Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks back Roy Moore criticism

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks from the U.S. Senate Chamber to his office after a procedural vote to move forward with voting on the Republican proposed tax reform bill at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1, 2017. PlayAlex Edelman/CNP/Polaris
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walked back his criticism of embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore with just over a week until the Dec. 12 special election in Alabama.

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Asked on Sunday by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" if he believes Roy Moore should be in the Senate, McConnell said, "I'm going to let the people of Alabama make the call."

Less than a month ago, McConnell called on Moore to get out of the race.

“Roy Moore should step aside. The women who’ve come forward are entirely credible,” McConnell said at a press conference on Nov. 14 about women who have made accusations against Moore. “He's obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate, and we've looked at all the options to try to prevent that from happening.”

At least eight women have in recent weeks accused the 70-year-old Moore of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior toward them when he was in his 30s and, in most cases, the women were in their teens. He has denied the allegations.

Stephanopoulos also asked Sunday if the Senate is prepared to "take action" against Moore if he is elected. McConnell responded that he will leave any investigations into the allegations against Moore up to the Senate Ethics Committee.

"The Ethics Committee will have to consider the matters that have been litigated in the campaign, should that particular candidate win," McConnell said. "The Ethics Committee will handle this in the regular ordered way that we do this in the Senate. And I'm confident they'll come up with the right conclusion."

Stephanopoulos asked McConnell if he believes more than a dozen women who have accused President Donald Trump of actions ranging from sexual assault to harassment and inappropriate behavior before his election and whether that should be investigated.

"Well, my job is to be the majority leader of the Senate. And we have jurisdiction over these matters when there is a senator accused of wrongdoing," McConnell said. "So we will handle it in the Senate when it comes to senators' alleged behavior."

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