WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a House committee on Tuesday that he has “no reason to doubt” the women who have accused Roy Moore, running for Sessions’ old Senate seat, of pursuing sexual relations with them when they were teenagers.
“I have no reason to doubt these young women,” Sessions said, but declined to comment on whether Moore should drop out of the race. He said ethics officials at the Department of Justice had advised him not to get involved in the Senate campaign.
Earlier, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Moore should step aside, adding that he found the accusations “credible.” Ryan joined other lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in urging Moore to exit.
Moore has so far refused to drop out, and has called the accusations politically motivated.
On Monday, another accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, appeared at a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, where Nelson recounted that Moore sexually assaulted her in late 1977 or early 1978.
On Thursday, The Washington Post published the accounts of four women who said Moore pursued relations with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 when Moore initiated sexual relations with her.
Sessions said the Justice Department would “evaluate every case,” but did not specify whether there would be any investigation of the accusations against Moore.
“This kind of case would normally be a state case,” he said.
Sessions was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing of the Justice Department.
The special election to fill Sessions’ former seat is on Dec. 12, where Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones.