Stef W. Kight

Winners & losers from the Alabama special election

Photo: John Bazemore / AP

A Democrat will serve as an Alabama Senator for the first time in two decades after Republican Roy Moore's campaign collapsed following allegations of child sexual abuse.

Why it matters: This is a big, unexpected win for Democrats, and follows another key victory in the Virginia governor's race. It's bad news for the Steve Bannon brand of conservatism and President Trump, who went all in for Moore in the closing weeks.


  • Doug Jones, who had never run for public office before, and won as a Democrat in a red state.
  • Democrats​ now have another important notch on their belt, and will close the gap in the Senate to 51-49.
  • #MeToo: Many voters believed Moore's accusers, and the accusations brought down his campaign.
  • Mainstream Republicans: Moore's baggage would have presented plenty of problems for the GOP down the road, even if they are losing a vote in the Senate.


  • Roy Moore: He did the unthinkable, and lost to a Democrat in a statewide Alabama race.
  • Steve Bannon: He was the one promoting Moore from the beginning, over fierce objections within his own party.
  • The Republican Party: The RNC and the president backed an accused sexual predator, and lost. They're also now down a Senate seat.
  • President Trump: He decided to throw his full-throated support behind Moore, and in so doing made his second incorrect bet on the Alabama race. Not to mention, he was the one who appointed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General — considering it a safe seat.

10 Big Things: All eyes on Alabama

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Alabama voters decide today whether Republican Roy Moore or Democrat Doug Jones will serve as their next Senator.

The big questions: Will the scandals and allegations of sexual assault on teenagers be enough to deter Alabama voters from casting their ballots for the once-favored Roy Moore and elect the state's first Democratic senator in 25 years? Or will a population distrusting of Washington and the media stick with their party?

Dive in: Click here for Axios' Alabama substream.


400,000 young children in Congo could starve to death

A young boy from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Jerome Delay / AP

There are at least 400,000 severely malnourished children under 5 years old living in the Democratic Republic of Congo who could die within months without emergency intervention, UNICEF warned today.

The gritty details: After 18 months of conflict, displaced people and poor harvests, these children in the Kasai region are the most vulnerable in a population of 750,000 acutely malnourished children in what some say could become the "biggest emergency of 2018."

"With so many humanitarian crises worldwide, the situation in DRC is at risk of being ignored while it develops into the biggest emergency of 2018."
— Mohammed Abdiker, director of operations and emergencies at the International Organisation for Migration, said on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Violence, food insecurity and devastated health facilities have created a desperate climate in the Kasai region.

  • There have been ongoing fights between local rebel groups and government troups in the Kasai region after tribal chieftain and rebel Kamwina Nsapu was killed last year, Yahoo reports.
  • Due to this unrest as well as the everyday, ongoing violence in the African country, 3.9 million people have been displaced in DRC, according to the UN refugee report.
  • In addition, there's been a year and a half of poor agriculture — and having missed planting season, there is not likely to be a harvest in June.
  • About 220 health centers were destroyed, looted or damaged in Kasai, leading to reduced access to health care and an increased risk in the spread of communicable diseases, UNICEF says.

The big picture: DRC joins a growing list of humanitarian crises, including growing famine and disease in Yemen.

To help, donate to Unicef, Save the Children or Action Against Hunger.


Megyn Kelly defends women who voted for Trump

Megyn Kelly Photo: screenshot

During her interview with three women who have accused President Trump of sexual harassment, Megyn Kelly defended women who voted for Trump after Jessica Leeds said "they just didn't want to vote for a woman. "

Key quote from Megyn Kelly, "There were plenty of reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Plenty. There was a long list of there. But again, the impossibility of the choice, if you're a voter who cares about sexism, the impossibility of the choice in 2016 was readily apparent."

"There were plenty of reasons"

Jessica Leeds: "For the women who voted for Trump, I really think that they just didn't want to vote for a woman." Megyn Kelly: "I don't know if that's true. There were plenty of reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Plenty."

Posted by Axios on Monday, December 11, 2017

Trump accuser says he called her "the worst word"

Jessica Leeds Photo: screenshot from Megyn Kelly Today

Jessica Leeds told Megyn Kelly this morning that after the episode where she claims Donald Trump groped her on a plane, she ran into him at a party where he said he remembered her and called her "the worst word." When Kelly asked for a hint, Leeds confirmed it started with a "c."
Her quote: "So, I knew, and I recognized him, immediately. He's the guy on the airplane. But he stands there, as I'm handing him this table assignment, and he says, 'I remember you. You were that [motions with her hands insinuating a missing word] woman from the airplane. He called me the worst name ever."

