Breitbart News pre-emptively published an article Thursday casting doubt on the forthcoming Washington Post report that GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s.
Prior to the Post publishing the explosive report, in which three other women also accuse Moore of pursuing them as teenagers, the conservative news site led by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon released an article that appeared to raise questions about the paper’s editorial independence.
The Breitbart article, titled “After Endorsing Democrat in Alabama, Bezos’s Washington Post Plans to Hit Roy Moore with Allegations of Inappropriate Relations with Teenagers,” cites an editorial by the Post calling Moore “unfit to serve” and endorsing Doug Jones, his Democratic opponent in the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant Alabama Senate seat. The Washington Post newsroom and editorial operations are run independently.
The story also notes that the paper is owned by billionaire Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, whom Breitbart describes as “open borders champion Jeffrey Bezos.”
The Post report quotes Leigh Corfman, who was 14 when Moore reportedly started a sexual relationship with her.
In a statement provided exclusively at the time of publication to Breitbart, the Moore campaign calls the reporting “garbage” and “the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation.” It calls the reporting “desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”
During an MSNBC appearance on Thursday, Breitbart editor Joel Pollack defended the publication’s coverage. He said that while “any story of sexual misconduct especially with someone who is under age is very serious,” he questioned why the Post included “all kinds of perfectly legitimate relationships as well as all kinds of other political clutter” in the piece.
He described Moore’s alleged pursuit of relationships with the three other teenagers, who were between 16 and 18, as legitimate.
“I think the reason people are questioning not only the motivations, but the accuracy of The Washington Post piece is because they packaged it with all sorts of other stuff that has nothing to do with the question. And so, we’ll have to see where this goes,” he said.
The allegations of Moore’s contacts with the 14-year-old girl and his pursuit of other teenagers were widely condemned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on the Senate candidate to withdraw from the race “if these allegations are true.”
Sen. John McCain provided a more unequivocal call for Moore to step aside.
“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of,” he said in a statement.
Moore was strongly endorsed by Bannon in his primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who was backed by Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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