Attorney General Jeff Sessions told lawmakers on Tuesday that he has "no reason to doubt" the women who have accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault and misconduct.
"I have no reason to doubt these young women," Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.
Sessions' comment was in response to a question posed by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), who held up pictures of the women who have accused Moore and asked the attorney general whether he believes them.
The Washington Post reported last week that, in 1979, Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 years old. Three other women told the Post that Moore propositioned them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s. Then on Monday, Beverly Young Nelson alleged that Moore tried to force her to perform oral sex on him when she was 16.
Moore is running for the Senate seat that Sessions used to hold before he vacated it to serve as attorney general in the Trump administration.
Jackson Lee also asked Sessions whether Moore should serve in the Senate if he is elected and whether the Department of Justice would launch an investigation into the former Alabama Supreme Court justice's alleged actions.
"If you believe these young women, do you believe Judge Moore should be seated in the Senate if he wins, and would you introduce investigations by the DOJ regarding his actions?" Jackson Lee asked.
"We will evaluate every case as to whether or not it should be investigated. This kind of case would normally be a state case," Sessions said.
"The ethics people at the Department of Justice—and I've talked to them about that when this campaign started; it's the seat I used to hold—they advised me that the attorney general should not be involved in this campaign," Sessions continued. "I have steadfastly adhered to that."