The portraits watching over Trump's White House events

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump honored Navajo Code Talkers last month (and called Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas") in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, who presided over the "Trail of Tears" forced re-settlement of Native Americans.

Why it matters: The backdrop to some of Trump's events sometimes seem to hold symbolic significance, whether by plan or by coincidence. Here are some other examples:

1. "The Verdict of the People"

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Event: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania enjoy the traditional inaugural luncheon on Capitol hill on inauguration day.

Backdrop: An American painting traditionally serves as the background at this luncheon, in this case "The Verdict of the People" by George Caleb Bingham was chosen, which depicts citizens rejoicing and grieving election results. Of course, Donald Trump's own election was hotly contested and unexpected by most polls and pundits.

2. Roosevelt

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Event: In April, President Trump signed an executive order to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas reserves in areas that President Obama had withdrawn from energy development. Advocates against offshore drilling are concerned of possible negative impacts drilling has on marine life.

Backdrop: Trump spoke in front of a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt who was a passionate outdoorsmen and conservationist who established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land, according to the Interior Department.

3. Churchill

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Event: President Trump met with conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May in January.

Backdrop: The two posed for photos in front of a bust of Winston Churchill who also led the British conservative party and was the British Prime Minister during World War II. Churchill first called the relationship between Great Britain and the U.S. a "special relationship." President Obama had removed the Churchill bust in the Oval Office to replace it with one of Martin Luther King Jr. Although Trump kept the MLK bust, he also brought in an identical Churchill bust shortly after assuming office.

4. Jackson

Susan Walsh / AP

Event: Last week, President Trump honored former Navajo code talkers for their service.

Backdrop: In the background in the Oval Office is a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which resulted in the death of thousands of Native Americans as they were forced off their land to march on foot to established Indian territories.

5. Clinton

Evan Vucci / AP

Event: On the first day of public tours in Trump's White House, Trump surprised his guests by welcoming them himself.

Backdrop: Trump emerged in front of the First Lady portrait of his former election opponent, Hillary Clinton.


Report: Russian operatives tried to contact Hope Hicks

Hope Hicks. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Earlier this year, the FBI warned then-Trump advisor Hope Hicks that Russian officials were attempting to contact her via email during the presidential transition, the New York Times reports. The FBI met with Hicks twice after Trump took office to specifically warn her about Russian efforts to reach her.

What matters: Hope Hicks didn't do anything wrong. She met with investigators from Robert Mueller's probe on Thursday and Friday this week, according to NYT, but it is unknown if the emails were discussed.


Report: former aide claims Franks offered $5m to carry child

Rep. Trent Franks J. Scott Applewhite / AP

A former aide to Rep. Trent Franks told the AP that Franks offered her $5 million to carry his child. Aides told Politico that Franks approached two female staffers about surrogacy, but aides were concerned "it was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization."

  • Politico also reported that "a former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone."
  • The allegations reached House Speaker Paul Ryan and other leaders, which led to Franks announcement of resignation. Ater Politico reached out regarding the allegations, Franks announced he would leave office on Friday instead of in January.

Franks has denied the allegations via a spokesperson, according to Politico.


Moore's accuser wrote the date & location under the yearbook note

The note written by Roy Moore in Beverly Nelson's yearbook. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Beverly Young Nelson, who has accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually harassing her when she was 14 years old, told ABC News on Friday that she had written the date and location under Moore's infamous note and signature in her year book.

Why it matters: It wouldn't, except that the Moore campaign as well as several right-wing news outlets, including Fox News, are spinning the detail to insinuate that Nelson forged Moore's note to cast doubt on her story. Fox News tweeted Friday, "BREAKING NEWS: Roy Moore accuser admits she forged part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama senate candidate"

Update: Fox News has since deleted their tweet and updated their headline and story to more accurately reflect Nelson's admission.

Above is the photo of the note Moore wrote in Nelson's yearbook. Circled is the part of the note Nelson has claimed to have written herself.


14 U.N. peacekeepers killed in rebel attack in Congo

Two UN soldiers stand guard in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Jerome Delay / AP

At least 14 peacekeepers, mostly Tanzanian, were killed and 40 injured in a rebel attack on a U.N. base in eastern Congo Thursday night — the worst act of violence on the U.N.'s mission in the country, according to the Washington Post.

The big picure: Close to 300 peacekeepers have been killed since the mission began in 1999, along with hundreds more civilians in the area. The peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo is the largest in the world.

State of democracy: "The U.N. mission in 2006 helped carry out Congo’s first free and fair elections in 46 years, but since then the winner of that vote, President Joseph Kabila, has become further entrenched in his post. Anger has grown as presidential elections originally set for late last year have been repeatedly delayed," the Post writes.