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Photos: Brynn Anderson / AP; Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Several Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called on Roy Moore to drop out of the Alabama Senate race over allegations of child sexual assault. Sen. Cory Gardner is now the first to say he should be expelled from the Senate even if he wins next month.

Why it matters: The choice to expel Moore by members of his own party would be a truly historic — almost unprecedented — move.

The options

If McConnell decides that Moore is too big of a political liability to add to his GOP caucus, he has two potential options for denying him entry:

Refusing Moore his seat: McConnell and the Republican majority could simply refuse Moore his seat in the Senate under Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, which allows that "each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members." But that option has a big problem:

  • It almost certainly would not survive a legal challenge thanks to the 1969 Supreme Court decision in Powell v. McCormack, which held that the House of Representatives could not refuse to seat an elected member as long as he or she met all of the constitutional requirements. While that decision applied to the House, the constitutional language for both houses is the same, meaning that it's basically guaranteed that Moore would eventually be allowed to take his seat in the Senate.

Expelling Moore upon arrival: Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution also allows both houses of Congress to "with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." That means McConnell would have to get 19 of his own members on board to get rid of a Republican senator. That could happen immediately after Moore is seated in the Senate chamber.

  • One catch: Republicans might be wary of leaving a Senate seat open for a few months until another special election could be held as their tax plan hangs in the balance.

The big picture: No senator has been expelled since the Civil War with 14 out of 15 prior expulsions having been for support of the Confederacy. Sen. Harrison Williams of New Jersey almost certainly would have been expelled in 1982 for his bribery convictions during the Abscam scandal, but he resigned before that could happen.

Go deeper

Updated 60 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.