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(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, when a series of women first stepped forward to accuse Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, Republican senators said confidently that if he won the Senate seat from Alabama for which he is running, they would expel him.

Now, with the Alabama election less than two weeks away, second thoughts have begun setting in.

Republican senators continue to say that they would subject Moore, a fellow Republican, to an Ethics Committee investigation. But questions are mounting about whether it would be appropriate for the Senate to oust Moore over allegations that were known to voters before the election.

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(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump extended his flirtation with racist extremists internationally on Wednesday — and drew a rare rebuke from two European allies — by retweeting three anti-Muslim videos from a far-right fringe group in Britain.

“It is wrong for the president to have done this,” said James Slack, spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May. He described the group, Britain First, as one that “seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tension.”

Compounding the sudden diplomatic muddle with the United States’ closest ally, Trump hit back at the prime minister Wednesday night, again on Twitter, telling her, "Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!"

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Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, one of the elected officials accused of sexual harassment
Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, one of the elected officials accused of sexual harassment (J.Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

American corporations in recent weeks have scythed through the ranks of alleged sexual harassers, dispatching personalities as powerful as movie producer Harvey Weinstein and television anchor Matt Lauer, who was swiftly fired on Wednesday after a credible accusation of sexual misbehavior.

But in Washington, the growing public intolerance for harassment has tied politicians in partisan pretzels and left them grappling for a way to assess guilt and mete out consequences.

Several factors have slowed the political response.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) in 2015.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) in 2015. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

With a spate of sexual harassment allegations stirring trouble on Capitol Hill, Congress faces a new test of how well it can police itself.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, accused of demanding sex from women who worked for him, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Some fellow Democrats have urged him to resign.

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, another Democrat fighting to save his career, is bracing for a Senate Ethics Committee inquiry of groping allegations.

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House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.)
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

All members of Congress and their staff will now take anti-sexual harassment training after the House voted Wednesday to make it mandatory.

It’s the opening salvo in what House leaders promise will be a complete overhaul of how sexual harassment claims are handled since a wave of accusations have rocked Capitol Hill.

“The fact that some people [who] end up walking these halls are subjected to a threatening or hostile work environment when they came here to serve their country, to serve their ideals, that’s wrong, that’s a disgrace. We cannot and we will not tolerate that kind of behavior,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Wednesday prior to the vote. “We need to have a comprehensive review of all of these things so that we can have a comprehensive response.”

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British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says President Trump was wrong to share anti-Muslim videos tweeted by a U.K. far-right leader.

Trump retweeted three videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First. Fransen has been convicted of a hate crime in Britain and currently faces more charges.

May's spokesman, James Slack, said Britain First seeks to divide communities through its use of "hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions." He said "it is wrong for the president to have done this."

(Agence France-Presse)

President Trump is threatening to ramp up sanctions against North Korea, a strategy that so far has proved ineffective against its nuclear development, in retaliation for the latest ballistic missile test.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the test, after speaking late Tuesday with South Korea’s president. The test came days after Trump’s return from Asia, where the subject of North Korea was a primary focus of talks with both leaders as well as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump already had stepped up sanctions and last week put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

President Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos from the account of a leader of a far-right British fringe group known for conducting “Christian patrols” in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods and arrested recently for inciting hatred and violence. 

The videos, which purport to show Muslims engaged in acts of violence and anti-Christian incitement, came from the Twitter account of Jayda Fransen, a deputy leader of the group Britain First who was convicted last year of religiously aggravated harassment against a Muslim woman wearing a head scarf. 

Trump apparently posted the videos from Fransen’s account on Wednesday morning in between tweets about the economy and calling for a boycott of “Fake News CNN” after the cable news network’s decision to not attend the annual Christmas party at the White House.

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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill announced Tuesday they would no longer attend a meeting with President Trump, responding to his tweet earlier in the day that “I don’t see a deal” with “Chuck and Nancy.”

“Given that the President doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) wrote in a joint statement.

They said they would instead request a meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Congress’s Republican leaders.