill and details about Moore’s complaint.

Sam Levine contributed reporting.

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Porn Actress Confirmed Trump Affair In Unpublished 2011 Interview

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Former adult film actress Stephanie Clifford confirmed her reported affair with President Donald Trump in a previously unpublished 2011 interview with In Touch, the magazine revealed Wednesday.

The newly disclosed comments by Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, lend credence to last week’s Wall Street Journal report that a Trump lawyer arranged a $130,000 payment to her in October 2016 ― right before the presidential election ― to keep quiet about the relationship. Trump’s legal team and Clifford have denied both the affair and the payment.

But in 2011, In Touch says, Clifford told the tabloid that she had sex with Trump in his Lake Tahoe hotel suite in the summer of 2006, the year after Trump had married his third wife, Melania Trump, and just months after she gave birth to their son, Barron Trump.

The magazine chose to publish the interview this week in light of the Journal report and Trump’s rise in significance, magazine spokeswoman Kelsi Ignomirello told HuffPost.

“Donald Trump is clearly a more relevant public figure now than he was in 2011,” she said.

Clifford told In Touch she met Trump at the American Century celebrity golf tournament in July 2006. Wicked Pictures, the adult film company Clifford worked for, was a sponsor of the tournament’s gift lounge, where Trump allegedly approached her. He asked for her phone number and invited her to dinner in his hotel room, according to the 2011 interview. 

“Oh, don’t worry about [Melania],” Trump allegedly told Clifford when she asked about his marriage during dinner. The pair had sex after finishing their meal.

“I remember thinking, ‘I hope he doesn’t think I’m a hooker.’ Not that I have anything against hookers. I just personally have never done it,” Clifford told In Touch.

She described the sex as “textbook generic,” according to the magazine, and added, “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’”

A friend who corroborated Clifford’s story at the time to In Touch in 2011, fellow porn star Randy Spears, recalled Clifford describing the encounter as “pretty boring.”

This isn’t the only tryst Trump allegedly pursued at the 2006 golf tournament.  Just weeks before Trump’s 2016 presidential victory, adult film actress and director Jessica Drake came forward with allegations that at the event, Trump grabbed her, kissed her and offered her $10,000 for sex.

Drake is one of more than 20 women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment and abuse over several decades. He has repeatedly denied all of the allegations.

Clifford told In Touch that at the end of her evening with Trump, he promised to cast her as a contestant on his NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

“He goes, ‘People would think you’re just this idiot with blond hair and big boobs. You would be perfect for it because you’re such a smart businesswoman,’” she recalled that Trump said.

He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter.Stephanie Clifford, as quoted in a 2011 interview

He used the promise of casting her as a reason to keep in touch for the next year, according to the interview, and called her from a blocked number “about every 10 days” or whenever he “saw or read about me somewhere.” Her ex-husband, Michael Mosny, corroborated her claims that she and Trump frequently spoke.

At one point in their relationship, In Touch quotes her as saying, Trump even compared her to his daughter (presumably Ivanka, since the president’s other daughter, Tiffany, was a child at the time).

“He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter,” Clifford allegedly said.

Trump appeared to try to initiate sex with her again in July 2007 when she visited his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Clifford said. Her rebukes marked the beginning of the end for their relationship, she recalled.

“He just kept brushing my hair off my shoulder and kissing my neck,” she alleged. “And he was like, ‘So, can you stay?’ And I was like, ‘No, I gotta go.’ I left, and he kept calling me less and less over the coming months.”

Neither the White House nor Clifford have yet to comment on the In Touch interview.

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Citing Court Order, Trump Administration Resumes Accepting DACA Renewal Applications

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Days after a federal judge in California temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’sefforts to pull the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the federal government said on Saturday that it would resume accepting renewal applications for the program “until further notice.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a statement on its website that DACA will be “operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.” That was the date on which Trump announced his decision to terminate the Obama-era program that shielded some 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA,” the agency said.

Renewal applications will, however, only be accepted from people who previously received DACA and whose deferred action had expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016.

Former DACA recipients whose grant expired before that date cannot request a renewal, but they can file a new request, the agency said. No new applicants will be accepted.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, warned on Saturday that the window for renewal applications may be “short.” She urged those eligible for renewal to prepare their applications promptly.

The USCIS announcement comes on the heels of U.S. District Judge William Alsup’s issuance on Tuesday of a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration’s effort to rescind the program.

Alsup ruled that the federal government must “maintain [DACA] on a nationwide basis” while legal challenges to ending the program proceed in court.

“Plaintiffs have clearly demonstrated that they are likely to suffer serious irreparable harm absent an injunction,” Alsup wrote in an opinion explaining the injunction. “Before DACA, Individual Plaintiffs, brought to America as children, faced a tough set of life and career choices turning on the comparative probabilities of being deported versus remaining here. DACA gave them a more tolerable set of choices, including joining the mainstream workforce.”

Alsup’s ruling provoked the wrath of Trump, who blasted the “court system” as “broken and unfair” in a Wednesday tweet.

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Help for vets: Trump deploys more firepower against suicides

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Members of the armed forces put their lives on the line for the nation, so it’s only appropriate that the federal government does all it can to protect them from post-service psychiatric problems. President Donald Trump sent that message Tuesday with an executive order enhancing mental health services for recently discharged veterans. Suicide rates among former service members remain high, especially among those fresh out of uniform, and all reasonable efforts to stanch the epidemic are worth making.

Mr. Trump’s order makes a wide range of mental health services available to all veterans as they transition back to civilian society. Until now, a full complement of services was available only to about 40 percent of those recently discharged, most of them from the combat ranks. But any service member returning to civilian life can encounter problems with employment, relationships or changes in routine that increase the odds of suicide. The best approach is to make services available to all.

Importantly, the president’s order not only authorizes services for all veterans during their transition periods but directs Cabinet-level agencies to ensure those services are plentiful and available. For example, Mr. Trump directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand its use of telemedicine, which has the potential to connect veterans with care no matter where they live, and its use of technology that allows former service members to schedule appointments online.

Veterans also may schedule appointments in the private sector if the VA system cannot serve them quickly enough — an important allowance given the VA’s past failures to provide prompt treatment. One important resource may be the nonprofit Give an Hour, which arranges for mental health professionals to donate services to veterans and members of their families.

Mr. Trump’s order builds on other efforts, some predating his administration, to stem the mental health crisis among veterans.

In 2016, the government released a three-year study showing the benefits of a certain kind of talk therapy in helping veterans manage post-traumatic stress disorder. Also in 2016, it issued a report documenting the scope of the suicide problem. The report, updated last year, found that the suicide rate for veterans was considerably higher than that of the average population; that in 2014, an average of 20 veterans took their lives each day; and that suicide was most common among veterans 29 and younger and lowest among those 60 and older. The report provided state-by-state data, showing that Pennsylvania’s rate mirrored the nation’s but was considerably above that for the Northeast.

As the government moves to implement Mr. Trump’s order, officials should remember that making services available is not always sufficient. Many of those who took their lives already were receiving VA care of one kind or another, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has estimated that only half of veterans needing mental health care seek treatment. The government must continue riding herd on recently discharged veterans, promoting mental health care among those who might be reluctant to seek it and constantly assessing the quality of care provided to those who did ask for help.

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