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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dialed back previous statements he has made about Alabama's Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore — who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, including one who was 14 at the time of the alleged event— saying he'll let Alabama voters decide Moore's fate.

Flashback: McConnell has previously said he believes Moore's accusers and that Moore should drop out of the race. He also said Moore would "immediately" face an ethics investigation if he wins. But on ABC's This Week, the Majority Leader said the Senate Ethics Committee will decide how to go forward.

The big picture: The most recent Alabama polls indicate that Moore could still win, and President Trump has given him a de facto endorsement.

Sen. Lindsey Graham also retreated from past comments, saying, "We can't stop [Moore] from being seated" on CBS's Face the Nation.

  • "I think an ethics investigation would be a smart thing to do. And we'll see what the Ethics Committee decides as to whether they look at behavior before he came into the senate."
  • "Does that matter? If they do, what did they find? We'll see."
  • "If there was an investigation and all six members of the committee said they believe he was a child molester, that would be a problem."
  • Flashback: Graham previously said, "In light of the most recent allegations and the cumulative effect of others, I believe Roy Moore would be doing himself, the state, the GOP, and the country a service by stepping aside ... If he continues this will not end well for Mr. Moore."

More from McConnell's interview:

  • On a possible government shutdown: It's a "ridiculous idea" for Democrats to allow a government shutdown over DACA, which is a "non-emergency" issue: "The president has given us until March to address the issue of undocumented children."
  • On Mueller's Russia probe and reports that the president is reaching out to senators to curtail the investigation: Trump has "not said anything to me that I think is inappropriate."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.